The use of Triangulation in Social Sciences Research

Can qualitative and quantitative methods be combined?

  • Ashatu Hussein


This article refers to a study in Tanzania on fringe benefits or welfare via the work contract1 where we will work both quantitatively and qualitatively. My focus is on the vital issue of combining methods or methodologies. There has been mixed views on the uses of triangulation in researches. Some authors argue that triangulation is just for increasing the wider and deep understanding of the study phenomenon, while others have argued that triangulation is actually used to increase the study accuracy, in this case triangulation is one of the validity measures. Triangulation is defined as the use of multiple methods mainly qualitative and quantitative methods in studying the same phenomenon for the purpose of increasing study credibility. This implies that triangulation is the combination of two or more methodological approaches, theoretical perspectives, data sources, investigators and analysis methods to study the same phenomenon.However, using both qualitative and quantitative paradigms in the same study has resulted into debate from some researchers arguing that the two paradigms differ epistemologically and ontologically. Nevertheless, both paradigms are designed towards understanding about a particular subject area of interest and both of them have strengths and weaknesses. Thus, when combined there is a great possibility of neutralizing the flaws of one method and strengthening the benefits of the other for the better research results. Thus, to reap the benefits of two paradigms and minimizing the drawbacks of each, the combination of the two approaches have been advocated in this article. The quality of our studies on welfare to combat poverty is crucial, and especially when we want our conclusions to matter in practice.

Author Biography

Ashatu Hussein

Research Fellow
University of Agder

Mzumbe University


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How to Cite
Hussein, A. (2009). The use of Triangulation in Social Sciences Research: Can qualitative and quantitative methods be combined?. Journal of Comparative Social Work, 4(1), 106 - 117.
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