Demystifying mixed methods research: Participation in a reading group 'sign posts' the way
Greenwood, MD and Terry, KJ, Demystifying mixed methods research: Participation in a reading group 'sign posts' the way, International Journal of Multiple Research Approaches, 6, (2) pp. 98-108. ISSN 1834-0806 (2012) [Refereed Article]
Designing and implementing a mixed methods research project is a challenging undertaking. This paper addresses the issues faced by a group of doctoral researchers from the field of nursing. A reading group was formed between four PhD candidates and two supervisors to help assimilate issues that make up the controversy around mixed methods and to understand choices regarding paradigm, methodology, design and methods. Self-supporting learning through a reading group promotes independent scholarly development through a process of active engagement, interaction and reciprocity. Learning was both emergent and opportunistic to promote a sustained and structured engagement with the literature and contributed to the quality of the research experience. This paper focusses on five major challenges faced in relation to understanding, applying and the analysis of mixed methodologies. The decisions and deliberations are outlined regarding adopting and defending a mixed methods design, understanding the meaning of paradigm and its implication for the research study, identifying stages of mixing or integration in the individual projects, examining issues that threatened rigour and exploring and developing skills in 'writing up' a mixed methods project. The complexities and impediments of applying mixed methodology can in part be resolved by rigorous discussion within the confines of a supportive reading group. This paper describes the process of forming the group, evaluating progress and provides 'sign posts' for others. Through critically examining philosophical assumptions and various research designs in a reflexive supportive environment their research position has been strengthened.
mixed methods, research design, paradigms, integration, reading groups