Cultural Sensitivity and Mixed Methods in Social Research: Integrating Qualitative Practices into Quantitative Studies
Brill, Margaret L.
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Contemporary research from scholars such as Axinn & Pearce (2006) reveals the strong importance in generating constructive collaboration between researchers, participants, communities, institutions, and methods involved in social . research. Collaboration increases the quality of data by collecting a wide range of -perspectives from participants about the social world through using both quantitative and qualitative methods. This paper focuses on bridging the quantitative and qualitative di:vide in social research through employing mixed methods such as parti~ipatory methods, calendar methods, micro-demographic community study approach, ethnosurvey, and systematic anomalous case analysis. Specifically, this paper emphasizes the need for large-scale quantitative studies, especially those that are methodologically survey-based, to effectively integrate qualitative considerations into their practices. Selected examples of studies and theoretical analyses reveal that mixed methods are ideal for producing holistic results and reinforcing cultural sensitivity. I argue that cultural sensitivity, or placing culture at the center of the research process (Liamputtong, 201 0), is cultivated through creating more opportunities for the development of stronger working relationships between researchers and participants. This is especially prevalent in participatory community-based mixed methods. When participants are more involved in the research process, they feel additionally empowered and willing to relay sensitive information, particularly to researchers who thoroughly engage in qualitative fieldwork practices. The increase in contribution, empowerment, and overall rapport between participants and researchers through mixed method practices strengthens the quality of data and fosters a culturally sensitive atmosphere in the social research community.