James Drisko

in Social Work

ISBN: 9780195389678
Published online May 2011 | | DOI:

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The origins of triangulation in social work and in the wider social sciences are only metaphorically related to the process in geometry by which a point’s location is established by measuring angles and distances to it from two previously established points. This procedure is widely used in surveying to mathematically establish an unknown point in two dimensions. Still, this original geometric form of triangulation may be found in some social science community mapping efforts. In social work and social science publications related to family treatment, triangulation may refer to patterns of family and interpersonal interaction rather than research methods. In terms of research methodology, triangulation in social science refers to efforts to corroborate or support the understanding of an experience, a meaning, or a process by using multiple sources or types of data, multiple methods of data collection, and/or multiple analytic or interpretive approaches. The concept has roots in the conceptualization of quantitative research methods. Quantitative methodologists argued that establishing validity requires both a multiple-method and a multiple-trait approach. Establishing validity, therefore, requires the convergence of results achieved by differing methods and with differing variables. This initial concept was known as multiple operationalism. In sociology, an early integration of survey methods and field work similarly sought convergent validation by using different data collection methods. A limited form of triangulation based solely on the use of both quantitative and qualitative research approaches in a single study has become widely known as mixed methods research (see Mixed Methods Research). Yet it may be still more fruitful to mix within-methods or between-methods and to include not just two methods but multiple quantitative and/or qualitative methods employed in a single study instead.

Article.  7510 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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