Aligning theory and methodology in mixed methods research: Before Design Theoretical Placement

Mousa Alavi, Mandy Archibald, Rose McMaster, Violeta Lopez, Michelle Cleary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


When a theoretical framework (and its components) is not clearly linked to research methods, researchers risk designing flawed studies, wherein the stated research question is inconsistent with the research design. Explicitly identifying one’s theoretical orientation can provide an orderly schematic for linking observations from separate investigations (i.e. qualitative, quantitative) thereby facilitating understandings and guiding research designs particularly in fields of social and health sciences where complex phenomena are an aspect of the subject of inquiry. Although this has been established, how researchers might position their research theoretically to guide mixed methods research is less clear. In this paper, we propose the Before Design Theoretical Placement as a general guide for specifying and locating studies in a broader theoretical grounding, and discuss how it may inform overall study considerations. We then use this approach to illustrate how theories and methods can work together to facilitate professional knowledge development from a relational perspective.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)527-540
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Social Research Methodology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 3 Sep 2018


  • Health science
  • knowledge generation
  • mixed methods research


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