IV. Triangulation in research

CPB Self-Study Module
Step 4: Collect audience information relevant to the environmental practice and specific behaviors


A. Introduction: What are social assessment tools and what can they do for natural resource professionals?


Triangulation in research

Triangulation is the application and combination of several research methodologies in the study of the same phenomenon.

  • It can be employed in both quantitative (validation) and qualitative (inquiry) studies.
  • It is a method-appropriate strategy of verifying the credibility of qualitative analyses.
  • It becomes an alternative to “traditional criteria like reliability and validity.”
  • It is the preferred technique in the social sciences.

By combining multiple observers, theories, methods, and empirical materials, researchers can hope to overcome the weakness or intrinsic biases and the problems that come from single method, single-observer, and single-theory studies.

There are four basic types of triangulation:

  1. Data triangulation, involving time, space, and persons;
  2. Investigator triangulation, which consist of the use of multiple, rather than single observers;
  3. Theory triangulation, which consists of using more than one theoretical scheme in the interpretation of the phenomenon; and
  4. Methodological triangulation, which involves using more than one method and may consist of within-method or between-method strategies.

In multiple triangulation, the researcher combines in one investigation: multiple observers, theoretical perspectives, sources of data, and methodologies.



This section is adapted from State University of New York Institute of Technology, TEL 598, Research Methods