Mixing methods – lessons from the field

Howick, Susan and Ackermann, Fran and Houghton, Thomas and Quigley, John and Walls, Lesley (2014) Mixing methods – lessons from the field. In: 56th Operational Research Society Conference, 2014-09-08, Royal Holloway. (Unpublished)

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Whilst there has been a lot written about mixing OR methods, there has been limited attention paid to generic lessons that could be gained from mixing methods in practice. Many real problems demand the use of a mixed method approach and thus recognising and sharing generic lessons could prove beneficial to both practitioners and researchers. This paper seeks to present an in-depth evaluation of a mixed method case study to gain further understanding and lessons for the mixed method OR/MS community. In doing so it aims to 1) develop a set of learning points and 2) subsequently categorise the learning points. The first aim, identifying learning points, is to provide help to both practitioners as well as researchers as further insights can be determined and opportunities capitalised upon. The second aim, focusing on categorisation, seeks to separate those learning points that are relatively generic i.e. relating to operational research modelling interventions, those which are unique to mixing methods and those that reflect the exacerbating effect of mixing methods on interventions. In this manner a better understanding of the practice of mixing methods can be achieved.