Focus on Research Methods
Theory building through mixed-method evaluation of a dementia special care unit†
Article first published online: 7 NOV 2002
Copyright © 2002 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Research in Nursing & Health
Volume 25, Issue 6, pages 479–488, December 2002
How to Cite
Morgan, D. G. and Stewart, N. J. (2002), Theory building through mixed-method evaluation of a dementia special care unit. Res. Nurs. Health, 25: 479–488. doi: 10.1002/nur.10059
The authors would like to thank the Alzheimer Society of Canada for its support of this research. Both authors have investigator support from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
- Issue published online: 7 NOV 2002
- Article first published online: 7 NOV 2002
- Manuscript Accepted: 18 SEP 2002
- Manuscript Received: 18 DEC 1999
- mixed methods;
- special care unit;
- qualitative and quantitative research
The purpose of this article is to describe how the use of quantitative (quasi-experimental) and qualitative (grounded-theory) methods in an evaluation of new dementia special care units led to a better understanding of how the nursing home environment affects residents with dementia, which in turn helped to advance theory development in person–environment interaction. The environmental intervention involved changes in social density (size of resident group), spatial density (space per person), and privacy. A second aim of the article is to illustrate that applied research cannot be perfectly preplanned; rather, it is a process that involves ongoing decisions and management of unexpected events. We describe the sequence of key methodological decisions made during the planning, implementation, and integration phases of the study, which was conducted over a 21-month period. Results of this study highlight the benefits of mixed-method designs for evaluation research. © 2002 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Res Nurs Health 25:479–488, 2002.