We present a perspective on combining research methods in policy and governance which starts from an understanding of governance as the result of a double bricolage: an organizational or institutional bricolage, and a bricolage of knowledges and associated methods. We develop a typology of common ways to combine methods in governance, distinguishing between nesting, framing, mixing, specifying, and specializing, where not all methods can be combined at all times and sometimes different modes of combining methods can coexist. We reflect on the possibilities and limits of combination and give the concepts of boundaries and couplings central place in this reflection. The perspective clarifies the attractiveness of integrated systems of quantitative methods purporting to enable simulation and steering, while highlighting a new set of risks and boundaries for such approaches.
- Research methods