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Keywords:

  • inference quality;
  • mixed methods research;
  • qualitative;
  • quantitative;
  • research design

Despite criticisms questioning its raison d'être (e.g., Giddings & Grant, 2007), mixed methods research has been welcomed in social research as a methodology in its own right (Greene, 2008). Recently, it has also been acknowledged and advocated in applied linguistics (Dörnyei, 2007; Hashemi, 2012). In an attempt to investigate the status of this relatively new trend in applied linguistics, the current study examines the nature of the integration of qualitative and quantitative methods in terms of research designs, sampling designs, and quality of interpretations. Content analysis of 205 research articles published in seven comprehensive international peer reviewed applied linguistics journals between 1995 and 2008 reveals that concurrent designs are more prevalent than sequential designs and that studies make limited use of mixed designs that are detailed in the mixed methods literature. Moreover, although a considerable number of articles used both qualitative and quantitative methods, only a small number achieved high degrees of integration at various stages of the study as a quality standard for mixed research. The study concludes with several implications for making more effective use of mixed methods research in applied linguistics and calls for a more systematic treatment of this trend as a versatile research methodology.