Mixed Methods in Impact Evaluation

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The sensitive nature of data relating to street gangs and terrorism makes the obtaining of relevant information challenging. Further, identifying gang members or perceived terrorists that fit the study pool is impeded by the secretive nature of such individuals and their repulsion of authority and external entities. Consequently, the study will employ a mixture of qualitative and quantitative methods to draw relevant data. Quantitative research methods involve numerical data as a way to quantify the problem at hand while qualitative research methods aim at providing insight into the problem at hand thus laying the foundation for quantitative research.

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In this case, a sequential mixed method approach will be employed. This will entail using qualitative methods in the initial stages of the study and proceeding to apply quantitative methods later on to obtain numerical data relating to the correlational hypothesis at hand (McConney, 2002). The first level of the survey will involve collecting information that will give insight into the correlation between domestic terrorism and Street gangs. Qualitative methods will be employed in the form of in-depth interviews, focus groups, dyads, and triads. These interviews will be conducted on relevant law enforcement authorities to help gain an understanding of the correlation.

Further, they will unveil any predisposing factors in the environment and personalities of gang members and terrorist that might be useful when selecting viable candidates for quantitative research. Additionally, interviews might also be conducted on incarcerated individuals who fit into the correlation equation so as to understand the mindset of the affected individuals (gang members, and domestic terrorists) and help inform the research methods in subsequent levels of the study. The information collected using these qualitative tools will help inform decisions such as what quantitative tool to employ, how to interact with study subjects, and how to neutralize external constraints among others.

The second stage will employ quantitative methods selected based on recommendations from the first stage. Further triangulation will be vital in collecting relevant information from the field owing to time and cost constraints involved. Owing to the nature of the subject at hand, both descriptive, and experimental research designs ("Quantitative Research Design", 2016) will be applicable. Descriptive designs involve observing study subjects with no attempt to change their environment or behavior. Moreover, in descriptive research studies researches and subjects rarely interact. In this case, this design will help observe gang members in their natural environment with the aim of noting behavioral patterns as they relate to domestic terrorism patterns.

Experimental research designs involve, studying subjects in a semi-controlled environment to note the issues being investigated. In this design, study groups are divided into two with one group being the control group. The later receives intervention from the researchers and is supposed to be a contrast to the study group. Measurements and observation are noted down during the start of the study and after a pre-determined period, the outcome is noted down. However, since the matters in question(gang affiliation and terrorism) cannot be controlled through treatment, the control group will contain individuals who do not bare any of the predisposing factors such as dropping out of school, and gang affiliation that would predispose them into becoming terrorist. This will help highlight the role such factors play in correlating street gangs and domestic terrorism. The initial qualitative analysis will help identify such factors (Bamberger,2012)

Additionally, quantitative data will be collected by reviewing existing records from relevant authorities. This data will include but not limited to the number of terrorists in incarceration, the number of suspected terrorists, their criminal history, and gang links. This data will supplement data from the descriptive and experimental studies. Consequently, triangulation will be used to harmonize data collected through the three quantitative data collection methods

Data in the study can be collected sequentially or concurrently with each stage employing a different quantitative method. However, to avoid unconscious or conscious prejudiced interpretation of collected data, the data should be collected concurrently. The first stage will employ descriptive research design and will observe street gang members and suspected terrorist in a bid to note their behavioral patterns and relationship that might indicate a correlation between gang affiliation and terrorism. Further, relevant statistics will be noted such as the number of gang members who end up becoming a terrorist, or the number of suspected terrorists who have gang affiliations. The second stage will involve experimental studies in which a selected group of gang members will be observed. This group will be handpicked to contain individuals with risk factors that predispose them to terrorist activities such as dropping out of school, religion, and extremist views. A control group, on the other hand, will contain gang members who do not have the risk factors. The final stage will involve combing through law enforcement databases to obtain relevant data of gang members who eventually turn to terrorism.

Finally, quantitative analysis methods such as correlation analysis and causal-comparative analysis of collected data will reveal the presence or lack of a relationship between street gangs and domestic terrorism.


Bamberger, M. (2012). Introduction to mixed methods in impact evaluation. Impact Evaluation Notes, 3, 1-38.

McConney, A. (2002). Getting to the Bottom Line: A Method for Synthesizing Findings Within Mixed-method Program Evaluations. The American Journal Of Evaluation, 23(2), 121-140. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s1098-2140(02)00164-9

Quantitative Research Design. (2016). Sportsci.org. Retrieved 5 July 2016, from http://www.sportsci.org/jour/0001/wghdesign.html

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