Recent evidence in the published literature confirms that mixed methods can be effectively used in various health-related research settings, ranging from the clinical to the social context of everyday activities and relationships.3,4 This approach helps to adequately address public health issues, including environmental and behavioural factors that cause health disparity in populations, poor access or adherence to medical care, and lack of translational health research.5-7 A growing acceptance of qualitative and social science research, the formation of interdisciplinary research teams, and multilevel approaches to study complex health problems have enhanced interest in mixed methods research.8 In addition, the increasing methodological sophistication of mixed methods research in the social and behavioural sciences has contributed to this interest.9 Researchers use research approaches such as in-depth interviews, field observations, and patient records to understand individual experiences, participant involvement in interventions, treatment barriers and facilitators. These approaches are often combined with clinical research, attitude and belief surveys, and epidemiological measurements to understand health problems.10 On the whole, mixed methods provide multiple perspectives to enhance and enrich the meaning of phenomena.
There are several reasons for using a mixed-methods design: expansion, complementarity, development, completeness, compensation, corroboration/confirmation, and diversity (Figure 5.1).11
- Expansion of the study: This implies that a mixed methods research approach enables researchers to broaden their investigation with adequate depth and breadth.
- Complimentary methods: Combining two methods will produce a holistic picture that allows for complementary or divergent views.
- Development: using the implications of one method to construct questions for another technique or using one method to propose hypotheses to be tested in a subsequent method.
- Triangulation: refers to the corroboration, convergence and confirmation of findings from the different methods
- Initiation: entails obtaining divergent or contradictory perspectives on the same concept or phenomenon using different methods leading to new views on frameworks.