This paper starts by characterizing conventional notions of quantitative ‘versus’ qualitative research and considers their potential displacement by ‘mixed-methods’ research. The claim that mixed-methods research is necessarily an advance on its predecessors is critiqued. Using a critical realist approach favouring retroductive and abductive rather than inductive and deductive research strategies, it is suggested that the theoretical dimension implicit in all research is too often neglected. It is further contended that ‘making a case’ empirically amounts to much the same things as ‘making a case’ theoretically. More ‘metareflection’ is commended. Brief references is made to the literature on health inequalities to add some flesh to the bones of the argument.
Keywords: Mixed methods, realism, retroduction, abduction, ‘making a case’, health inequalities research.