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Mixed Methods Research Design and Methods

I have a business that deals with Developmental Disability. Every month I test the residents on their projects. I collect data and see how well they are doing good or bad. Then I get to decided if they did pass what project do they get or what level is next. Now I want they employees to get involved and help decided what they want the residents to learn.

Mixed Methods Research Design and Methods

The third research method to explore is a combination of both qualitative and quantitative research methods. However, combining two different things is more complicated than throwing everything into the same bowl and hoping to get a cake—there is a procedure to selecting the right ingredients and their amounts. The same is true of mixed methods strategies, and the newness of this research design makes it both exciting and challenging. In this Discussion, you will examine some of those challenges, calling upon your growing understanding of both quantitative and qualitative strategies.

To prepare for this Discussion:
• Review Chapter 10 in the course text, Research Design and the "Mixed Methods: Examples" media segment. Based on this information, how would you respond to someone who asks you, "To what extent is mixed methods research simply taking half a quantitative plan and half of a qualitative plan and putting them together?"
• Review the article "On Becoming a Pragmatic Researcher: The Importance of Combining Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methodologies" in the Learning Resources.
• Explore what you believe is or are the biggest challenges for a researcher who wants to use a mixed methods strategy of inquiry.
• Determine which kinds of research questions would be served by a mixed methods strategy of inquiry and explain why.
• Indicate why you believe that more researchers are using a mixed methods strategy of inquiry.
• Describe the extent to which a mixed methods strategy of inquiry is used in your discipline.

RSCH 8100 Transcript: "Mixed Methods: An Example"

Announcer: Dr. Debra Rose Wilson's study provides an excellent example of a mixed-method research design. Note why this is the case as she explains her research question and study.

Dr. Debra Rose Wilson: My background's in health care, and my PhD is in health psychology. And I teach at the school of psychology, as well as in the school of nursing. I'm a nurse as well, so I come into this with a health perspective, looking at research from a holistic perspective but recognizing that if we're examining any phenomena within health that we have to look at it from many angles, that it isn't always just cause and effect. For example, in cardiovascular disease, it isn't just genetics that causes the disease. It's diet. It's whether they have an angry personality. It's how much social support they had. It's even whether they were breastfed or not as an infant. All of those factors contribute to the disease. And from a health care perspective, it's important to look at all those factors.

When you look at quantitative data, that's very valid for health care. We need to know those hard numbers. We need to know the biomarkers or the results of blood tests or the results of EEGs and blood pressure and pulse. Those are all important in health care. But so is the subjective perception of pain, for example. While we can measure blood pressure and pulse during pain and look at the objective science of pain, it's really difficult to express and understand the patient's perspective of pain. That's why it's so important to look at health care from a mixed-methodology approach.

My area of expertise is working with adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. I also had a background in relaxation techniques and complementary alternative therapies. And for me, it made sense to combine the two areas of expertise in my area of research. The research are that I look at, consequently, is mind-body, the influence that our attitudes, our beliefs, our perception of stress has on our biology. And this was important to apply to the population of adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. We didn't really know how adult survivors dealt with stress. We knew that they tended to overreact to stress. They tended to use more denial and inappropriate, maladaptive coping mechanisms when they were stressed. And they tended to perceive more stress in their environment as well. We really didn't know if stress management was effective for this population.

The study I'm talking about is a mixed-method approach to examining the effectiveness of stress management. My study explored the experience of stress management from a holistic perspective. 35 adults survivors of childhood sexual abuse participated in four weeks of stress management training. And so from a holistic perspective, I wanted to gather as much data as possible, both quantitative and qualitative. And I did this from a holistic approach so that I gathered objective data, which are those biomarkers, those hard numbers. And for that, I examined their salivary immunoglobulin A. Saliva was collected from the participants, and we sent it to a lab and looked at how much immunoglobulin A they had in their saliva. Immunoglobulin A is the immunoprotector of our mucous membranes, of our digestive system and our respiratory system, for example. And it was an easy way to get a sample that I didn't have to draw blood and stress them again. Another parameter that I wanted to check was subjective data. How did they interpret their ways of coping? And I used Folkman and Lazarus' Ways of Coping Questionnaire, which is a subjective measure of coping. And I also examined that before and after the intervention, as I did the salivary IgA before and after the four-week intervention of stress management classes.

The third part of my study, I gathered intersubjective data. When doing qualitative interviews, you can't really take the researcher out of the research. There's something that happens between the participant and the researcher that's relevant, and that interview process is intersubjective. So for this study, I gathered objective data, subjective data, and intersubjective data. It's really important, when you're gathering intersubjective data, to recognize that it is intersubjective, that the researcher's bias is involved.

And so when you're doing any kind of qualitative piece of research, you have to recognize what your biases are. I wasn't sexually abused as a child. I had to recognize that I had bias, that I had preassumptions about what it was like to be sexually abused as a child. But I had not experienced it. When I was able to put those ideas down and recognize them as my bias and then set them aside, it was much easier to gather intersubjective data. Another really important point about intersubjective data-- and when you're doing any kind of qualitative interview-- is to be truly present with the person that you're with. True presence means that you're consciously and intentionally setting aside all those running thoughts that are running at the back of your head and focusing on what your participant is saying. Your participant knows when you're in true presence with them. They know that you're focused on them. And you get a better rapport, and you get a better understanding of what their experience is when you're truly focused on what they're saying and what their body is saying as well, that you're being objective in looking at their responses and matching their body language to what they're saying.

So to summarize, the objective data gathered was that salivary immunoglobulin A, a lab test, quantitative data. The subjective data was the Ways of Coping Questionnaire by Folkman and Lazarus, which really examined their interpretation of how they were coping. And, thirdly, the intersubjective data was the interview at the end of the four weeks where you consciously recognized your bias but interviewed them and asked these participants, what was their experience? Which tools worked for them? What were those stress management classes like? The design of this study was that preintervention and postintervention data was collected.

Before the intervention of four weeks of stress management training, I collected the salivary IgA, the objective data; as well as the Ways of Coping Questionnaire, the subjective data, and collected them again postintervention. After the intervention, I also did the qualitative interviews, which set up a pre-/ postintervention design study.

Adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse are a vulnerable, at-risk population. So for the university's review board of human subjects, the IRB, I had to make sure they were protected. Sitting in a room, closing their eyes, doing relaxation therapy with dim lights in a group setting can be frightening for an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse. So I had to make sure there were people there to help them if they had some sort of an adverse reaction to the experience. So for IRB approval, I had therapists in the room with me for all of the classes. And they were in group sessions, but if they needed help afterwards, those therapists, who were trained in working with adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse, would be available to the participants. That way, if anything happened, they could have some follow-up. I was blessed that the experience was positive for all of the survivors and all my participants. As far as results go, what I found first from the objective data, I found that the salivary IgA, immunoglobulin A, improved over the four weeks significantly. Therefore, stress management is effective in improving our immune system. The second thing I found was that the ways of coping improved as well. And this is profound, because I was able to influence the consequences of childhood sexual abuse. The participants were able to heal and transcend some of those consequences or sequelae of childhood sexual abuse.

The third thing I found when I did the qualitative interviews was that they recognized hypervigilance as one of the big problems what they had with stress. Now, hypervigilance is this always aware of the environment, always looking, always expecting something bad to happen. What they also recognized was, they didn't do anything about it. They were just hypervigilant for more. So they weren't using appropriate coping mechanisms.

Another theme that I found that ran throughout the qualitative piece is a somatic detachment. What I mean by that is, because they were so externally focused, they weren't aware of their body's responses to stress. So they were almost detached from their body, which is not surprising, because that was an appropriate coping mechanism when they were abused. That tended to become a common coping mechanism in adulthood, and that wasn't an appropriate mechanism. When they became aware of their somatic detachment and started to do exercises like relaxation, body scans, being aware of different parts of their body, they recognized not only the somatic detachment but were able to heal and focus a little bit more inward.

And the third thing that I recognized is that they all seen themselves on the pathway to healing, that they all identified themselves in different places on the process, but that these stress management tools, they could use these on their pathway to healing. And that gave them some power. So it's important when you do a mixed methodology that you bring those three pieces of data together. It's called triangulation. And for my study, that was easy. They all pointed in the same direction, that stress management was effective for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse from all three parameters. Their immunity improved. Their ways of coping improved. And they had tools from which they could use to heal. One of the important social change implications of this study is that the consequences of childhood sexual abuse can be transcended. That means adult survivors can heal and lead a more whole life.

Solution Preview

I currently work in the field of human services working with the developmentally disabled population. I am interested in learning about the possible benefits of utilizing staff opinions to design projects for the staff. The purpose of this mixed methods research study will be to explore staff perspectives and ideas on projects for the residents at Williams Center in Blueberry, Maryland. I would like to use a mixed methods design because....

Another example would be the following (please do not use this information directly because it has been turned in to turnitin in Walden University.

Research Design
The purpose of this sequential mixed methods study will be to explore teacher perspectives and experiences of the newly implemented Virginia teacher evaluation system. In order to answer the research questions posed, I will implement a mixed method sequential case study research design. Research in the field of education can be very complex and a comprehensive research approach that includes both quantitative and qualitative data may yield the most useful information (Creswell, 2009).
Specifically, the quantitative research will be based on a qusi-experimental research design and will be conducted first. Research in the educational environments must not disrupt the learning environment and therefore intact groups will be utilized (Creswell, 2012). Thus, the population will include all willing teachers that participated in the teacher evaluations system at Lake Braddock Secondary ...

Solution Summary

The mixed methods research designs and methods are analyzed.