Education and Human Sciences, College of (CEHS)


Date of this Version



Y. Zhou. (2014). The adoption of mixed methods in China: An exploratory instrument design (doctoral dissertation). University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Nebraska.


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Psychological Studies in Education (Qualitative, Quantitative, and Psychometric Methods), Under the Supervision of Professor John W. Creswell. Lincoln, Nebraska: August, 2014

Copyright (c) 2014 Yuchun Zhou


Mixed methods is “the third research paradigm” and a methodology along with traditional quantitative and qualitative methodologies (Johnson & Onwuegbuzie, p.14). It is at the expansion/diffusion stage of development where researchers are most interested in how this method is adopted across disciplines and countries. However, very little literature is found regarding the use of mixed methods in non-Western cultural contexts, such as East Asia. Hence, the current study aimed to explore the expansion of mixed methods in an underrepresented population, China, a non-Western context and developing country.

The study employed an exploratory instrument design to investigate Chinese scholars’ decisions of adopting mixed methods as well as to examine the factors that predict such decisions. This study consisted of three phases: (1) the initial qualitative case study explored Chinese scholars’ perceptions and their use of mixed methods; (2) based on the qualitative results, an instrument was developed to measure the adoption of mixed methods; and (3) the follow-up quantitative survey used the instrument and examined Chinese scholars’ adoption of mixed methods.

The findings of the study revealed that China is adopting mixed methods but at a slow rate due to researchers’ insufficient expertise and a variety of practical issues, such as budget issues and publication difficulties. The influential factors on Chinese scholars’ intentions to use mixed methods were the perceived compatibility, reasons, and advantage of using mixed methods.

The current study examined the expansion of mixed methods in China and the practicability of this method in East Asian cultures. The study also constructed measures and a model of the adoption of mixed methods that can be used in the future research. The results of the study are of value to methodologists who want to understand how mixed methods has been accepted and applied in a non-Western country, and thus to improve the application and adaptation of this method to different cultures.

Adviser: John W. Creswell