Aim and objective: Describe the basics of the mixed-method type of research.
Background: Traditionally, the research has been quantitative in nature which provided measures for the parameter of interest. This was followed by the era of qualitative research which helped in a detailed understanding of a phenomenon. This is especially important in healthcare research as it also gives an account of the individual interaction with their environment which is a significant contributor to health. Around the 1970s, the concept of combining both these approaches was used in social sciences. Recently, this mixed-method approach was integrated into health research and educators. However, there has been a continuing debate on the basic nature of this research design. Thus, a complete understanding of this type of research is important.
Review results: Various authors described various purposes of the mixed-method approach. The main ones being triangulation, complementarity, development, initiation, and expansion. Theoretical drives, timings, and point of integration are the three factors that need to be considered for the development of studies using this design. Throughout times, different classifications for mixed-method studies have evolved, however, the most accepted one, based on the utility and internal consistency is the classification by Creswell and Clarke. They describe four major designs for mixed-method research as triangulation design, embedded design, explanatory design, and exploratory design. The application, principle, variants, strengths, challenges, and examples of each have been described extensively in this article.
Conclusion and clinical significance: Mixed-method approach is a valuable research type as it capitalizes on the strength of both qualitative and quantitative research. It is of significance in health research as it gives a broader range of perspectives to the complex phenomena studied. Thus, proper knowledge of the basics is required to accurately combine and interpret findings of the qualitative and quantitative aspects. This article is a contribution to this basic understanding of mixed-method research.
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