Context Mixed methods research involves the collection, analysis and integration of both qualitative and quantitative data in a single study. The benefits of a mixed methods approach are particularly evident when studying new questions or complex initiatives and interactions, which is often the case in medical education research. Basic guidelines for when to use mixed methods research and how to design a mixed methods study in medical education research are not readily available.
Methods The purpose of this paper is to remedy that situation by providing an overview of mixed methods research, research design models relevant for medical education research, examples of each research design model in medical education research, and basic guidelines for medical education researchers interested in mixed methods research.
Conclusions Mixed methods may prove superior in increasing the integrity and applicability of findings when studying new or complex initiatives and interactions in medical education research. They deserve an increased presence and recognition in medical education research.