Mixed Methods, Mixed Results? Choosing the Research Design That's Right for You

Tuesday, 19 November 2013: 10:00 AM

Lori I. Kidd, PhD, RN, CNS
School of Nursing, The University of Akron, Akron, OH
Christine Heifner Graor, PhD
College of Nursing, The University of Akron, Akron, OH
Carolyn J. Murrock, RN, PhD
Nursing, University of Akron, Akron, OH

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to identify at least one advantage and one disadvantage of using a mixed methods design in nursing research

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to choose an appropriate design (quantitative, qualitative, or mixed) for sample research questions

Selecting the appropriate design methods for a specific research question is a basic but challenging piece of nursing research.  Methods that are strictly quantitative may fail to capture the full range of the human experience or to allow for subjective interpretation of information.  Methods that are strictly qualitative may fail to yield results that are transferable to other populations  or that are statistically significant.

 In this presentation, the use and advantages/disadvantages of both quantitative and qualitative methodologies will be reviewed.  A recently completed pilot study in which mixed methods were used will be highlighted and used as a case example.  The purpose of the study was to determine the effect of a mindful eating group intervention on the psychosocial variables of mindful eating, self-efficacy,, and depression, and the biomarkers of weight, body mass index and body fat in a sample of obese urban women.   Presentation of quantitative and qualitative results from this study will illustrate pitfalls encountered in using either method exclusively and demonstrate richness of information that may be obtained through a mixed methods approach.

Finally, sample research questions will be proposed in the presentation, and audience members will be asked to select the appropriate design methods.