Integrative Mixed Research Methodology In Neonatal Nursing

Integration Of Mixed Research Methods In Neonatal Care

Introduction

The mixed-method approach is a recent methodology in the health sciences, since it came from the social sciences when it was introduced in the 1960s, and has been considered the third methodological movement. This research methodology proposes the systematic integration of quantitative and qualitative data in the same study. This approach differs from the usual data triangulation, in which the association of more than one method or research technique is used to obtain and analyze data. 

A mixed-method study does not mean conducting two separate studies on a particular issue, but employing different methods to address a specific research question or hypothesis of each approach in the same study. The basic premise of the mixed method is that articulation between qualitative and quantitative methods allows complete synergy in the use of data, which is different if they are analyzed separately, even if discussed together. 

The choice of this method should occur when data of a single approach are not sufficient to apprehend the object under study; when the results need further explanation; in the need to explore the findings to be generalized; or when the complexity of research objectives is best served by multiple phases or types of data.

Research using mixed methods is focused on the strengths of qualitative and quantitative approaches by combining both components into a single study in order to increase the scope and depth of understanding of the topic. 

Therefore, the mixed method is particularly used for understanding contradictions between qualitative and quantitative findings. In this research modality, as for all others, the object needs to be well delineated by pointing the focus of the qualitative and quantitative study through questions and hypotheses. 

This type of research reflects participants’ points of view and proposes a flexible methodology adapted to different types of studies, such as observational and randomized clinical trials. Thus, more information can be elucidated than if using only one of the approaches. 

Given the aforementioned definition and the possibility of the wide use of the mixed method in research in different health contexts, as it allows the union of a qualitative and quantitative study by encompassing broader perspectives on the same phenomenon, this method should be disseminated to nursing in order that researchers can appropriate and apply it to their objects of study.

Method

Descriptive methodological study with the aim of development, validation, and evaluation of tools and research methods in order to obtain greater reliability and validity of results. Therefore, the use of the integrative method and its steps are described with the example of a study in the area of neonatal nursing.

Conceptualizing the method 

The mixed method approach can be classified into two broad categories, namely the sequential and the concurrent. In the first category, the collection of qualitative or quantitative data occurs at an early stage of the study, followed by the collection of the other approach at a second moment. In the concurrent category, the two data are collected at the same time. 

The two categories have three specific designs, based on the emphasis on qualitative and quantitative data: 1) they are treated equally or unequally; 2) the process of data integration is used for the analysis, and 3) if the theoretical basis behind the study methodology promotes social change or social support.

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