Quality & Quantity 35: 407–427, 2001.
© 2001 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.
Estimating the Direction of Innovative Change
Based on Theory and Mixed Methods
The Scientiﬁc Communication and Information System as an Example
PETER A. TH. M. GEURTS
Department of Political Science, Faculty of Public Administration, University of Twente, P.O. Box
217, 7500 AE Enschede the Netherlands. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
HANS E. ROOSENDAAL
University of Twente, P.O. Box 217, 7500 AE Enschede, the Netherlands. e-mail:
Abstract. In predicting the direction of innovative change the question arises of the valid meas-
urement of yet unknown variables. We developed and applied a research method that combines
qualitative and quantitative elements in one interview format and an analysis tool suitable for these
data. An important characteristic of the method is the use of a model based on more universal forces
underlying the direct interests in a product of the stakeholders in a system. This allows directed
statements, with a provocative and sometimes a trade-off character, on which the opinion of stake-
holders is asked on a quantitative scale and which are further probed in a standardised qualitative way.
A modiﬁed spider-web model is developed to present the results in an orderly and comprehensive
way. The method is validated on research on the strategic development of the market of scientiﬁc
communication and information as it is presently developing on the Internet.
Key words: internet, mixed methods, qualitative methods, scientiﬁc communication, stakeholder
approach, structural change, strategy research
1. The Need for Mixed Methods in Turbulent Situations
Nowadays, one is more than ever confronted with innovative changes affected by
new technology, for instance, Internet. In the study of changes we generally lack
a sufﬁciently precise theory to estimate the parameters of a future system; indeed,
we cannot estimate whether there will be equilibrium within a certain time-span.
Here we present a speciﬁc research design that consists of a combination of
minimal theory, qualitative and quantitative information collected by means of a
dedicated questionnaire format, and an analytical tool which enables us to produce
broad but sufﬁciently informative parameter estimates of a possibly drastically
changed or innovated future situation.
A dedicated combination of a minimal theory, quantitative, and qualitative in-
formation is of help ﬁlling the gap between on the one hand a strictly quantitative