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The research questions are the following: “What factors do individuals consider when deciding to engage in video gaming?”, “What aspects of the experience contribute to consistent reengagement?”, and “What are the significant motivational variables associated with video game play?” (Hoffman & Nadelson, 2010, p. 249). The questions seem relevant to the chosen method of research because they have both qualitative (what factors individuals consider, what experience contributes to reengagement) and quantitative characteristics (motivational variables), where the former can reflect personal opinion and the latter measurable data (Onwuegbuzie & Leech, 2006). In the study, the authors used both the qualitative method to assess data gathered through interviews and the quantitative method to detect “unique variance among individual difference factors” (Hoffman & Nadelson, 2010, p. 250). As can be seen, the research questions are directly linked to both methods and were designed specifically to address qualitative and quantitative data.
According to Creswell and Clark (2017), a mixed method study is necessary when one data source (qualitative or quantitative) is insufficient and when exploratory results have to be examined deeper or further. The authors state directly why they used a mixed method approach: they used “qualitative methods to collect and analyze interview data in order to create a coding structure, taxonomy of domains, and comparative conclusions… [while] quantitative analysis was used to identify unique variance among individual difference factors” (Hoffman & Nadelson, 2010, p. 250). Mixed methods were needed because qualitative methods would be unable to either prove or refute that race, age, the number of math, science, or computer courses, and years of education affected hours/years of play (Hoffman & Nadelson, 2010).
The philosophical perspective that is the foundation of the study is epistemology or a branch that examines human knowledge and tries to understand what is the nature of it. In this case, Hoffman and Nadelson (2010) strived to understand how variables related to demographic data and what factors contributed to gamers’ reengagement. The authors also point out that their approach was positivist, and they supplemented qualitative findings with descriptive data (Hoffman & Nadelson, 2010),
Mixed Method Design Characteristics
The design type is described in the study as “a concurrent triangulation mixed-method design” (Hoffman & Nadelson, 2010, p. 249). Creswell and Clark (2017) describe triangulation as a method that seeks convergence and corroboration, as well as correspondence, of results of different methods, i.e., they should complement each other. Thus, the timing of the study is concurrent. The qualitative and quantitative researches were conducted concurrently, although separately, and analyzed later during the interpretation phase. The priority in this study was equal regarding both methods as the triangulation design implies that the data gathered with both methods are equally weighed and should contribute to each other.
The integration of the methods was as follows: the authors asked participants to complete demographic surveys, and then those individuals who expressed interest took part in an open-ended interview that consisted of 12 questions (the qualitative method). After that, a three-phase coding scheme was developed (the quantitative method). During the first phase, the authors coded and summarized data collected using the interviews. In the second phase, smaller categories were created based on the data collected during the first phase. Cluster coding and individual coding were used in this phase. Motivations of gamers detected during phase II were analyzed for frequency and similarity (Hoffman & Nadelson, 2010).
Phase III coding generated main themes for analysis. After that, t-tests and stepwise linear regression were used to either determine how demographic data correlated with hours and years of play or determine which variables detected in self-reports predicted gamers’ engagement. In my opinion, the authors provided a quality integration of methods, and the data collected with the qualitative method was effectively and correctly integrated into quantitative research. Thus, the mixing of methods was based on an equal utilization of QUAN and QUAL, and their equality was not disrupted because data collected with the help of both methods were equally weighted and equally contributed to study results.
Mixed Method Design
In the study, concurrent triangulation was used. As was noted earlier, the aim of a study with a concurrent triangulation design is to collect different types of data (QUAN and QUAL) simultaneously although separately so that it could be used later to answer research questions. The design was chosen because the authors wanted to compare and contrast qualitative findings with qualitative data or expand quantitative results with qualitative data (Hoffman & Nadelson, 2010). It was a good fit for the research because if the quantitative approach only were used, it would be impossible to integrate broader and personal data that the authors collected from gamers (such as factors that affect their engagement).
Thus, without the qualitative approach, the study would only focus on the comparison of demographics and hours/years of play. A qualitative approach without the quantitative method would result in a study that examined personal beliefs of gamers about their engagement but omitted demographic data and their potential influence; such a study would be incomplete. In my opinion, the concurrent triangulation design was a good fit, although the authors could also use sequential triangulation to answer the research questions. However, in this case, they would have to give priority either to personal opinions of gamers or demographic data.
Mixed Method Sampling Strategies
The study used convenience sampling, and its subtype was volunteer sampling (Teddlie & Yu, 2007). The advantage of such sampling is that it is easy and does not require much effort as well as financial investments. However, I believe that the sampling strategy was insufficient because the sample was small (25 individuals) and because it was not representative of larger populations (participants were university students). Depending on the major of participants and their sex (the majority of participants were male), other findings could be identified. I believe that the sampling strategy and the sample itself are the weaknesses of this study.
Strengths and Weaknesses
I identified several strengths of the study. First, it had a strong designed where qualitative and quantitative data backed up each other and were used to answer research questions in detail. Using this method, the authors were able to find out that hours of play directly predict the level of engagement. Second, the study’s design is also its strength, as it helped the authors eliminate possible biases that are common for a qualitative method with the help of qualitative method and expand quantitative data. At last, a mixed method allows researchers collect substantial and often very detailed data.
The study’s limitations include a general understanding of video games (the data was not related to any particular genre), little exploration of the exogenous variables, volunteer sampling, and self-reports. If the study focused on other genres, the results could be different depending on the particular game used in the study. Further exploration of exogenous variables could be useful in identifying how exactly they influence engagement and what specifics can be related to male and female participants that affect their engagement. Volunteer sampling is problematic because it is small and because the findings of the study are impossible to generalize (they apply only to college majors who took part in the study). Self-reports are less empirical compared to other tools for data collection.
Creswell, J. W., & Clark, V. L. P. (2017). Designing and conducting mixed methods research. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
Hoffman, B., & Nadelson, L. (2010). Motivational engagement and video gaming: A mixed methods study. Educational Technology Research and Development, 58(3), 245-270.
Onwuegbuzie, A. J., & Leech, N. L. (2006). Linking research questions to mixed methods data analysis procedures. The Qualitative Report, 11(3), 474-498.
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Teddlie, C., & Yu, F. (2007). Mixed methods sampling: A typology with examples. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 1(1), 77-100.