Methodological Triangulation and Youth Information Centres in Jamaica

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Jimmy Kazaara Tindigarukayo


The term triangulation derives from scientific surveying, where it refers to the use of a series of triangles to map out a given area. However, since the 1960s, especially with the publication of the celebrated work by Webb and his colleagues (1966), the concept of triangulation has been seized upon by social scientists as a multi-method research technique in which both qualitative and quantitative research methods are combined to provide more comprehensive findings than would be possible through the use of a single method (Morse 1991).

Within the context of social and behavioural research, methodological triangulation has been defined as the utilization of multiple data collection techniques to investigate a research question and or issue (Jick 1983: 138; Knafl and Breitmayer 1989: 234-235). Thus defined, methodological triangulation has been regarded as a useful tool in enhancing confidence in research findings (Smith 1975).

Denzin (1970) has distinguished two types of methodological triangulation in the social sciences: "within-method triangulation", which involves the use of varieties of the same method to investigate a research issue and "between method triangulation", which involves the use of different (sometimes even contrasting) research methods. In this study on evaluation of Youth Information Centres in Jamaica, the emphasis was mainly on "between-method triangulation", whereby a structured social survey was supplemented by other methods of data collection, including: secondary data collection, focus group discussions, elite interviews and observation.

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