Take the quiz to test your understanding of the key concepts covered in the chapter. Try testing yourself before you read the chapter to see where your strengths and weaknesses are, then test yourself again once you’ve read the chapter to see how well you’ve understood.
1. Give a definition of a mixed methods study.
A study that involves both qualitative and quantitative methods in one study.
2. Explain the similarities and differences between the following models of mixed methods research; parallel, sequential and concurrent.
In the parallel model qualitative and quantitative components are carried out at the same time but the findings are not synthesised until both sets of data have been analysed separately. In the sequential model qualitative and quantitative elements are undertaken separately and one leads to and informs the other. In the embedded model one component (qualitative or quantitative) is embedded within the other component. The embedded component is intentionally secondary to the component into which it is nested.
3. List eight advantages of using the mixed methods approach in nursing and midwifery research.
- Enables researchers to explore different perspectives in one study
- Enables researchers to explore different aspects of complex phenomena in one study
- Facilitates an holistic approach to investigating phenomena
- Avoids the researcher being forced to take either a qualitative or quantitative approach
- Draws on the strengths of both qualitative and quantitative research
- Reduces the impact of any weaknesses associated with either qualitative or quantitative approaches
- Is particularly suited to interdisciplinary research, especially if the different disciplines involved in the study have a stronger affinity with one paradigm
- Facilitates collaborative working
- Offers a more practical approach to research
- May reveal new knowledge in one part of the study which can be further explored in subsequent parts of the same study
- Provides a greater depth and breadth of understanding and insight about phenomena and thereby enhances the evidence base
- Is cost effective by including a range of approaches in one study rather than each element being undertaken as a separate piece of research
- Increasingly meets the needs of policy makers, service providers and funding bodies through the provision of comprehensive findings within one study.
4. List five potential drawbacks or limitations of using the mixed methods approach in nursing and midwifery research:
- The inherent differences between quantitative and qualitative research are such that they can be challenging to mix
- There is the risk that one philosophical standpoint dominates the other
- May lead to power struggles within the research team
- The qualitative elements may be valued more highly that the quantitative elements or vice versa
- The researcher or research team may not be sufficiently experienced to ensure both the quantitative and qualitative elements are carried out appropriately
- A mixed methods study could be more time consuming and therefore also more costly
- May lead to fragmented research which lacks a clear focus
- Synthesising qualitative and quantitative findings can be complex and may involve large amounts of data. The essence of all of the data may be lost.