As a relatively young approach, mixed methods research (MMR) is a highly practical method to employ in special education due to its challenges and gains for the researchers. In this qualitative study, our aim is to explore the experiences and opinions of the researchers who completed their graduate thesis studies via MMR in special education in Turkey. We depended on hermeneutic (interpretive) phenomenological design and conducted focus group discussions with eight participants. Inductive thematic analysis has yielded four themes: (1) discovering the nature of MMR, (2) the reasons to opt for MMR, (3) the experience in conducting MMR, and (4) suggestions. The findings have revealed that understanding the mixed paradigm is a challenging task which requires a change in the mindset of researcher. Its strong functional features for special education have directed researchers towards MMR. However, many challenges raise the question: “to what extent do studies meet the MMR quality standards?” The limitations we observed in the theses have indicated that the quality standards are not adequately reflected. The relatively new nature of the method, researchers’ lack of knowledge and experience, and insufficient support from the supervisor were the sources of the challenges according to our findings. We can say that there is also a need for studies discussing the implementation of the method in special education and for guidelines that will plot a route.


mixed methods research (MMR), special education, graduate thesis, researcher experiences, Turkey, phenomenological study

Author Bio(s)

Seçil Çelik (ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1393-3382) received her undergraduate degree with a double major in Preschool Teaching (2007) and Mentally Handicapped Teaching (2008) programmes at Anadolu University. Between 2010 and 2012, she studied at the Early Childhood Special Education Graduate Programme at Anadolu University, which she successfully completed. She gained her Ph.D. degree on Mentally Handicapped Education in 2019 at Anadolu University. Between 2008 and 2010, she worked as a pre-school teacher and special education teacher in various special education and rehabilitation centres in Turkey. She began her academic career at Anadolu University, Department of Special Education in 2012, where she is working as a faculty member at present. She spent most of her academic life working with young children and their families. Her special interests and working areas are early intervention, early childhood special education, inclusive education, parent-child interaction, and evidence-based practices in early childhood. She is also interested in methodological paradigms and particularly the mixed methods research (MMR). She took both advanced quantitative and qualitative research methods courses in her postgraduate education. Her journey to also meet MMR began with her postgraduate education. During her master and doctorate education, she was involved in various projects designed as MMR and supported by the European Union, the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey and Anadolu University Scientific Research Projects. She also took a specific course called MMR and did some method-related readings. She designed her master's thesis (Çelik, 2012) in accordance with experimental research method. Her master's thesis was an experimental study based on a quantitative paradigm but did not find comprehensive answers to research questions with this method. She began her doctoral education with the question, “If I had the chance to go back, how would I have designed that study?” MMR should be based on a need, so she designed her Ph.D. thesis (Çelik, 2019) as an MMR. The process of internalizing the mixed methods paradigm is still ongoing. She is a founding member of the Early Childhood Special Education Association (EÇOMDER) and a board member of Organisation Mondiale pour L'Éducation Préscolaire - OMEP Turkey (https://www.ecomder.org/yonetim; https://tooegd.org.tr/). She also works as the editor of the Journal of Early Childhood Studies (http://journalofomepturkey.org/index.php/eccd/about/editorialTeam). Please direct correspondence to secilcelik@anadolu.edu.tr.

Murat Doğan (ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4942-3760) is working as an associate professor of Special Education at Anadolu University, Turkey. He received his Ph.D. on Special Education/Education of the Hearing-Impaired at the same university in 2011. He has a background in psychology with a BA in psychology (1997), and MS in Clinical Psychology (2001). He has been working as an academic staff in various positions since 1997, and as a psychologist since 2001. His major duties are tutoring graduate and undergraduate courses (such as research methods in social sciences, research design, and child mental health) parent guidance, cognition of deaf children, conducting research, advising graduate thesis, psychological and educational assessment of deaf children, and consultation to the parents of children with disabilities. His academic interests are methodology, cognitive processes of children with disabilities, psycho-educational assessment and evaluation, and families of children with disabilities. His first encounter with mixed methods research (MMR) is rooted in the need to add the mixed methods paradigm to the courses he teaches about research methods. His journey to internalize the paradigm started in 2015 with an international project designed through MMR and with a doctoral dissertation that he supervised. The discussions during the graduate courses and the common problems he had with the students he supervised made him focus more on MMR. He believes that internalized knowledge of paradigms and the compatible mental flexibility are key attributes for MMR researchers. Please direct correspondence to mudogan@anadolu.edu.tr.

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