Date of this Version
Ann Fam Med 2004;2:7-12. DOI: 10.1370/afm.104.
BACKGROUND Mixed methods or multimethod research holds potential for rigorous, methodologically sound investigations in primary care. The objective of this study was to use criteria from the literature to evaluate 5 mixed methods studies in primary care and to advance 3 models useful for designing such investigations.
METHODS We first identified criteria from the social and behavioral sciences to analyze mixed methods studies in primary care research. We then used the criteria to evaluate 5 mixed methods investigations published in primary care research journals.
RESULTS Of the 5 studies analyzed, 3 included a rationale for mixing based on the need to develop a quantitative instrument from qualitative data or to converge information to best understand the research topic. Quantitative data collection involved structured interviews, observational checklists, and chart audits that were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistical procedures. Qualitative data consisted of semistructured interviews and fi eld observations that were analyzed using coding to develop themes and categories. The studies showed diverse forms of priority: equal priority, qualitative priority, and quantitative priority. Data collection involved quantitative and qualitative data gathered both concurrently and sequentially. The integration of the quantitative and qualitative data in these studies occurred between data analysis from one phase and data collection from a subsequent phase, while analyzing the data, and when reporting the results.
DISCUSSION We recommend instrument-building, triangulation, and data transformation models for mixed methods designs as useful frameworks to add rigor to investigations in primary care. We also discuss the limitations of our study and the need for future research.