Example of Research Methodology Using Saunders et al. Research Onion Model

The research onion model was suggested by. To aid researchers in developing a technique and constructing a research design in the field of prospective studies. The six key layers of this study onion model act as a step-by-step reference for researchers creating and organizing their research methodology (Melnikovas , 2018).

The Research Onion Model

To solve the research challenge and based on what has been said about previous studies, the mixed methods analysis approach will be used. As it will enable researchers to begin their work by gaining a thorough understanding of Angola’s current status and what ways can be adopted for a sustainable smart urbanisation infrastructure development in Angola and its surroundings. It contains both quantitative and qualitative data for study. The quantitative data would be used to count people’s opinions on the housing issues being discussed. However, without deep and rich qualitative evidence, crucial information about people’s views and desires would be lost. The above allows for a deeper level of knowledge that is not possible to access by quantitative data. However, without deep and rich qualitative evidence, crucial information about people’s views and desires would be lost (Omotayo , 2017). The above allows for a deeper level of knowledge that is not possible to access by quantitative data. To put it another way, quantitative data will provide valuable numeric measurement data, while qualitative data will provide more nuanced facts and hypotheses, as well as define associations.

The Mixed methods methodology

The fusion of conventional quantitative and qualitative methods resulted in a modern process. The mixed methods methodology was born out of the need to help researchers better understand social relations and their complexities by combining quantitative and qualitative analysis methods but still acknowledging their limits (McKim , 2017). In social science, mixed approaches are also noted for the principle of triangulation. Researchers may use triangulation to present different observations about a particular problem by integrating elements of quantitative and qualitative methods in a single sample.

Mixed Methods: Characteristics to Look For

    Quantitative and qualitative evidence are used (e.g., numeric scores, open and closed-ended questions etc.).

    Depending on the configuration, data may be obtained simultaneously or sequentially.

    Any data form should be given priority, or both can be handled equally.

    Allows researchers to converge or validate conclusions by expanding their interpretation from one approach to another.

    Quantitative analysis provides a broad level of generalisation, while qualitative research provides a deep level of thorough interpretation (Fetters , et al 2019).

Four key factors influence the type of mixed-methods approach used.

  1. Interactions:

         A strand is a fundamental aspect of a design that encompasses either the qualitative or quantitative component.

         Interactive – one strand’s method or results can influence the second strand’s process or results (e.g., the quantitative strand’s findings can influence how the qualitative strand is conducted). Interaction will happen at any time during the research.

         Independent Separate strands (e.g., separate testing queries, data collection, etc.) Only at the end of the analysis, during perception, can the strands communicate (McKim , 2017).

  1. Priority

         Quantitative – the quantitative strand receives more consideration; 

         qualitative – the qualitative strand receives more attention.

         Equal – both the quantitative and qualitative strands make an equal contribution.


  1. Timing (i.e., the order of our strands)

         Quantitative first.

         Qualitative first.


  1. Mixing: is the process of combining data in order to address testing questions.

         During data collection. 

         During interpretation.

The Mixed Research methods gives:

Helps researchers to answer exploratory and confirmatory study questions.

Includes searching at situations from different perspectives and reacting to study questions. Although this can be inconvenient when divergent conclusions necessitate re-examining theories, it can also lead to more formed conclusions and more conceiving explanations and hypotheses.

It comes up with more thorough conclusions. It helps to eliminate some of the flaws that some approaches have by combining them in a manner that has complementary strengths and non-overlapping weaknesses.

Research Philosophy

 (Timans , et al 2019) discuss mixed methods in the contexts of the philosophy of science. Epistemologically, pragmatism is premised on the idea that research can steer clear of metaphysical debates about the nature of truth and reality and focus instead on ‘practical understandings’ of concrete, real-world issues. While this approach is compatible with qualitative-dominant interpretivist understandings of socially constructed reality, the emphasis is on interrogating the value and meaning of research data through examination of its practical consequences. 

Grounded theory 

Grounded theory methods have earned their place as a standard social research method and have influenced researchers from varied disciplines and professions. Yet grounded theory continues to be a misunderstood method, although many researchers purport to use it. They may employ one or two of the strategies or mistake qualitative analysis for grounded theory (Charmaz , 2017). Conversely, other researchers employ grounded theory methods in reductionist, mechanistic ways. Neither approach embodies the flexible yet systematic mode of inquiry, directed but open-ended analysis, and imaginative theorizing from empirical data that grounded theory methods can foster. Subsequently, the potential of grounded theory methods for generating middle-range theory has not been fully realised.





Charmaz, K., 2017. Constructivist grounded theory. The Journal of Positive Psychology.

Fetters, M.D. and Molina-Azorin, J.F., 2019. A checklist of mixed methods elements in a submission for advancing the methodology of mixed methods research.

McKim, C.A., 2017. The value of mixed methods research: A mixed methods study. Journal of Mixed Methods Research11(2), pp.202-222.

Melnikovas, A., 2018. Towards an explicit research methodology: Adapting research onion model for futures studies. Journal of Futures Studies23(2), pp.29-44.

Omotayo, T. and Kulatunga, U., 2017. The research methodology for the development of a kaizen costing framework suitable for indigenous construction firms in Lagos, Nigeria.

Timans, R., Wouters, P. and Heilbron, J., 2019. Mixed methods research: what it is and what it could be. Theory and Society48(2), pp.193-216.


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