Using mixed methods when researching communities
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Using mixed methods when researching communities

Bertha MN Ochieng Principal lecturer, Department of Clinical Education and Leadership, University of Bedfordshire, Luton, UK
Danny Meetoo Lecturer, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work, University of Salford, Greater Manchester, UK

Aim To argue for the use of mixed methods when researching communities.

Background Although research involving minority communities is now advanced, not enough effort has been made to formulate methodological linkages between qualitative and quantitative methods in most studies. For instance, the quantitative approaches used by epidemiologists and others in examining the wellbeing of communities are usually empirical. While the rationale for this is sound, quantitative findings can be expanded with data from in-depth qualitative approaches, such as interviews or observations, which are likely to provide insights into the experiences of people in those communities and their relationships with their wellbeing.

Data sources Academic databases including The Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, CINAHL, AMED, INTERNURSE, Science Direct, Web of Knowledge and PubMed.

Review methods An iterative process of identifying eligible literature was carried out by comprehensively searching electronic databases.

Discussion Using mixed-methods approaches is likely to address any potential drawbacks of individual methods by exploiting the strengths of each at the various stages of research. Combining methods can provide additional ways of looking at a complex problem and improve the understanding of a community’s experiences. However, it is important for researchers to use the different methods interactively during their research.

Conclusion The use of qualitative and quantitative methods is likely to enrich our understanding of the interrelationship between wellbeing and the experiences of communities. This should help researchers to explore socio-cultural factors and experiences of health and healthcare practice more effectively.

Nurse Researcher. 23, 1, 16-19. doi: 10.7748/nr.23.1.16.e1323

Correspondence

bertha.ochieng@beds.ac.uk

Peer review

This article has been subject to double-blind review and checked using antiplagiarism software

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 29 May 2014

Accepted: 08 August 2014

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