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The Benefits of Triangulation

Triangulation is the use of a variety research methods to obtain data and analyze a phenomenon (Bekhet & Zausznniewski, 2011). Furthermore, there are several methods of triangulation involving a combination of different methods, data, investigators or theories (Williamson, 2005). There are many benefits of triangulation when are used in research. One such benefit is that it allows the researcher to validate and supplement the study results. For instance, quantitative data obtained through a prospective study can be used to confirm the findings derived from focus group discussions. The two different research methods complement each other such that the limitations of one are transcended by the other (Polit & Beck, 2012). This leads to the formation of interpretations and conclusions that are based on a wider range of data which fosters a broader understanding of the phenomenon being studied.  The overall outcome is increased validity. Since conclusions are based on different types of data which support each another, the likelihood that research results are valid increases. 

One study which used several methods of triangulation was the phenomenological research on bereavement among parents of dying children conducted by Briller et al. (2008). Methodological triangulation was achieved through the use of individual interviews and focus groups for data collection in the study. Data triangulation was accomplished when the researchers used information obtained not only from the bereaved parents but also from the chaplains assisting the family (Briller et al., 2008). Physicians, chaplains, nurses and medical anthropologists all contributed to data interpretation and reflect investigator triangulation. The result was an in-depth and comprehensive account of the lived experiences of parents experiencing bereavement from the loss of a child. Moreover, the high quality results of the study would not have been attained if triangulation was not used.

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