Combining Qualitative and Quantitative Methods for Evaluation

March 13, 2006 at 10:34 pm 21 comments

In evaluation, we often choose between using qualitative (e.g. focus group) and quantitative (e.g. survey) methods. In fact, we should always try and use both approaches. This is what is referred to as triangulation: the combination of several research methods in the study of the same phenomenon. My experience has been that a combination of research methods helps provide more data to work with and ultimately a more accurate evaluation. In a recent project, I was able to use interviews combined with surveys to assess participant reaction to training. I found that the information we could draw from the interviews was complimentary – and of added value – to what we discovered through the surveys.

Even if you are only conducting online surveys, the inclusion of open questions (where respondents put in comments in a free text field) is not quite triangulation but will provide you with insight into the phenomenon being evaluated. In a recent online survey project, we were able to clarify important issues by sorting and classifying the comments made in open questions. This proved invaluable information and gave the evaluation heightened status within the organisation.


Entry filed under: Evaluation methodology, Evaluation tools (surveys, interviews..), PR evaluation, Training evaluation.

PR Measurement – New Dictionary Favourite Quotes on Evaluation and Measurement

21 Comments Add your own

  • 1. hashem  |  May 17, 2006 at 6:37 am

    I want some papers about triangulation.
    with best regards,
    hashem aghabeigpoori from shiraz university.

  • 2. hashem  |  May 17, 2006 at 6:39 am

    I want som papers about triangulatio.
    with best regards hashem aghabeigpoori from shiraz university.

  • […] Further to my earlier post on combining qualitative and quantitative methods for evaluation, I came across some interesting resources on this subject: An article "Methodological Triangulation,or How To Get Lost Without Being Found Out" – with an interesting review of common errors in triangulation. […]

  • 5. Anwar Gul  |  July 23, 2006 at 6:23 am

    Kindly provide me tools of Quantitative and Qualitative Method


    Anwar Gul

  • 8. robert prrescod  |  October 19, 2006 at 1:20 am

    hello Glenn i need information on triangulation methods of Qualitative and quantitative in sociology, this is for presentation of my course study. i have read many interesting results from your previous questions and answers.

  • 9. robert prrescod  |  October 19, 2006 at 1:25 am

    good job Glenn.

  • 10. Glenn  |  October 19, 2006 at 8:19 am

    Hello Robert, please refer to the sources mentioned in the comments above where you will find plenty of interesting materials on triangulation.

  • 11. walled  |  January 7, 2007 at 9:12 pm

    Hi Glenn if you please, send me anything about methods of evaluation and measurments?

  • 12. Glenn  |  January 18, 2007 at 8:59 am

    Hello Walled,
    there are actually plenty of links to resources on this blog! just search for measurement and methods and you will find them.

  • […] shouldn’t forget the approach of triangulation, that is the combination of different research methods to bring us closer to the *truth*.  […]

  • 14. eseni ibiam orji  |  October 2, 2007 at 10:04 am

    Kindly provide me tools and materals on Quantitative and Qualitative evaluation,cost benefit analysis as an approach to curriculum evaluation, evaluation and action research

  • 15. Glenn  |  October 9, 2007 at 7:08 pm

    If you look at the posts above you will find some excellent resources via the links provided.
    Good luck!

  • 16. Mike Hancey  |  October 13, 2007 at 2:49 am

    Thanks Glenn, for the great information at the top of the page, I quoted you in a grad class I am taking.

  • 17. Glenn  |  October 13, 2007 at 7:11 am

    Thank you Mike – what an honour!

  • […] Many organisations cannot simply wait that long. In term of costs, an impact study requires a triangulation methodology that uses various quantitative and qualitative research methods which could be costly. However, if […]

  • 19. carmelita  |  March 2, 2009 at 2:37 am

    I am writing chapter 4, and have been thinking about sending the transcripted text of my dissertation back to the respondends to verify that they said, what i thought they said (it was all taped recorded during the intrview), how can I find out the protocol for this? I don’t care to re-write the section in the event that they take this opportunity to ‘clean up’ their responses. I prefer to keep the heart of the interview in tact. I am torn>>>
    I know my committee will ask about this, but the risk seems pretty great too.


    • 20. Glenn  |  March 2, 2009 at 9:00 pm

      Hi Carmelita,
      You’ve touched on a very interesting point. Actually, there are two schools of thought. There are those that recommend to consult fully with respondents and actually get them to validate their transcripts as you suggest. Then again, there are others that propose that this is not necessary. For most studies I have worked on or seen, it is really a minority that seek respondent validation of transcripts – particularly where all was taped as was your case. If you are interested in the precise protocol for this process, search using terms such as “user-focused evaluation” or “stakeholder-based evaluation”.

  • 21. Noreen  |  October 25, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    dear glenn can u send me any formate, how to analyze questionnaire, interview, and group discussion collectively. i am writing 4th chapter of my thesis.


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