The archipelago approach to mixed method evaluation

Frances Lawrenz, Douglas Huffman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


In this article, we propose a new metaphorical framework for understanding and using mixed methods evaluation. Our re-conceptualization of mixing methods provides important insights into the theoretical and practical challenges of using a mixed method approach. Mixed methods can create philosophical and practical dilemmas in the ways data are collected, analyzed, interpreted and reported. We used an archipelago as a metaphor for resolving these challenges. An archipelago is a set of islands that loosely forms a group. Using the archipelago as a metaphor helped to clarify and re-conceptualize the evaluation approach and its findings by allowing simultaneous consideration of different mixed methods and stances. The results have implications for those attempting to use mixed methods to evaluate programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-338
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Evaluation
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002

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