UnivisionGovernance - AI-generiertes Symbolbild - 24

Mixed­Me­thods Research in Education

Mixed Methods Research in Education:

Integrating Quali­tative and Quanti­tative Methods in Research of Kinder­garten, Schools, Higher and Further Education Joint Confe­rence of the German Socio­lo­gical Association’s (DGS) Section Education (Bildung und Erziehung), and DGS Working Groups Mixed Methods (in Sections Methods of Empirical Social Research and Quali­tative Social Research) and Science and Higher Education Research 16th – 17th November 2023, Leibniz University Hannover, Confe­rence venue: König­licher Pferde­stall (Royal Horses‘ Stable)

No matter whether studying Kinder­garten, primary and secondary schools, special education, higher education and/or further or adult education, social research on education has to consider multi-level struc­tures of educa­tional processes encom­passing individual (micro­level), organiza­tional (meso-level) and/or societal (macro-level) settings. Individual practices as well as insti­tu­tional frame­works vary histo­ri­cally, between societal contexts and across countries. Therefore, considering different perspec­tives and inter­re­lating them is an integral part of educa­tional research. Mixed method approaches open up avenues to integrate different perspec­tives and levels of analysis; and relating them is a core challenge in designing mixed methods studies as well as performing integrative analyses. With the estab­lishment of mixed methods research in recent decades, metho­do­lo­gical, termi­no­lo­gical, and proce­dural conside­ra­tions have been reflected on why and how different perspec­tives on a research object can be combined in order to arrive at a broader or deeper under­standing.

Quali­tative inves­ti­ga­tions enable us, for example, to analyse individual percep­tions of educa­tional situa­tions, subjective relevance, biogra­phical processes and dense obser­va­tions of inter­ac­tions between educa­tional actors. Quanti­tative studies discover, for example, causal relati­onships on or between the different levels of educa­tional situa­tions, show social trends and detect diffe­rences between groups of actors.

Even though most research in the field of education has been and still is mono-metho­do­lo­gical, educa­tional research has been open to different combi­na­tions of quali­tative and quanti­tative methods (Creswell & Garrett 2008; Leech & Onwueg­buzie 2009). In recent years, we find more and more appli­ca­tions of mixed methods research as well as method develo­pment in various areas of educa­tional research, for example, for Kinder­garten (e.g., Braund 2022; Clark 2005), school education (e.g., Assen et al. 2016; Smyth 2016), special education (e.g., Corr et al. 2020; Pfahl & Powell 2011), higher education (e.g., Schneij­derberg & Götze 2021), and further/adult education (e.g., Addae & Quan-Baffour 2015). Quali­tative and quanti­tative analyses are already challenging endea­vours on their own. Even more challenging is the integration of a mixed methods research design (Baur et al. 2017). Of course, depending on the research question, it must be considered whether mono-method or mixed methods designs are appro­priate. Nevert­heless, mixing quali­tative and quanti­tative approaches can help, among other things, to discover mecha­nisms of educa­tional processes and practices at different levels and to connect subjective percep­tions with objective condi­tions. Furthermore, by combining different methods, resear­chers can use the strengths of each to compensate the constraints of others.

At the confe­rence we would like to reflect on the blind spots inherent in any quali­tative, quanti­tative or mixed methods approach as well as on advan­tages and disad­van­tages from this integrative perspective and discuss how different quali­tative and quanti­tative approaches can be combined to advance our under­standing of educa­tional processes and struc­tures. Moreover, we also want to discuss the practical and insti­tu­tional disad­van­tages, challenges, limits as well as the scope of integrative research. The contri­bu­tions can discuss mixed methods in educa­tional research in three different ways: First, the results of (a) ongoing, (b) completed, or alter­na­tively © problem outlines of planned mixed-methods projects in educa­tional research can be presented. Based on concrete examples, these presen­ta­tions should provide insights into the challenges and problems of integrating results from different perspec­tives and illus­trate with examples if and how the methods and results complement each other. They should point out if there is or respec­tively what is seen as added value of the mixed methods analysis. Second, developing a mixed methods perspective, results from mono-metho­dical (quali­tative or quanti­tative) projects can be presented. The focus should be on a syste­matic reflection of „blind spots“ of the method(s) used, and on discussing which questions remain to be tackled by a mixed methods research design. These presen­ta­tions should therefore reflect to what extent mixed or multi methods approaches could enrich a specific empirical analysis. Third, more theore­tical or more metho­do­lo­gical contri­bu­tions can be submitted that discuss respective or practical impli­ca­tions of mixed methods approaches in educa­tional research. Educa­tional research in general (e.g., Murphy 2022), and mixed methods research on education in parti­cular, is led by a variety of social theories. For example, theory-led or reflecting research to be discussed at the confe­rence may address social mecha­nisms operating in the domains of collective experience and social inter­action in education (organiza­tions). One striking example, calling for the integration of various perspec­tives and mixed methods approaches is social inequality in education. Tilly (1999, 2001) proposes four social mecha­nisms explaining inequality — inter­ac­tions of explo­itation, oppor­tunity hoarding, emulation, and adaption —, which is based on categories of citizenship, class, ethnicity/race, gender, etc. Explo­itation and oppor­tunity hoarding are generative social mecha­nisms aiming for individual and collective actors’ advan­tages (e.g., income, prestige, power, wealth, etc.).
Tilly’s (1999) argument for inequality made durable in organiza­tional form adds to the complexity of analysing educa­tional decision-making by estab­li­shing a micro-meso-macrolink. The emulated and adapted meso-level repre­sen­ta­tions (i.e., organiza­tions) of “the invention of proce­dures that ease day-to-day inter­action, and the elabo­ration of valued social relations around existing divisions” (Tilly 1999: 97) has been widely studied in schools (e.g., Bourdieu 1996; Kahn 2015; Young 1958), univer­sities (e.g., Boliver 2017; Ding et al. 2021, Sandel 2021), etc. According to Tilly (1999: 6), studying “the causes, uses, struc­tures, and effects of catego­rical inequality” answers the HOW and WHY questions of government policies concerning investment, redis­tri­bution, etc., the organization and operation of schools, univer­sities, etc. rooting in catego­rical forms of discri­mi­nation to produce and establish durable inequality.

Research questions in the educa­tional fields of Kinder­garten, schools, higher and further Education, including special education across all fields, to be discussed at the confe­rence may concern, but are not at all limited to

  • What are the causes, uses, struc­tures, and effects of catego­rical inequality, and how are they embedded in government policies?
  • How is educa­tional decision-making embedded in educa­tional contexts, for example, how do teachers or career counsellors impact on students’ or parents’ educa­tional decisions?
  • How are regional educa­tional oppor­tu­nities related to social educa­tional inequa­lities and how (by which actors, with which means) are regional educa­tional accesses governed and justified?
  • How do educa­tional oppor­tu­nities differ across country-specific education systems, histo­ri­cally and at present, and how are they linked to national educa­tional policy?
  • How and in which education policy contexts has educa­tional permea­bility developed over time, and how does it affect educa­tional trajec­tories and related social inequa­lities (e.g. gender typical trajec­tories)?
  • How is the recognition of prior learning (RPL) organized in different contexts (regions, countries) and who benefits from different models of RPL?
  • How can experi­mental research on educa­tional processes and decision-making be connected to and enriched by quali­tative approaches?

Addressing core issues of educa­tional research, we would like to reflect on the appro­pria­teness of different metho­do­lo­gical approaches and the role of mixed methods studies. Given manifold diffe­rences in the objects of educa­tional research, research
questions, and approaches, we aim at exchanging insights in practical experi­ences, metho­do­lo­gical conside­ra­tions, and theore­tical approaches when integrating two or more methods. Since the training and socia­lization of resear­chers often takes place in largely
separate research tradi­tions, this confe­rence should also serve to cross borders in order to discuss jointly how quali­tative and quanti­tative methods can be combined in educa­tional research, how they complement each other, and which problems these mixed analyses are
facing. Ideally, submis­sions should address the following aspects:

  • Research topic, research question, and project context
  • Motivation for mixed methods research
  • Theore­tical and conceptual embedding
  • In case of empirical contri­bu­tions: Data and methods (with an emphasis on how and
    why data, methods, and results are integrated)
  • (Preli­minary) results, with a critical reflection on the integrative analysis

Abstract, submission deadline, and organizing team:

Please send your abstracts in English (max. 500 words) as PDF file to and The deadline for submission is 14 April 2023.
Notifi­cation of selected papers will be send by 12 May 2023, at the latest. The confe­rence language is English, and will be held in person at Leibniz University in Hannover, Germany.
Organizing team: Christian Imdorf (University of Hannover), Angela Graf (TU Munich, bidt), Andrea Hense (SOFI Göttingen) and Christian Schneij­derberg (University of Kassel).


Addae, D., & Quan-Baffour, K.P. (2015). The place of mixed methods research in the field of adult education: design options, prospects and challenges. Inter­na­tional Journal of Education and Research 3(7), 151–162.
Assen, J. H. E., Meijers, F., Otting, H., & Poell, R. F. (2016). Explaining discrepancies between teacher beliefs and teacher inter­ven­tions in a problem-based learning environment: A mixed methods study. Teaching and Teacher Education 60: 12–23.
Baur, N., Kelle, U., & Kuckartz, U. (2017). Mixed Methods–Stand der Debatte und aktuelle Problem­lagen. Kölner Zeitschrift für Sozio­logie und Sozial­psy­cho­logie 69(2): 1–37.
Boliver, V. (2017). Misplaced optimism: how higher education repro­duces rather than reduces social inequality. British Journal of Sociology of Education 38(3): 423–432.
Bourdieu, P. (1996). State nobility: Elite schools in the field of power. New York: Polity.
Braund, H. (2022). Thinking about Kinder­garten thinking: A mixed methods study. Frontiers in Psychology 13: 933541,
Clark, A. (2005). Ways of seeing: Using the Mosaic approach to listen to young children’s perspec­tives. In: A. Clark, A.T. Kjørholt, & P. Moss (Eds.), Beyond listening: Children’s perspec­tives on early childhood services (pp. 29–49). Policy Press.
Corr, C., Snodgrass, M.R., Greene, J.C., Meadan, H., & Santos, R.M. (2020). Mixed Methods in Early Childhood Special Education Research: Purposes, Challenges, and Guidance. Journal of Early Inter­vention 42(1): 20–30,
Creswell, J.W., & Garrett, A.L. (2008). The “movement” of mixed methods research and the role of educators. South African Journal of Education 28: 321–333.
Ding, Y., Wu, Y., Yang, J. & Ye, X (2021). The elite exclusion: stratified access and production during the Chinese higher education expansion. Higher Education 82: 323–347,–00682‑y.
Khan, S. (2015). The Education of Elites in the United States. L’Année socio­lo­gique 65(2): 171–191.
Leech, N.L. & Onwueg­buzie, A.J. (2009). A typology of mixed methods research designs. Quality & Quantity 43: 265–275.
Murphy, M. (2022). Social Theory and Education Research (2nd ed.). London: Routledge.
Pfahl, L. & Powell, J.J.W. (2011). Legiti­mating school segre­gation. The special education profession and the discourse of learning disability in Germany. Disability & Society 26(4): 449–462.
Sandel, M.J. (2021). The tyranny of merit: What’s become of the common good? Penguin.
Schneij­derberg, C., & Götze, N. (2021). Academics’ Societal Engagement in Cross-country Perspective: Large‑n in Small‑n Compa­rative Case Studies. Higher Education Policy 34(1): 1–17,–00227‑z.
Smyth, E. (2016). Students’ Experi­ences and Perspec­tives on Secondary Education. Insti­tu­tions, Transi­tions and Policy. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Tilly, C. (1999). Durable Inequality. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Tilly, C. (2001). Relational origins of inequality. Anthro­po­lo­gical Theory 1(3): 355–372.
Young, M.D. (1958). The Rise of the Merito­cracy 1870–2033. An Essay on Education and Equality. London.


UnivisionGovernance - AI-generiertes Symbolbild - 24
1 1 abstimmen
Benachrichtige mich bei
0 Kommentare
Inline Feedbacks
Alle Kommentare ansehen
Ihre Perspektive ist uns wichtig. Teilen Sie uns Ihre Gedanken mit einem Kommentar mit.x