Approaches to Writing a Mixed Methods Research Study - From Mixed-Methods Research to a Journal Article - Conference Proposals and Article Types

Writing for Publication: Transitions and Tools that Support Scholars’ Success - Mary Renck Jalongo, Olivia N. Saracho 2016

Approaches to Writing a Mixed Methods Research Study
From Mixed-Methods Research to a Journal Article
Conference Proposals and Article Types

If you elect to use mixed methods research, you will need to have a high tolerance for making complex decisions because a single, universally acceptable format for writing mixed methods research studies does not exist. The report can be written in multiple ways. Researchers write their study in a way that appropriately and effectively communicates their study to the intended audience. Essentially, “authors from a number of disciplines . . . consider how to present their work through a variety of forms and by choosing carefully the rhetorical devices that best elicit their intended meaning” (Ely, Vinz, Downing, & Anzul 1997, p. 55) such as narratives (e.g., vignettes, anecdotes), layered stories, pastiche (concurrently indicating several points of view), APA format, and others. The onus of responsibility is on the writer to persuade readers of the merits of the study (Sandelowski, 2003). A mixed methods research paper needs to include complete information about the study help researchers understand the procedures and results (Gliner, Morgan, & Leech 2009). However, researchers first need to understand the mixed methods research paradigm.

Activity 9.1: Mixed Methods Research by Chronology

Think about a study you are considering or have conducted. Different mixed methods studies employ quantitative and qualitative approaches at different junctures in the research. For example, a researcher might being by conducting exploratory interviews and, from those data, design a survey (qual first, then quan). Conversely, a researcher might analyze a large data set and then conduct focus group interviews to delve deeper into underlying reasons for responses (quan first, then qual). Or, a researcher may collect data concurrently, for instance, scoring a professional’s treatment plans for clients, observing them in a clinical setting, and interviewing both the clinicians and clients (quan and qual together). Which approach best suits the research questions that you have in mind?

The uniqueness of mixed methods research studies consists of the purpose of combining methods, establishing a priority for each methodology within a study, and the sequence in which each methodology is used including complementarity, confirmation, and development (O’Cathain, Murphy, & Nicholl 2008).

Before designing a study, researchers should carefully consider the “best” way to write their report to include all the necessary information within the context of the study. They need to use an approach that is creative and informative to maintain the readers’ interest and help them understand the study. The following sections describe one approach, but hopefully researchers will create their own approach and presentation style that best fit their mixed methods research studies and intended audiences (Leech, 2012).

Activity 9.2: Key Elements in a Mixed Methods Study

Using the basic components of mixed methods research in Table 9.3 as a guide, draft sections of a mixed methods research report. Use them as “building blocks” for a research article later on. If you have already begun a mixed methods paper, use these criteria to evaluate what you have written. Was there anything that you overlooked?

Table 9.3

Key components of a mixed methods research manuscript

Although researchers need to consider the best way of presenting a mixed methods study they will, at least, need to:

1. State the research question(s), both quantitative and qualitative

2. Assess the appropriateness of using mixed methods research, given the purposes of the study

3. Choose a specific mixed methods research design and supply the rationale for that choice

4. Gather both quantitative and qualitative data

5. Analyze the quantitative data with the appropriate statistical test and analyze the qualitative data using the most suitable qualitative analysis

6. Interpret the data from a quantitative, qualitative, and blended perspective

7. Legitimize the data by demonstrating how it simultaneously meets quantitative and qualitative criteria for quality

8. Make conclusions that emanate from the insights afforded by the mixed method approach

Based on Johnson & Onwuegbuzie (2004)