The primary research question that the study will address is, “What is the preferred intervention to reduce the rate of teen pregnancies in the local community?” This question can be answered using a qualitative methodology to review both primary and secondary data. For instance, secondary data would include previous trials of interventions for teenage pregnancy, such as those through education, provision of no-cost contraception, among other efforts. Primary data, on the other hand, could be collected from a sample of participants after a real-time educational intervention through the use of a semi-structured interview method. In this way, the research methodology would allow the exploration of a variety of interventions before answering the research question.
The semi-structured interview methodology has a variety of strengths. For instance, as with most other types of qualitative research, it allows for immersion in the setting, which can assist in understanding the context of the problem, as well as the intervention itself (Holloway & Galvin, 2016). Furthermore, it allows tracing particular themes or concepts, thus establishing patterns of behavior among participants (Holloway & Galvin, 2016). This enables the research question to be viewed from several different perspectives. However, some limitations affect the use of semi-structured interviews. First, primary qualitative research usually uses a limited number of respondents to allow for more in-depth analysis (Holloway & Galvin, 2016). For example, a quantitative research approach would allow judging the effectiveness of an intervention by performing a longitudinal study with hundreds of participants. Semi-structured interviews, on the other hand, would only focus on a much smaller sample size to obtain more in-depth information. However, despite this limitation, semi-structured interviewing, supported by secondary research, would be sufficient to answer the proposed research question.
One type of practical issue that would benefit from a mixed-methods approach to obesity management. The success of obesity interventions depends largely on a patient’s adherence to the recommendations. Therefore, while a quantitative approach would help to track the overall patterns and behaviors, a qualitative design could help to obtain a deeper insight into the patients’ views of the intervention. For example, a study by Hunt et al. (2014) used both questionnaires and semi-structured interviews to review weight management programs for high-risk men delivered at professional football clubs. By using both qualitative and quantitative techniques, the authors were able to obtain responses from a large number of participants, while at the same time enhancing the depth of the study.
Another practical issue that can be studied using a mixed-methods approach is depression. Kinser, Bourguignon, Whaley, Hauenstein, and Taylor (2013) used a mixed methodology to study the application of gentle hatha yoga in the treatment of major depression. The use of quantitative techniques allowed the authors to observe the efficiency of the intervention, while qualitative techniques indicated additional effects not considered in the initial evaluation, such as the increased feeling of connectedness and development of positive coping mechanisms. However, there are also some things to consider when using a mixed methodology. For instance, it might be difficult for researchers to interpret the data coming in two different forms, and to combine the qualitative and quantitative findings to conclude. Moreover, using a mixed-method approach requires the researchers to be proficient in using both qualitative and quantitative techniques. Overall, even though the use of a mixed methodology allows the researcher to balance the scope and depth of research, it might not be suitable for all practice issues and research groups.
Holloway, I., & Galvin, K. (2016). Qualitative research in nursing and healthcare. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Hunt, K., Gray, C. M., Maclean, A., Smillie, S., Bunn, C., & Wyke, S. (2014). Do weight management programmes delivered at professional football clubs attract and engage high risk men? A mixed-methods study. BMC Public Health, 14(1), 50-60.
Kinser, P. A., Bourguignon, C., Whaley, D., Hauenstein, E., & Taylor, A. G. (2013). Feasibility, acceptability, and effects of gentle hatha yoga for women with major depression: Findings from a randomized controlled mixed-methods study. Archives of Psychiatric Nursing, 27(3), 137-147.