Mixed methods research: A pragmatic and challenging approach to health research

Mixed-methods approaches are gaining momentum in health research, and it is generally agreed that this is a positive development. Different methods of data generation and analysis provide information about diverse aspects of the subject of study, and by mixing methods it is possible to obtain a more ‘complete’ picture. Research studies also rarely focus on a single question but generate a series of complementary questions or secondary objectives, which need to be answered by collecting different forms of data using multiple methods.

Mixed-methods research is an emerging multi-disciplinary field with its’ own intrinsic challenges. One fundamental challenge is finding ways to integrate, not only the findings from different methods, but also the theoretical perspectives of different research approaches.

In response to the challenges associated with integrating qualitative and quantitative data, The Global Health Network set up a group dedicated to supporting mixed-methods researchers. Within this group we will be uploading presentations and publications that target issues faced by mixed-methods researchers. Many of the presentations have been kindly shared with us by the University of Oxford mixed-methods seminar series. Please feel free to add your comments and join in discussions.

This page will be updated periodically to include new information, so please check back regularly. Also, you can join the discussion about issues relating to mixed methods research at our mixed methods research online forum. Use this group to, for example, introduce yourself, as well as to initiate and take part in online discussions about mixed methods research.

1. Mixed Methods Research: Past, Present and Future

A seminar presentation by Manisha Nair, Epidemiologist/Health Services Researcher at the the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford

This talk is an overview of the past, present and future of mixed-methods research. The objectives are to reflect upon the emergence and increased implementation of mixed methods research over the past decades, consider and debate the rationale for mixed methods approaches in health research including inherent advantages and disadvantages. The presentation collates the various frameworks of mixed-methods research design and sampling methodology available in literature, which can be used by researchers to plan their study. It discusses the challenges in mixed-methods research and enlists the points for good reporting. The talk also aims to generate a discussion on the possible future of mixed-methods research underpinned by the notion that "mixed-methods is still evolving and the debate about what constitutes mixed-methods research should be left open".  

Additional resources relating to this seminar to follow.


2. Integrating Data in Mixed Methods Research

A seminar presenation by Dr Cheryl Hunter, a Research Officer in the Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford.

This talk addresses the challenges and methods for integrating qualitative and quantitative data in health research projects, looking at a couple of key examples from the literature.

Additional resources relating to this seminar to follow. 


3. A mixed-methods study: CAPRISA 058 enhanced adherence support programme for HAART in Durban South Africa

A seminar presenation by Dr Francois van Loggerenberg, Scientific Lead on The Global Health Network, which outlines his experiences from a mixed-methods trial in Durban, South Africa. He outlines the methods, results and challenges.



4. Perceptions and Utilisation of the Antimalarials Artemether-lumefantrine and Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine in the Chikhwawa District of Malawi: a Mixed Methods Study

Victoria Ewing is postdoctoral researcher on The Global Health Network. During this seminar she presents a mixed-methods study conducted in the Chikhwawa district of Malawi. This study was supported by the ACT Consortium and describes factors influencing utilisation of the Artemisinin-based Combination Therapies artemether-lumefantrine and dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine.