3 years ago

Utilizing a Mixed Methods Approach for Conducting Interventional Evaluations

Michael D. Fetters, José F. Molina-Azorin
In this editorial, we take the position that in the educational, health, and social sciences, the modus operandi for conducting interventional studies should be using a mixed methods approach. That is, in absence of a compelling reason for not doing so, the default expectation for conducting interventional studies should be a combination of qualitative and quantitative components as an integrated mixed methods interventional evaluation. In our use of the term interventional study, we include both randomized studies, for example, randomized clinical trials from the clinical setting and the broader term randomized controlled trials as the more widely applicable term, as well as various quasi-experimental designs, for example, observational or correlation studies that are used for outcome measurement. In our view, when qualitative research is added into an interventional study, the project becomes a mixed methods research study because qualitative findings and quantitative intervention results are being integrated. O'Cathain and other experts in this area have chosen the language of mixed methods interventional evaluations to recognize as equally valued contributions of quantitative and qualitative approaches in evaluation of complex interventions (O'Cathain, 2018, p. 17; Drabble & O'Cathain, 2015). In the interest of maximizing the information gained from a broad portfolio of randomized controlled trials and quasi-experimental projects, we argue that the default mode for funding organizations should be an expectation for researchers to submit proposals as mixed methods interventional evaluations, and provided the proposal is rigorously developed, for research sponsors to preferentially fund proposals using a mixed methods interventional approach. Researchers submitting interventions for funding not using a mixed methods approach should justify why the research is not being proposed as a mixed methods study. In the following, we lay out the rationale for this position.
Open access
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