VISTAS Online is an innovative publication produced for ACA by Dr. Garry R. Walz and Dr. Jeanne C. Bleuer of Counseling Outfitters, LLC. Its purpose is to provide a means of capturing the ideas, information and experiences generated by the annual ACA Conference and selected ACA Division Conferences. Papers on a program or practice that has been validated through research or experience may also be submitted. This digital collection of peer-reviewed articles is authored by counselors, for counselors. VISTAS Online contains the full text of over 900 proprietary counseling articles published from 2004 to 2017.
Mixed Methods Research Designs: A Recommended Paradigm for the Counseling Profession
Robert L. Smith
Mixed methods designs have been advocated by a number of researchers including those writing about and discussing research paradigms (Burke Johnson & Onwuegbuzie, 2004; Creswell & Clark, 2007). Despite calls for more mixed methods research designs, the field of counseling has been slow to adopt and publish studies using this paradigm. Recently qualitative research studies have gained momentum after heated debates between advocates of quantitative and qualitative designs. Today however, there is a general acceptance of the value of qualitative studies alongside quantitative research within the counseling profession. Yet we have not seen a widespread infusion of mixed methods research in counseling. Reasons for the lack of endorsement and subsequent number of publications using mixed methods research designs in counseling include: a lack of defining mixed methods research and specific design strategies; a lack of expertise required to design, implement, and analyze both quantitative and qualitative studies; length of time required to conduct mixed methods studies; and a personal preference or bias by researchers for either qualitative or quantitative paradigms. This article discusses the above issues concerning mixed methods paradigms, identifies the most common mixed methods strategies, and presents examples of mixed methods studies in counseling. The purpose of this article is to assist researchers to further understand mixed methods designs and to promote the use of mixed methods designs by those conducting research in counseling.