Neglected Aspects of Triangulation in Nigerian Social and Behavioural Research

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 18:30
Oral Presentation
Oka OBONO, Department of Sociology, University of Ibadan, Nigeria
This paper examines five central aspects of triangulation and observes that only one of these has received adequate attention and development in Nigerian social and behavioural research. These aspects of triangulation are, in order, data collection, analysis, presentation, explanation and reporting. I have represented them in the acronym Data CAPER to describe the logical and chronological sequence in which the generation and use of empirical data moves. As processes, they complement the conventional structural focus on triangulating individual personnel, mixing methodological approaches (whether within or across methods), synthesizing theoretical frameworks, and contextualizing data (in recognition that they reflect the time and place in which they are collected). The failure to apply triangulation to these dimensions has profound implications for the veracity of results, the policy trustworthiness of sociological research findings, and how far such findings capture the comprehensive nature of social phenomena. The paper suggests that the confinement of triangulation to data collection, as is the common practice, raises considerable epistemological doubt because such restriction implies that the other components of the research process do not, or should not, follow the laid down principles, logic and procedures of the mixed-methods approach. A case is made for the application of triangulation to the various phases of research with equal consistency, commitment and rigour, and as the dialectical means of embodying the micro-macro dynamics currently reshaping scholarship in the field practices and epistemologies of contemporary sociology.