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Educational Paper by Anita Bans-Akutey and Benjamin Makimilua Tiimub*
Triangulation in Research
Research triangulation, over the years, has gained much popularity as researchers become more sophisticated in generating and testing theories. Indeed of what use is research whose findings are unreliable and invalid? Answers to research questions are expected to be as close as they possibly can to the reality if they cannot be perfectly accurate. Researchers find a way of producing reliable results by making use of research triangulation. This paper seeks to identify advantages that come with a researcher making use of research triangulation in a study.
According to Noble and Heale (2019), research triangulation refers to the process that helps to increase the credibility and validity of research. In other words, research triangulation basically aims at validating the results of a study. Triangulation, sometimes, makes use of mixed methods to achieve the aim of validating research findings. However, triangulation is not the same as mixed methods. Mixed methods basically combine quantitative and qualitative research approaches in getting research questions answered; while triangulation describes how the researcher makes use of all the multiple approaches in the study to extract the required information as well as critically analyzing findings (Social Sciences Research Laboratories, 2018); thus establishing validity and credibility.
It is in the quest to achieve validity and credibility in research that researchers make use of triangulation. Social Sciences Research Laboratories (2018) exposes six ways researchers can achieve this; thus methodical triangulation, data triangulation, investigator triangulation, theoretical triangulation, environmental triangulation and multiple triangulation.
Methodical triangulation uses more than one research approach in a study and can be “across method” or “within method” (Risjord et al, 2001; Casey & Murphy, 2009; and Boyd, 2001). Methodical triangulation is also referred to as mixed methods research (Bekhet & Zauszniewski, 2012). Data triangulation makes use of several data sources in a study. Investigator triangulation uses different researchers, interviewers, investigators, data analysts or observers in a study (Bans-Akutey & Tiimub, 2021). Theoretical triangulation makes use of several theories in analyzing a phenomenon (Hales, Peersman, Rugg & Kiwango, 2010). Environmental triangulation makes use of a variety of settings to validate research findings. Multiple triangulation makes use of two or more of the triangulation types (Social Sciences Research Laboratories, 2018).
Reference: Bans-Akutey, A., Tiimub, B.M. (2021). Triangulation in Research. Academia Letters, Article 3392. https://doi.org/10.20935/AL3392.
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