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Durham University

Department of Sociology

MMIRA Conference 2016

Moving Beyond the Linear Model: The Role of Mixed Methods Research in an Age of Complexity

3rd - 5th August 2016, Durham University, The Calman Learning Centre

Conference WORKSHOPS 5th August 2pm-5pm and 6th August 9am-4pm

The 2nd International Mixed Methods International Research Association (MMIRA) conference will take place August 3-5th 2016 at Durham University, U.K. This conference will provide an outstanding opportunity for attendees to examine the role of mixed methods in applied social research. We seek to address the complexity of questions and critical concerns through a form of social inquiry that stresses the importance of understanding the complexity of the social world and addresses the issues identified by Unger when he noted that: … a practice of social and historical explanation, sensitive to structure but aware of contingency is not yet at hand. We must build it as we go along by reconstructing the available tools of social science and social theory. Its absence denies us a credible account of how transformation happens (Roberto Unger Democracy Realized London Verso 1998 24).

Conference Theme

To center mixed methods research approaches as one of the key ways in which we can, in Unger’s words, ‘reconstruct the available tools of social science’ and the focus on social transformation putting social science back where it should be – front and centre in relation to public debate, engagement and the driving of social change.

We envision the field of MMR as empirical, dynamic, dialectical and transformative. Mixed methods dialogue across methodological, disciplinary, and theoretical divides holds the potential to give rise to a range of mixed methods research that builds on our similar and different strengths. We hope to produce knowledge that addresses and centers on a range of social problems and crises faced by peoples across the globe.

Mixed methods research is a vibrant and vital field that is growing within and across mixed methods international and interdisciplinary communities of inquiry. It is in our reaching out across disciplinary divides that provides a way forward for a plurality of methodological approaches, philosophical perspectives, and a wide range of research methods.

The following are just a few of the questions and topics based on the conference theme:

  • What is the role of mixed methods research approaches in evaluation research?
  • What is the role of mixed methods research approaches in action research?
  • How can we get beyond the linear model by harnessing a mixed methods approach towards understanding and engaging with social complexity?
  • How can we harness a mixed methods approach in health care research that also challenges the idea of a hierarchy of evidence?
  • Under what conditions and how might using MMR—both mixed methods and multimethod approach—add value to a research project, in contrast to a single research approach?
  • What are some important qualitatively and quantitatively-driven mixed methods research design exemplars and/or strategies that can serve to advance our understanding of complex issues and critical social problems as we move toward a more global society?
  • What are some exemplars of innovation in mixed methods research designs across specific disciplines from the healthcare sciences to the social sciences?
  • What are the cutting edge analysis and interpretation strategies and practices with regard to the integration of qualitative and quantitative findings that can serve to enhance the credibility of mixed methods outcomes?
  • Dialoguing around strategies for producing knowledge that combines national, local, and indigenous citizens’ issues and concerns?
  • Engaging with the tensions and harnessing the potential new knowledge experienced by crossing disciplinary, methodological, political, philosophical, geographical, and technological divides?
  • How can engaging with research practictioners, mixed methods scholars in the academy, and listening to citizens produce interdisciplinary questions and mixed methods designs that are unbound by any one disciplinary pursuit?
  • Harnessing the knowledge with regard to effective strategies in working with research teams, working groups, and researcher/grantor coalitions to produce new ideas, theories, methods, and practices?
  • The problems and prospects of infusing the field of MMR with new technologies and modes of data collection and analysis
  • Getting your mixed methods article, grant proposal and dissertation written up, accepted/funded/published
  • What are some exemplars of pedagogy and practice in the mixed methods in the classroom?


The deadline for submitting Abstracts is 31st March 2016. When you are submitting your abstract please suggest which strand it is for, although allocation will be done by the organizers. See thematic strands here. We are also open to submissions for thematic sessions, normally with three presenters in each. Submissions for thematic sessions must include the titles of presentations and the names of the presenters in the sessions.

Conference Programme

The conference will consist of a range of venues for MMR scholars, students, and especially those new to our mixed methods community to engage in dialogue about these questions and issues and more.

The conference will take place on 3rd-5th August and will consist of:

(1) Three keynote addresses; one by Julia Brannen, another by Margarete Sandelowski and a third one by Emma Uprichard

(2) Paper sessions that cover the major themes of the conference

(3) Invited plenary panels on key topical conference themes

(4) Roundtable sessions where both novice and seasoned researchers can informally and in a supportive environment, present works in progress and receive feedback.

The conference is committed to a mentoring and learning model for those who are new to MMR and more advanced MM researchers who want to further their understanding of topics and issues in the field.


In addition, the conference will feature an exhibitor hall for publishers of research methods and social science journals and books as well as a demonstration space for data analysis software developers.

Mixed Methods Workshops

There will also be post-conference workshops on August 5th (2pm) and August 6th, that cover a variety of MMR topics ranging from introductory mixed methods design to more advanced topics such as constructing complex designs, MM sampling, writing grants, etc. Titles of the workshops and booking details can be found on the conference Registration page.


We are also inviting submissions for panels where the panel organizer will suggest a theme and a set of presenters. Normally panels will include 3 or 4 participants. Further information and a form can be found here . If you have any queries about panels please contact .

Travel scholarships

If you would like to submit an application for a travel scholarship please obtain a form from Pauline Harrison