Revisiting the dichotomy between qualitative and quantitative research: Mixed-method designs in applied linguistics

Document Type : Original Article


Kharazmi University



Over the past decade, mixed methods research has gained particular attention in social and behavioral research as a considerable number of studies investigated theoretical and methodological aspects of conducting mixed methods research. In applied linguistics, however, mixed methods research is a new approach and little research exists on theoretical and methodological issues related to mixed-method designs. The present study has explored the research designs in which qualitative and quantitative components were combined in the field of applied linguistics. A qualitative analysis of 205 research articles published in seven peer reviewed applied linguistics journals over a period of 14 years revealed that two major categories of mixed-method designs were used in the studies (i.e., sequential and concurrent). Also, subcategories similar to those used in social research emerged in a good number of studies (i.e., triangulation, embedded designs, exploratory designs, explanatory designs). However, the findings further indicated that applied linguistics researchers did not draw on the previously known designs from social research and adopted a pragmatic approach to integrating qualitative and quantitative strands. The findings of this study may help us develop an enhanced understanding of how mixing can be systematically utilized in applied linguistics research.