Research Types of Triangulation There are four basic types



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University, Lahore

Psychology Unit

train professionals


                                     Name:            Yousaf

                                     Session:          2017-2018

Top Up Clinical Psychology

             Department:              Clinical
Psychology Unit


                                                               Table of Contents
Triangulation Analysis. 3
What is Triangulation?. 3
Types of Triangulation. 3
Data triangulation. 3
Researcher triangulation. 4
Theoretical triangulation. 4
Methodological triangulation. 4
triangulation. 5
Reasons for
Triangulation. 5
Usefulness of
Triangulation. 6
Research Bias. 6
Measurement bias. 6
Sampling bias. 6
Procedural bias. 6
Conclusion. 7
References. 8



Triangulation Analysis


What is

Triangulation is the process of verifying the
validity through incorporating different viewpoints and methodologies. In
psychology and other social sciences disciplines, it refers to the mixture of
two or more theories, data sources, methods or investigators in one study of a
single phenomenon to meet on a single construct, and can be applied in both
quantitative and qualitative studies. The methods for validation in qualitative
study may include the use of survey, in-depth interview, focus groups,
participant observation etc. (Blaikie, 1991).

simplifies justification of data by cross verification from more than two
sources. It assesses the stability of findings acquired from different tools
and upturns the chance to control, or at least measure threats or multiple reasons
manipulating the outcomes. Besides the validation, triangulation is about
expanding and spreading of understanding in a conceptual manner. It is widely
used to obtain improvement and may lead to multi perspective interpretations
(Cohen & Manion, 1989).

Types of

There are four basic types
of triangulation:

Methodological triangulation

Data triangulation.

Data triangulation
validates the data and research by verifying the same information through cross
checking by different sources. The triangulation of data strengthens the
research paper because the data has increased the credibility and validity. The
triangulation of data occurs when numerous theories, resources or approaches
are used. The data triangulation gathers the data through different sampling
strategies such as collecting data at different times, in different contexts
and through different people (Barnes & Vidgen, 2006).

Venkatesh (2009) was able
to make sense of certain forms of behavior and experience of being black and
poor. He conducted a study in way that had never been possible if he had not
been living in among those who were black and poor. He gathered the data from
both those who were involved and their understanding of what it meant to be
black and poor and from the experience of living in their world.

Researcher triangulation

the studies which depend completely on researcher’s understanding to generate
the data, the best way is to use different researchers. If different
researchers are using the same research technique that can arrive the same
results, this can help to confirm the reliability. The researchers from
different ethnic groups, ages, gender and class groups can be used to check for
things such as observer and interview bias (Jick, 2006).

Theoretical triangulation

this type of triangulation, the researcher involves the different methodologies,
theories and hypotheses to validate the data and to improve the reliability of
the research. The methodologies of quantitative and qualitative both can be
improvised and different research designs may be involved for validating the
study (Kushner & Morrow, 2003).


is the most widely used type of triangulation the researcher focuses on the flaws of one method
with the assets of another as a means
of improving the reliability and validity of his research. A mixture of methods can give a more rounded
picture of someone’s life and behavior; a researcher could, for example, observe a respondent’s behavior using participant observation and also question them about
why they did something. Alternatively the researcher could compare
the results
from two different methods used on the same people such as a semi-structured interview and a focus
group and if the conclusions drawn are broadly the same this helps
confirm the reliability and validity of the data (Denzin, 2012).

Methodological triangulation can be further more divided
into two types:

1.       Within-method triangulation

2.       Between-method triangulation


to Bryman (2001), the use of varieties of the same kind of method to explore a
research issue. Example of this can be of the researcher using both open and
closed ended questions of the same questionnaire. The general weakness of
questionnaires might involve the researcher to assume that the participant or
respondent is telling the truth. However the researcher could use an
observational approach along to check if the respondent does what he claims to

et al. (1997) examined that perception of expensive drinks to young people by
using two methods which are contrasting to each other i.e focus groups and
structured interviews. The data collected from one method was used to
cross-check and confirm data from the other such as each showing a strong
pattern of age-related differences in attitudes to expensive drinks.


method is also known as contrasting research methods. This can be simply
described as involving a structured interview with some kind of observational

Reasons for Triangulation

Denzin (2012) has proposed four
reasons for undertaking triangulation:

Enriching: The outputs of different
informal and formal instruments add value to each other by explaining different
aspects of a particular issue.

Refuting: Where
one set of options disproves a hypothesis generated by another set of options.

Confirming: Where
one set of options confirms a hypothesis generated by another set of options

Explaining: Where one set of
options sheds light on unexpected findings derived from another set of options.

Usefulness of

provides researchers with several important opportunities. First it
allows researchers to be more confident of their results and this can play many other
constructive roles as well. It can motivate the creation of inventive methods,
new ways of capturing a problem to balance with conventional data collection methods.
This may help to uncover the deviant dimension of a phenomenon.
This may also serve as the critical test, by virtue of its comprehensiveness,
for competing theories. Triangulation minimizes the inadequacies
of single-source research. Two sources complement and verify one
another, which reduces the impact of bias. This provides richer and more comprehensive
information because humans share more truthfully with an independent
third party than they do with someone they know or think they know.
Using several methods together also helps to rule out rival explanations
(Annells, 2006).

Research Bias

The problem with relying on
just one option is to do with bias. There are several types of bias encountered
in research, and triangulation can help with most of them.

Measurement bias

Measurement bias is caused by the way in
which data is collected. Triangulation allows to combine individual and group
research options to help reduce bias such as peer pressure on focus group

Sampling bias

Sampling bias is when all the population is not covered
(omission bias) or only cover some parts because it’s more convenient
(inclusion bias). Triangulation combines the different strengths of these
options to ensure that one is getting sufficient coverage.

Procedural bias

Procedural bias occurs when participants are
put under some kind of pressure to provide information. For example, doing “vox
pop” style interrupt polls might catch the participants unaware and thus affect
their answers. Triangulation allows us to combine short engagements with longer
engagements where participants have more time to give considered responses.


is possible and a good way to reap the benefits of both qualitative and
quantitative methods. The use of ‘triangulation’, however, will depend on the
researcher’s philosophical position. It is not aimed merely at validation but
at deepening and widening one’s understanding. It tends to support
interdisciplinary research rather than restricted within social sciences. In
fact, ‘triangulation’ can, indeed, increase credibility of scientific knowledge
by improving both internal consistency and generalizability through combining
both quantitative and qualitative methods in the same study. However, effective
‘triangulation’ depends on coordination and collaboration; particularly those
who are actively involved in collecting data and response.

Reviewing literature it is
seen that there some importance of triangulations that can be categorized into
the following points (Cohen and Manion 1989).

1.      Triangular
techniques are suitable when a more holistic view is sought in research. Most
research of this kind looks at an achievement or skill outcome rather than the
development of attitudes.

2.       Triangulation has special relevance where a
complex phenomenon requires clarification because of the complementary
philosophies, objectives and practices in the two classes, single method
provides limited value, but the adaptation of multi-method approach would give
very different feature.

3.      It
is appropriate when different methods of learning are to be evaluated and
skills criteria can be found here.

4.      It
is suitable for controversial aspect of research where needed to be evaluated
more fully. Here these could measure and investigate factors such achievement,
teaching methods, practical skills, cultural interests, social skills,
interpersonal skills, community spirit and so on and validity could be then

5.      It
is useful when a recognized approach gives a limited and frequently distorted

6.      It
can be useful technique where a researcher is engaged in case study
particularly examining a complex phenomenon.



Annells, M. (2006). Triangulation of
qualitative approaches: hermeneutical phenomenology and grounded theory. Journal
of advanced nursing, 56(1), 55-61.

Barnes, S. J., & Vidgen, R. T. (2006). Data
triangulation and web quality metrics: A case study in e-government. Information
& Management, 43(6), 767-777.

Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K.
(2004). A guide to teaching practice. Psychology Press.

Creswell, J. W., & Clark, V. L. P. (2007).
Designing and conducting mixed methods research.

Denzin, N. K. (2012). Triangulation 2.0. Journal
of Mixed Methods Research, 6(2), 80-88.

Hughes, J. A., & Sharrock, W. W. (1997).
The philosophy of social research.

Jick, T. D. (2006). Mixing qualitative and
quantitative methods: Triangulation in action. Administrative science
quarterly, 24(4), 602-611.

Kushner, K. E., & Morrow, R. (2003).
Grounded theory, feminist theory, critical theory: Toward theoretical
triangulation. Advances in Nursing Science, 26(1),

Mugenda, O. M. (1999). Research
methods: Quantitative and qualitative approaches. African Centre for
Technology Studies.

Patton, M. Q. (1990). Qualitative
evaluation and research methods. SAGE Publications, inc.

Seedhouse, P. (2005). Conversation analysis as
research methodology. In Applying conversation analysis (pp.
251-266). Palgrave Macmillan UK.