Quality in Mixed Methods Studies

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    Quality of mixed methods studies is a topic that is gaining increasing interest across the spectrum of mixed methods actors and organisations. More particularly, researchers, peer reviewers, editors and funding bodies are all expected to judge how a ‘good’ mixed method study is. Sergi Fàbregues has a particular interest in the topic of quality of mixed methods studies. In his presentation titled: “Criteria for Quality Assessment for Mixed Methods Studies Across Designs”, Sergi exposed how, in the context of a doctoral dissertation, he intends to tackle this issue using a 3-phase, mixed methods sequential design. Sergi commenced his talk by situating the debates surrounding quality assessment in both the quantitative and qualitative fields. He highlighted that while in the quantitative arena the issue of quality assessment has been resolved some time ago -with the broad acceptance of the validity and reliability criteria- their ‘migration’ to qualitative research prompted alternative criteria to be proposed (re: Lincoln and Guba, 1985). Amongst others, the notions of trustworthiness and confirmability were judged to be more appropriate and scientifically more relevant to assess the quality of qualitative inquiries.
    Sergi went on explaining that in the last years, some empirical works were conducted and have proposed a number of criteria to assess the quality of mixed methods studies. However these initiatives were largely discipline-specific and did not address the issue from an expert, consensual perspective. This is the main rationale driving Sergi to conduct his study: his aim is to propose a typology of criteria that assess the quality of mixed methods studies using expert-consensus method. He will do so by first conducting a systematic review of the criteria that mixed methods researchers use to ascertain the quality of their study. This first phase will generate a list of criteria which will then be proposed, modified, and ranked by a panel of mixed methods researchers through an online Delphi study (the phase 2). The aim of the Delphi study is to come up with a list of complementary criteria perceived as adequate and relevant to assess the quality of mixed methods studies across designs. The third, and last phase, of Sergi’s study will involve an empirical testing of the Delphi criteria onto a sample of mixed methods studies. Criteria’s dimensions of thoroughness, applicability, and comprehensiveness will be of particular interest. Promising piece of research!

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