Portions of this manuscript were presented at the International Mixed Methods Conference in July 2010 in Baltimore, MD.
Methodological Reporting in Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Health Services Research Articles
Article first published online: 8 NOV 2011
© Health Research and Educational Trust
Health Services Research
Volume 47, Issue 2, pages 721–745, April 2012
How to Cite
Wisdom, J. P., Cavaleri, M. A., Onwuegbuzie, A. J. and Green, C. A. (2012), Methodological Reporting in Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Health Services Research Articles. Health Services Research, 47: 721–745. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-6773.2011.01344.x
- Issue published online: 8 MAR 2012
- Article first published online: 8 NOV 2011
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. Grant Number: K23 DA020487
- Health services;
- research methodology;
- mixed methods;
- qualitative methods
Methodologically sound mixed methods research can improve our understanding of health services by providing a more comprehensive picture of health services than either method can alone. This study describes the frequency of mixed methods in published health services research and compares the presence of methodological components indicative of rigorous approaches across mixed methods, qualitative, and quantitative articles.
All empirical articles (n = 1,651) published between 2003 and 2007 from four top-ranked health services journals.
All mixed methods articles (n = 47) and random samples of qualitative and quantitative articles were evaluated to identify reporting of key components indicating rigor for each method, based on accepted standards for evaluating the quality of research reports (e.g., use of p-values in quantitative reports, description of context in qualitative reports, and integration in mixed method reports). We used chi-square tests to evaluate differences between article types for each component.
Mixed methods articles comprised 2.85 percent (n = 47) of empirical articles, quantitative articles 90.98 percent (n = 1,502), and qualitative articles 6.18 percent (n = 102). There was a statistically significant difference (χ2(1) = 12.20, p = .0005, Cramer's V = 0.09, odds ratio = 1.49 [95% confidence interval = 1,27, 1.74]) in the proportion of quantitative methodological components present in mixed methods compared to quantitative papers (21.94 versus 47.07 percent, respectively) but no statistically significant difference (χ2(1) = 0.02, p = .89, Cramer's V = 0.01) in the proportion of qualitative methodological components in mixed methods compared to qualitative papers (21.34 versus 25.47 percent, respectively).
Few published health services research articles use mixed methods. The frequency of key methodological components is variable. Suggestions are provided to increase the transparency of mixed methods studies and the presence of key methodological components in published reports.