Triangulation In Research and Its Use

Afza.Malik GDA

Use of Triangulation In Nursing Research

Triangulation In Research and Its Use

What is Triangulation In Research,Approaches for Triangulation,Methodological triangulation,Theoretical Triangulation,Data Triangulation,Purposes of Triangulation,Triangulation in Nursing Research

What is Triangulation In Research

    Triangulation, as it is most commonly used in nursing research, refers to the combination of qualitative and quantitative research methods within a single study. There are a number of approaches to triangulation, and it can serve a number of purposes. 

    According to Duffy (1987), triangulation is “the use of multiple methods, theories, data and/or investigators in the study of a common phenomenon” (p. 130). The term triangulation has its roots in surveying and navigation and describes the idea of using known points and angles in a triangular fashion to locate an unknown point.

     D. Campbell and Fiske (1959) are credited as the first to apply this approach in their use of the multi method matrix to establish convergent validity.

Approaches for Triangulation

    Denzin (1989) identified four different approaches to triangulation: methodological, data, theoretical, and investigator

Methodological triangulation

    Methodological triangulation, currently the most commonly used triangulation approach in nursing research, involves the use of two or more different methods within a single study. Denzin points out that this approach can involve within method or between method triangulation

    ES Mitchell (1986) emphasized the need for complementary in the methods used with this approach. Within method triangulation refers to the use of several different instruments to measure a construct, for example, the use of the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test Revised (PPVT-R) as well as the Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children (KABC) to measure different dimensions of child development. 

    Between method (also known as across method) triangulation refers to the use of more than one research method to study a phenomenon, for example, the use of a qualitative approach such as phenomenology in concert with a quantitative approach such as a descriptive survey. Between method triangulation can be accomplished simultaneously or sequentially.

Theoretical Triangulation

    A second type of triangulation, theoretical triangulation, involves analysis of data using several related yet perhaps contradictory theories or hypotheses. The hypothesis supported by the data can be strongly supported because other theories and hypotheses have been discounted (Mitchell, ES, 1986). 

    This type of triangulation can be used within a quantitative or a qualitative methodology; it seeks to avoid a narrow, specialized interpretation of the data (Denzin, 1989). Denzin described this approach, explaining that theoretical triangulation encourages an awareness of the multiple ways data can be interpreted.

Data Triangulation

    A third type, data triangulation, involves data collected from different sources. A fourth type of triangulation is investigator triangulation. Denzin (1989) suggested that the use of more than one data collector helps to ensure the reliability of the data and the uses of multiple analysts to interpret the data guards against the risk of bias associated with only one point of view. 

    ES Mitchell (1986) added a fifth variety of triangulation, multiple triangulations, or the combining of two or more types of triangulations, for example, the use of methodological, data and investigator triangulation within a single study. 

Purposes of Triangulation

    Originally, triangulation was carried out mainly for purposes of confirmation. Confirmation is analogous to convergent validity and refers to the idea that through the use of multiple methods, data sources, or investigators, a single, obvious conclusion or representation of reality can be investigated. 

    Recently, triangulation has been conducted to achieve completeness. This approach can illuminate many of the individual facets of a multi-dimensional construct. These researchers used qualitative and quantitative methods as they sought both confirmation and completeness in their study of families with a critically ill child. 

    However, not all scholars agree with the notion of triangulation for completeness. ES Mitchell (1986) identified a number of concerns with multiple triangulation that also apply to other triangulation approaches. 

    First, Mitchell noted that a common unit of analysis is essential in any form of triangulation. Second, some forms of triangulation, especially data and investigator triangulation, can be especially costly in terms of time and money. 

    In addition, triangulation places special demands on the investigator because combining methods requires, as Mitchell noted, “a broad knowledge base in research methodology including both qualitative and quantitative methods” (p. 24). Perhaps the greatest challenge of triangulation, however, is found in the area of analysis. 

    Mitchell noted that analysis in a triangulated study presents special challenges, such as the difficulties of combining numerical and textual data. Problems can also arise in interpreting divergent results from these types of data and in weighing data collected from different sources and from different methods.

Triangulation in Nursing Research

    In spite of these challenges, triangulation of method, data, theories, or investigators can be an important tool in developing nursing science. The concepts of interest to nursing are generally complex, multidimensional human constructs and are difficult to examine by means of a singular research approach. Triangulation is a means to a deeper understanding of these constructs.

Post a Comment


Give your opinion if have any.

Post a Comment (0)

#buttons=(Ok, Go it!) #days=(20)

Our website uses cookies to enhance your experience. Check Now
Ok, Go it!