Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

Collaboration Patterns as a Function of Research Experience among Mixed Researchers: A Mixed Methods Bibliometric Study

Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

Collaboration Patterns as a Function of Research Experience among Mixed Researchers: A Mixed Methods Bibliometric Study

Article excerpt

Collins, Onwuegbuzie, and Jiao (2006), who examined 14 major electronic databases (e.g., PsycINFO, CINAHL, ERIC) that represented the fields of psychology, education, sociology, social services, nursing and allied health, and business, determined that the first study in which the term mixed methods was used appeared in 1972 (Parkhurst, Lovell, Sprafka, & Hodgins, 1972). This finding indicates that the formal conduct of mixed methods research has been occurring for at least four decades. Interestingly, this landmark article involved multiple authors-specifically, four authors. Therefore, one question that comes to the fore is: To what extent does multiple authorship characterize the landscape of mixed methods research? Or alternatively stated, to what extent has collaboration occurred within the field of mixed methods research?

Until recently, this question has not been formally examined. Thus, Onwuegbuzie et al. (2018) chose to investigate this question. In particular, these researchers documented that the degree of collaboration is higher for mixed methods researchers than for qualitative and quantitative researchers. This finding has intuitive appeal because mixed methods research studies involve the mixing or combining of "quantitative and qualitative research techniques, methods, approaches, concepts or language into a single study" (Johnson & Onwuegbuzie, 2004, p. 17) and thus potentially are more complex than are monomethod research studies (i.e., quantitative research studies alone, qualitative research studies alone). And such increased complexity likely would make it more challenging for a researcher to conduct a mixed methods research study alone because he or she must be competent in both qualitative research approaches and quantitative research approaches (Teddlie & Tashakkori, 2003).

Collaboration in mixed methods research studies (potentially) offers several advantages over conducting a research study alone, such as the following: (a) reducing the workload of the first author; (b) making the workload of each author (more) manageable; (c) increasing the overall level of expertise available for the study, thereby increasing voluptuous legitimation- also known as embodied validity or situated validity-which represents the extent to which the level of interpretation of the research team exceeds the knowledge base associated with the data (Lather, 1993); (d) increasing investigation validity, which represents the quality control of the research team (Kvale, 1995); and (e) increasing communicative validity, which includes the level of consensus among the research team members (Kvale, 1995). Consistent with this assertion, researchers have posited that collaboration in general (Bordons, Zulueta, Remero, & Barrigon, 1999; Katz & Martin, 1997; Lee & Bozeman, 2005), collaboration with other researchers from institutions external to their own institution (Zucker, Darby, & Armstrong, 2002), and collaboration with international peers (Abramo, D'Angolo, & Costa, 2008; Jarneving, 2010; Shin & Cummings, 2010; Smeby & Try, 2005) lead to increased research productivity, although the effect from collaboration differs according to collaboration partners, faculty disciplines, and collaboration partners' geographical closeness (Abramo et al., 2008).

Yet, despite these potential advantages, collaboration among mixed methods researchers brings additional challenges for lead researchers, who have to maximize mutual respect, communication, collaboration, and coordination among all members of the research team-who might be diverse with respect to factors such as research orientation (e.g., quantitative research vs. qualitative research vs. mixed methods research), research training (e.g., applied researcher vs. methodologist), field (e.g., education, psychology, sociology), discipline (e.g., mathematics education, literacy education), academic rank (e.g., adjunct professor vs. instructor vs. …

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