This paper reflects on the achievements of triangulation but also on its inconsistencies and contradictions. It suggests that mixed methods can be confusing. Good triangulation should involve intensive reflection on a variety of materials and analyses, as well as a necessary complexity of questions and results.This implies a tolerant overlap between single-method and mixed-methods approaches. The paper illustrates these points by discussing an early example of mixed-methods research, a large project – Understanding of Textbooks, Use of Syllabuses and Processes of Reflection in History Lessons – carried out by the author in 2002. The aim of this study was to evaluate history textbooks and the ways in which historical sources and narratives were presented and used. It involved both a closed format, which produced quantitative data – a questionnaire, used to collect data on participants' knowledge, attitudes, emotions, and competences – and qualitative data collected from a subgroup of participants, who wrote short essays related to sections of the questionnaire. Some were interviewed after completing the questionnaire ('stimulated recall'). In this way, a type of two-step triangulation study emerged involving micro- and macro-analysis. The paper reflects on positive aspects of the study and also on its weakness. Participants' responses showed almost no correlation between their definition of the ideal textbook, which would deal with controversial issues, and the ways in which they used textbooks, with no recognition of the ambiguity.