What is a transformative design research framework?

Mixed method design

A transformative mixed methods design framework is the use of a qualitative method to complement, explore or augment the quantitative method. 

  • A transformative mixed methods design combines qualitative and quantitative data collection, analysis and interpretation.

The researcher mixes diverse forms of data as participant observation, narratives or ethnography as well as descriptive or inferential statistics and automated measures (Debaveye, 2012b, 2015).

It can be an embedded, explanatory or exploratory, sequential or convergent framework following the means of the study.

  • Choosing a mixed methods transformative design means that you are concerned with issues of social justice, equity and fairness.

By being concerned with the social needs and concerns of the community, the researcher aims at integrating the viewpoints of the underrepresented such as the feminist, disability, race, social class or social justice perspectives into the practice of science and knowledge to counterside the dominant views on phenomenons of the experts.

Marginalized viewpoints as the ones of targeted categories of persons, raped victims, people living with mental illness or silented populations in conflict zones, targeted by surveillance and excluded by global policies for governance and technology can also be used (Debaveye, 2015).

It is very important to refine categories to show how underrepresented persons are new marginals who do not fit into the traditional socio-demographic categories, example a social class worker with lots of privileges, bonus and benefits (not paying for transports or services) or seniority is become an equivalent to a middle-class freelance worker thus worker class is not necessarily embodying the concept of precarity.

  • The transformative mixed methods design focuses on what is culturally relevant in the community, not on all data or mainworld views.

It is rather considered as a pragmatist paradigm and a transformative paradigm for social change allowing to fight stereotypes and fake assumptions biased by sexism, ageism or racism.

Sub-categories are under focus rather than main categories because with the emergence of complex societies, marginalization is more defined by the context of the situation, like shown in the cases of the white privileged women abused in childhood, raped or battered by their partners and spouses or battered women from uneducated milieux, due to the influence of the social and cultural values from the environment.

Misogyny has no social class. Violence is not impacting all the women equally regarding of contexts so it is not a feminist/gender issue but it is adressing a broader phenomenon so it deserves attention. By being excluded from samples, the persons are not being granted the privilege of victimhood (empathy, support) or access to care and compensation, then incomplete procedures are causing deep stress and hurt in society.

We need to refine categories out of traditionnal socio-demographics to adress the issue of new categories of persons exposed to exclusion and pain by their living situation and daily routines.

  • It involves many complex procedures for selecting, analyzing and interpreting data

Searching the literature for concerns of diverse groups, on issues of discrimination and oppression.

Defining the problem under question

Developping questions that lead to transformative answers such as authority and power

Using mixed methodologies and methods and defining which ones for each specific question or problem

Defining the research design

Ensuring the respect of ethical considerations

Identifying data sources

Avoid stereotypical labels

Using sampling strategies or tactics

Using methods resonating with the community under investigation

Designing for opening for participation and understanding

Analyzing subgroups and exploring participants’ views

Elucidating power relationships

Interpreting the connected results

Reporting results

  • It adresses responses and needs for different stakeholders concerned with impacts and evaluation

In an explanatory model, for example, it enables to understand why participants attribute change to value (Debaveye, 2012, 2015).

It can be really useful and recommended in analyzing the risks or impacts for evaluation of past or present policies in science and technology to avoid to reproduce the faults and failures of old models that didn’t work, notably within the post-positivist or constructivist solely paradigms.

It is also a great design for people empowerment and freedom. For doing this, trust in participants’ honesty and non-judgemental attitudes are essential. But empathy is not necessarily entitlement either.

While using the mixed methods design framework, the researcher might also produce emergent design during the process of conducting the research to adress emergent concerns with improvised tactics and methods.