Reflections on the added value of using mixed methods in the SCAPE study
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Reflections on the added value of using mixed methods in the SCAPE study

Kathy Murphy Professor of nursing, National University of Ireland, Galway
Dympna Casey Senior lecturer in nursing, National University of Ireland, Galway
Declan Devane Professor of nursing and midwifery, National University of Ireland, Galway
Pauline Meskell Lecturer in nursing, National University of Ireland, Galway
Agnes Higgins Professor of mental health, Trinity College Dublin, Republic of Ireland
Naomi Elliot Assistant professor of nursing, Trinity College Dublin, Republic of Ireland
Joan Lalor Associate professor of midwifery, Trinity College Dublin, Republic of Ireland
Cecily Begley Professor of nursing and midwifery, Trinity College Dublin, Republic of Ireland

Aim To reflect on the added value that a mixed method design gave in a large national evaluation study of specialist and advanced practice (SCAPE), and to propose a reporting guide that could help make explicit the added value of mixed methods in other studies.

Background Recently, researchers have focused on how to carry out mixed methods research (MMR) rigorously. The value-added claims for MMR include the capacity to exploit the strengths and compensate for weakness inherent in single designs, generate comprehensive description of phenomena, produce more convincing results for funders or policy-makers and build methodological expertise.

Data sources Data illustrating value added claims were drawn from the SCAPE study.

Review methods Studies about the purpose of mixed methods were identified from a search of literature.

Discussion The authors explain why and how they undertook components of the study, and propose a guideline to facilitate such studies.

Conclusion If MMR is to become the third methodological paradigm, then articulation of what extra benefit MMR adds to a study is essential. The authors conclude that MMR has added value and found the guideline useful as a way of making value claims explicit.

Implications for practice/research The clear articulation of the procedural aspects of mixed-methods research, and identification of a guideline to facilitate such research, will enable researchers to learn more effectively from each other.

Nurse Researcher. 21, 4, 13-19. doi: 10.7748/nr2014.03.21.4.13.e1225

Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 07 February 2013

Accepted: 10 May 2013

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