Mixing Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in Pursuit of Richer Answers to Real-World Questions

Sharon Gilad*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Qualitative methods are relatively scarce in public administration research. This imbalance between qualitative and quantitative methods poses three significant concerns. First, there is a risk that measurement hurdles, coupled with the distance that quantitative methodology fosters between academics and administrative practice and practitioners, undermines our inclination and capacity to study policy-meaningful research questions that matter in the real world. Second, and related, the causality underlying the real problems that policymakers and public organizations face is often much too complex to be captured by one type of methodology, whether quantitative or qualitative. Third, quantitative methodology is most conducive to testing already available theories and hypotheses, as opposed to theory building. I propose that the answer to these concerns lays in denouncing commitment to abstract philosophical divisions and advancing collaboration between qualitative and quantitative researchers and versions of mixed methods that transcend mere triangulation. These arguments are illustrated in relation to the study of bureaucratic discrimination of minorities.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1075-1099
Number of pages25
JournalPublic Performance & Management Review
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • Methodology
  • mixed methods
  • qualitative methods


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