Triangulation and its importance in research

Posted by on Sep 16, 2014 in Online Research | 0 comments

Triangulation is the process of validating the results of a study through two or more methods to check its reliability and validity.  Triangulation approach can be applicable for both qualitative and quantitative research studies. There are various triangulation methods based on the techniques and people used. Data Triangulation requires use of space, time and people. Investigator triangulation requires multiple researchers in the same study. Theory triangulation requires use of more than one theoretical scheme to interpret the phenomenon. Methodological triangulation requires various methods of gathering data through interviews, secondary documents, questionnaires and observations.


Denzin (1978) on the other hand has identified two types of methodological triangulation which are ‘within-method’ and ‘between’ or ‘across’ method. The ‘with-in method’ uses one method of triangulation but follows different strategies within it. Between or across method uses two different methods in just one study.

Importance of Triangulation

  • Triangulation confirms and validates the quality results using quantitative studies.
  • By using multiple sources and methods inadequacies in one approach or process can be minimized.
  • More insights can be obtained by using multiple methods.
  • Inconsistencies can be recognized and removed.
  • Increases and strengthens the credibility and validity of the data and leads to stronger research design.

Triangulation can be sometimes time consuming and requires good planning and more organizational resources which might not be available for everyone. In such cases, you can take help from statisticians who have an in depth knowledge regarding this. Then, there can also be problems like investigator biasness, lack of understanding and theoretical framework conflicts. Every method of study or process has its own advantages, disadvantages, benefits and drawbacks. So triangulation approach needs to be done with all the relevant information in hand rather than conducting triangulation just for the sake of doing it. So it is important to be clear as to which form of triangulation method you are using and why you are using only that method.

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