Mixed Methods Design in Evaluation by Donna M Mertens

Hi, Donna M. Mertens, PhD here, member of AEA since its first day. Like many evaluators, I intuitively started using mixed methods because it made sense for the programs I was evaluating. Interest in addressing complex problems has spurred a growing interest in innovations in mixed methods and some funding agencies are recommending their use.

Lessons Learned

Mixed methods research is an expanding area of interest for researchers across many disciplines because researchers face many complex problems that seem to defy solutions.  Evaluators can benefit from learning about the history of the emergence of mixed methods and current resources to increase their understandings. Mixed methods approaches offer researchers an exciting opportunity to explore new combinations of methods in diverse contexts: the design possibilities are endless and can be incorporated in many different approaches. Evaluators can benefit from exploring case studies that illustrate different philosophical lenses for mixed methods design, including post-positivism, constructivism, pragmatism, transformative, Indigenous, and dialectical pluralism.

I will present a workshop at American Evaluation Association annual conference 2021 on mixed methods that looks at innovative designs and how mixed methods evaluation can contribute to a more just and equitable future.

Learning Objectives: 
  • Identify the components of mixed methods designs in evaluation for the purpose of determining intervention effectiveness.
  • Using a case study, the participants will apply the concepts of mixed methods design for a specific context.
  • Determine the applicability of different approaches to mixed methods design in evaluation in their own work.

Rad Resources


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1 thought on “Mixed Methods Design in Evaluation by Donna M Mertens”

  1. Hello, my name is Emily Moorhead and I’m a kindergarten teacher as well as a Masters of Education student at Queen’s University. I am currently taking a course on program inquiry and evaluation, and your post caught my eye as I’ve struggled to find the “sweet spot” that balances qualitative and quantitative data collection. In my teaching practice, there are always so many contributing factors that impact a child’s learning but which are not evident from quantitative assessments and evaluations. Your focus on innovative mixed methods designs, and particularly the contribution of this data toward a more equitable future is intriguing. Thanks!

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