Future challenges for mixed methods research in nursing and the health sciences
Nursing and health science researchers have, increasingly, embraced mixed methods to guide their exploration of the complex phenomena that influence human health. The mixed methods approach offers a flexibility and depth of insight that is not possible to achieve thr~ugh the use of either qualitative or quantitative methods alone. DespIte a growth in popularity, it is clear to us that using mix~d. methods approaches in themselves does not me~n that the research IS mhere~tly good. High quality application of the mIxed methods approach re~U1res consideration of the theoretical underpinnings and careful plannmg of data collection methods and analysis techniques. Like its qualitative and quantitative counterparts, the mixed methods a.pproa~h can ~e of variable quality and rigour. In order to maintain the mtegnty of mlx~d methods as a research approach it is vital that researchers engage m scholarly debate within the literature not only regarding phi~osop~ical issues, but also practical considerations, to guide tho~e usmg ~1~ed methods in their research. This text has sought to do thIs by provldmg a combination of practical advice supplemented with contemporary examples from the literature and introducing the reader to t~e cur:ent issues faced by nursing and the health science researchers usmg mIxed methods.