IOA’s mixed-method approaches to research: A comprehensive guide

In On Africa (IOA) is a research and intelligence firm that specialises in providing data-driven decision-making support for businesses and organisations that operate in Africa, as well as entities that are looking to expand into Africa.

IOA offers a wide range of research services, including market attractiveness studies, competitor intelligence, consumer research, geopolitical research, due diligence and more. IOA’s research projects often employ mixed-method research designs, combining various research methods and techniques to gather and analyse data effectively.

Here is more detail about IOA’s mixed-method approaches to research.

Understanding mixed-method approaches

In the world of research, the blending of qualitative and quantitative methods opens up a world of possibilities. Mixed-method approaches are gaining traction as a means to delve deeper into research questions, offering a more comprehensive perspective than traditional single-method studies. 

IOA focuses on the key features and nuances of mixed-method approaches to understand how they enhance the validity and depth of research findings while also recognising the challenges they pose.

  • Combining qualitative and quantitative data: Researchers collect and analyse both qualitative (textual, visual, multimedia) and quantitative (numerical) data to gain a deeper understanding of the research topic.
  • Integration of methods and analysis: The integration of qualitative and quantitative methods occurs during various stages of the research process, including sampling strategies, data collection, analysis, findings synthesis and integration and reporting.
  • Flexibility in research design: Mixed-method approaches are less tied to disciplines and established research paradigms, allowing researchers to combine aspects of different types of studies to distil the most informative results.
  • Enhanced validity and knowledge: The overall goal of mixed-method research is to expand and strengthen a study’s conclusions and contribute to the published literature by providing heightened knowledge and validity.
  • Labour-intensive and potentially costly: Collecting, analysing and synthesising different types of data into one research product takes a lot of time and effort, often involving interdisciplinary teams of researchers.
  • Challenges in interpreting results: Interpreting the results of mixed-method research can be complex as it may involve conflicting or differing results. Researchers must find ways to systematically compare the results from different sources and methods to avoid bias.

IOA’s mixed-method research approach

IOA often recommends mixed-method approaches to its clients due to the wide-ranging benefits of such methodologies. The firm’s mixed-method research combines elements of qualitative and quantitative research to provide a comprehensive and well-informed understanding of the core research questions. This approach allows for the integration of the benefits of both methods, resulting in a more complete picture of the research topic.

IOA’s research team ensures sufficient flexibility in research design by strategically integrating data from various sources and employs methods to draw meaningful conclusions from potentially conflicting results. This flexibility is crucial in addressing the complex processes and systems often encountered in research projects, especially in Africa.

IOA’s mixed-method research services are built around the company’s four core competencies: (1) primary and secondary research; (2) qualitative and quantitative analysis; (3) data synthesis, insight and strategy; and (4)  report development, dashboards and workshops. These competencies ensure that the research process is comprehensive and that the findings are actionable for clients.

IOA employs a range of data collection techniques, including online consumer panels, web surveys, in-depth interviews, focus groups, social media monitoring, social listening and more. This diverse approach allows for the gathering of both qualitative and quantitative data, which can be analysed and synthesised to provide a holistic understanding of the research topic.

The field of mixed-method research continues to evolve

Mixed-method approaches to research have become an integral part of IOA’s commitment to delivering high-quality data-driven solutions for their clients. 

As IOA continues to explore and harness the potential of mixed-method research, such as the increasing use of artificial intelligence, they remain dedicated to enhancing the validity and depth of their findings, contributing valuable knowledge and helping their clients thrive in the complex landscape of Africa’s business, political, economic and social environments.

Approaches to conducting mixed-method research continue to evolve as the needs of clients change and technological advancements influence how research can be done. IOA is committed to staying at the forefront of best practises and methodological advancements. By leveraging their expertise in primary and secondary research, quantitative and qualitative analysis and data fusion, they will continue to provide their clients with the most comprehensive and insightful solutions to guide decision-making in Africa.