Anyone with experience in Mixed Methods??

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    Devdeep Ahuja


    I am currently designing a study using mixed methods design as a part of my PhD and would be great to discuss it with someone who has some experience of using mixed methods either as a primary research method or as a method of mixed studies review.

    Dr. Quah ChengSim

    Dear Devdeep,

    Using both qualitative and quantitative approaches to gather, interpret and report your data in a single study allows you to incorporate the strengths of each approach in order to provide you a more comprehensive phenomena being studied. Mixed method designs can vary considerably, depending on the weight given to each approach and when each method is used. It is common to use the method sequentially.

    Theoretically, there are three types of mixed method designs :

    1.     explanatory design
    2.     exploratory design
    3.     triangulation design

    In an explanatory design, quantitative data are collected first, followed by a second phase of qualitative data depending on results  to elucidate and elaborate on the quantitative findings. Normally, the qualitative phase was used to augment the statistical data to provide explanations for the quantitative data.

    Whereas, in an exploratory design, a qualitative data are gather first, followed by a quantitative phase. The purpose of this kind of study is typically to use the initial, qualitative phase with a few individual to identify themes, ideas, perspectives, and beliefs that can then be used to design the larger scale quantitative part of a study. 

    The third kind of mixed method study is triangulations. In this design, both qualitative and quantitative data are collected at concurrently to offset the weaknesses of the other method so that together they provided a more comprehensive and complete set of data. To the extent that the results from each method converge and indicate the same result, there is a ‘triangulation” and greater credibility in the findings.

    According to Creswell (2002), there are 7 steps in conducting a mixed method study.

    1. Determined the feasibility of doing a mixed-method study.
    2. Determine the rationale  why a mixed method study is desirable or needed.
    3. Determine a data collection strategy and design by identifying the extent to which each of the two methods will be used, whether priority will be given to one, and whether one kind of data needs to be gather before the other one ( explanatory or exploratory design), or whether both will be gathered at the same time (triangulation design).
    4. Determined research questions.
    5. Collect data by depending on sequencing decisions on  both quantitative and qualitative design.
    6. Analyse the data by depending on the type of design. Data may be analysed separately for explanatory and exploratory designs or together for triangulation designs.
    7. Write the report and the nature of the report will also depending on the type of mixed method design.

    I hope those information can assist you in doing your mix method research.



    Quah ChengSim

    Devdeep Ahuja

    Dear Dr ChengSim,

    It is great to hear from you,

    Thanks for your detailed explanation. I am planning to use an exploratory, sequential QUAL to QUANT design with equal emphasis on both methods to identify the barriers and facilitators to treatment adherence. In addition, as a part of my literature review, I plan to do a mixed methods systematic review to explore the research already undertaken on the topic. For that, I am planning to use individual multivariate analysis and meta-ethnography for quant and qual stidies respectrively. Then do a third cross study synthesis to combine the findings of meta analysis and meta ethnography. The findings of the systematic review will inform the content of qualitative interveiews and focus groups which will then inform a larger observational cohort study to complete the findings. The results of three phases will then be combined to develop a conceptual framework for treatment adherence.


    Kindly opine on my proposed methods plan.






    Dr. Quah ChengSim

    Dear Devdeep,


    If I am not mistaken, your main objective of your study is to identify the barriers and facilitators to treatment adherence.  Practically, when you synthesize the wealth material of your literature review to identify your research problems, you need to ensure that whether the study you want to conduct is feasible based on your research questions and research hypothesis (if you have any). Therefore, I need to know how big is your sample/participant involve in your research; the core issues (problem statement)  of your research, your research questions why you need to use multivariate analysis and meta-ethnography and etc. At times, a major research seems to be an ambitious study, however, it would be out of reach of most students.




    Quah ChengSim

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