In December 2008, Ph.D. student Joe Costanzo presented a paper at a conference on immigration research in College Park, MD. The conference was sponsored by the Maryland Population Research Center at the University of Maryland. Costanzo's paper, "Planning to Integrate: Immigrant Participation in Urban Projects," added an urban planning perspective to the conference, which also featured voices from anthropology, sociology, public health and education. An abstract is featured below.
Joe Costanzo, Urban Studies and Planning
The Mutual Benefits of “Deep, Rich” and “Hard, Generalizable:”
A Mixed-Method Strategy in Social Science Research
In simple terms, throughout most of the 20th Century, social science inquiry as divided between two camps. Separately, quantitatively and qualitatively-oriented researchers praised (and relied mostly upon) their own strategies. By the 1990s new approaches were gaining ground—mixed-method strategies to social science research—where there was no longer a “need to choose between qualitative and quantitative data” (Bernard, 2006).
Playing to the strengths of multiple techniques, data sources, and disciplinary frameworks, mixed methods invite researchers to look more broadly at the human condition. With a willingness and ability to pull from several approaches within the same research project, researchers are now better equipped to understand, explain, and evaluate human attitudes and behaviors. A common axiom within the social sciences is to use methods that match the needs of the research. Today, where public funding for social science research is increasing limited, outcomes are evermore important. In such a research climate, being able to successfully integrate quantitative and qualitative strategies provides researchers with additional techniques and tools to demonstrate the relevance of their work (and findings) to a more critical audience. Perhaps this “third methodological movement” reflects a contemporary and permanent shift in social scientific" thought away from distinctions between purely formal and informal lines of inquiry.
The presentation detailed Costanzo's preliminary research into how and why mixed-method research approach optimizes available information to answer some pressing questions.