A1 Journal article (refereed)
Developing mixed methods research in sport and exercise psychology : potential contributions of a critical realist perspective (2022)

Ryba, T. V., Wiltshire, G., North, J., & Ronkainen, N. J. (2022). Developing mixed methods research in sport and exercise psychology : potential contributions of a critical realist perspective. International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 20(1), 147-167. https://doi.org/10.1080/1612197X.2020.1827002

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Ryba, Tatiana V.; Wiltshire, Gareth; North, Julian; Ronkainen, Noora J.

Journal or series: International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology

ISSN: 1612-197X

eISSN: 1557-251X

Publication year: 2022

Publication date: 30/09/2020

Volume: 20

Issue number: 1

Pages range: 147-167

Publisher: Taylor & Francis

Publication country: United States

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/1612197X.2020.1827002

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Partially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/72081


Notwithstanding diverse opinions and debates about mixing methods, mixed methods research (MMR) is increasingly being used in sport and exercise psychology. In this paper, we describe MMR trends within leading sport and exercise psychology journals and explore critical realism as a possible underpinning framework for conducting MMR. Our meta-study of recent empirical mixed methods studies published in 2017–2019 indicates that eight (36%) of the 22 MMR studies explicitly stated a paradigmatic position (five drew on pragmatism, two switched paradigms between qualitative and quantitative elements of the study, and one was situated in relativist-interpretivism). The remaining 14 (64%) studies did not report their underpinning research philosophical assumptions. Evaluating the merits and limitations of these positions against critical realist assumptions suggests that several paradigmatic disagreements are potentially reconcilable. These include (a) maintaining that ontological and epistemological concerns are important for methodological integrity of a mixed methods study; (b) switching between paradigms in the same study is problematic; and (c) refuting the qualitative-quantitative incommensurability thesis, therefore allowing mixed methods research without compromising philosophical coherence. From a critical realist position, we suggest that both quantitative and qualitative designs are justifiable in a mixed methods study because (1) they help corroborate, refine, or refute plausible explanations of phenomena (epistemological), but (2) with different methodologies utilised to perform different tasks in the same research design related to different psycho-social system features (ontological). We call for a collaborative engagement by researchers across paradigmatic positions to work towards the advancement of methodological pluralism in our research community.

Keywords: sport psychology; methodology; research methods; theory of science; critical realism

Free keywords: mixed methods; methodological integrity; methodological pluralism; research philosophy; meta-theory; critical realism

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Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2022

Preliminary JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2022-20-09 at 15:34