McDowell et al. (2012) used a mixed methods approach in their study of people with Type 2 diabetes. The researchers found that such approach “derived rich data and findings” and they concluded that “the mixed methods research is appropriate for evaluation study in primary care” (Abstract). Their study benefitted from this approach because they were able to combine the reach provided by quantitative methods and the depth given by the qualitative approach. Although, mixed methods is not mere combining of the two approaches. There needs to be a careful planning at the start of the research of where the specific methods would come in so that the research question would be better addressed (Halcomb, Andrew & Brannen, 2009).
In the methodology section of the paper, McDowell et al. mention that they made use of both survey questionnaires and focus group interviews. The topics for the surveys are health status and working practices. For the focus group the topic is patient satisfaction. Since both health status and working practices cover a wide range of sub-topics, the use of surveys is highly appropriate. There is also a substantial amount of information in the literature that can be used as basis in the formulation of closed-ended questions for the questionnaire. The survey method makes it possible to reach more respondents. The analysis of the data can also be completed using statistical software even if the number of respondents reaches thousands. In the case of the patient satisfaction, the researchers would be looking for new information, not just validating existing known data or counting how true such data is for a certain group of people. Thus, the focus-group method is appropriate because it adds the needed depth of information for the research. Since primary health care means addressing the needs of individuals, the focus group results provide information that is based on the experiences of specific individuals.
The researchers have noted that the mixed methods approach “has illuminated issues that would not have been identified if a single approach had been adopted” (p19). This article has shown that using specific methods from both quantitative and qualitative approaches benefits the research because these methods contribute to a holistic view of the research problem. The results of the mixed methods research provide the reader with a more comprehensive picture of the topic being studied.
Halcomb, E.J., Andrew, S.& Brannen, J. (2009 ). Introduction to Mixed Method Research for Nursing and the Health Sciences. In s. Andrew & E.J. Halcomb (eds.) Mixed Methods Research for Nursing and the Health Sciences.West Sussex, UK: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Mcdowell, J., Inverarity, K., O'dwyer, L., & Lindsay, G. (2012). An evaluation study using a mixed methods approach: Diabetes service redesign. International Journal Of Multiple Research Approaches, 6(1), 10-22.