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How To Write a Mixed Methods

Journal Article for Submission

John W. Creswell, Ph.D. University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Professor of Educational Psychology, University of
Nebraska-Lincoln, USA, and Founding Co-Editor,
Journal of Mixed Methods Research
Research Forum, University of Manitoba, Canada,
March 26th, 2010
Please do not duplicate or use these slides without
the express permission of the author.


Positioning myself
Basics of mixed methods research
Tips from a journal editor
Basic ideas about writing a mixed
methods journal article
Review of two published mixed
methods studies

Positioning Myself

View research as set of interactive components;

not always linear
Focus on rigorous data collection and analysis
Work as an applied research methodologist
Trained in quantitative research, embraced
qualitative research, advocated for mixed
Often consult with individuals in a step-by-step
Use steps in writing a mixed methods study are
not in the order typically found in the process
of research
Will apply some of the steps, the major ones

Basics of Mixed Methods


Six core characteristics of mixed methods


The collection of both qualitative and quantitative data

(open- and closed-ended) in response to research
The analysis of both qualitative and quantitative data
Persuasive and rigorous procedures for the qualitative
and quantitative methods
The integration of these two data sources (merging,
connecting, embedding)
The use of a specific mixed methods design that
involves a concurrent or sequential integration (and
equal or unequal emphases)
An approach to research that has a philosophical

When Should You Use Mixed

When the research problem merits this approach, such as,
when one data source is insufficient
when a need exists to explain results
when a need exists to explore first
when a need exists to augment one database with

What are the Challenges to Conducting

Mixed Methods Research?

Skills in both qualitative and quantitative research

Openness to multiple methods
Convincing others of the value of mixed methods
Familiarity with mixed methods

Tips from a Journal Editor

Founding Editors: John

W. Creswell
and Abbas Tashakkori
Current Editors: Max
(Switzerland) and Donna

Additional mixed methods journals

Field Methods
Quality and Quantity
International Journal of Multiple Research
Approaches (on-line)

Other journals that publish mixed methods studies

(e.g., International Journal of Social Research
Special issue journals

Types of articles published in


Empirical articles report of research

studies in content areas (e.g., family
medicine, communication studies,
sociology, etc.)
Methodological, theoretical articles
conceptual articles on timely topics in
mixed methods that advance our
knowledge of mixed methods research
Book/software reviews

Aspects of a good mixed

methods empirical study

Researchers collect both quantitative

and qualitative data
Both procedures are developed with
There is a linking integration or
connection between the two types
of data
Researchers suggest implications for
advancing the field of mixed methods
research as well as the content field

What criteria did I use as editor of JMMR

I go to the methods section to see if quantitative and qualitative

data are collected.
I look in the results and discussion sections for some
connection, merging, or embedding of one type of data in the
I look in the methods discussion for rigorous quantitative and
qualitative procedures.
I look throughout the manuscript for how the author has positioned
the study within the field of mixed methods research and how the
study contributes a thoughtful, unique contribution to the mixed
methods literature.
I look in the introduction and throughout the manuscript for the
paradigm stance of the author.
I look at the title and the references to see if the author cites and
is familiar with the mixed methods literature.
I look in the introduction for the rationale for using mixed
methods to study the research problem.

Basic Ideas About Writing a Mixed

Methods Journal Article

Recommendations on writing and

publishing mixed methods studies in
the health sciences

Stange KC, Crabtree BF, Miller W.L. Publishing

multimethod research. Ann Fam Med. 2006; 4:292-294.
Publish quan and qual papers in separate journals, but
with clear references and links to the other article(s).
Publish concurrent or sequential quantitative and
qualitative papers in the same journal.
Publish an integrated single article that describes both
methods and findings and draws overarching lessons
(with/w/o details in appendices)
Co-publish separate qualitative and quantitative papers
accompanied by a third paper that draws overarching
lessons from analyses across the two methods.
Develop an online discussion of readers and invited
commentators to foster cross-disciplinary communities
of knowledge.

Basic guidelines for writing a

mixed methods study

Recognize that there is a structure to

writing journal articles.
Match the writing structure to the type
of research design (e.g., mismatch writing conclusions in concurrent style
when design is sequential)
Look at published mixed methods
studies for models of writing
Consider the following embedded
elements from mixed methods in the
writing of an article

Elements of good mixed methods research to

incorporate into a journal article (or proposal for

Title: Use words mixed methods. Also, create neutral title

words that do not tip into qual or quan approach. Tip the
words if the design calls for a strong priority for qual or quan.
Abstract: Include information about the type of mixed
methods design used.
Statement of the Problem: Consider the reason for using
mixed methods, and hint at this reason as a deficiency in past
Write a good mixed methods purpose statement (study
aims): Use script to write so that it includes a) general
intent b) quan and qual purpose, data collection and analysis
c) specific reason for mixing and how mixing occurred in the
If you include research questions: State quan question
(or hypotheses), qualitative question, and a mixed methods

Elements of good mixed methods research to

incorporate into a journal article (or proposal for

Mixed methods design: Identify the type of design used, draw a

visual figure, define the design-type, give reasons for including the
design (if not redundant with other information). Include
references to recent mixed methods literature.
Quan and Qual methods: Include detailed description of
separate quan and qual methods to include: specific forms of quan
and qual designs (e.g., correlational, grounded theory), recruitment
procedures, sample selection, sample size, forms of data collection,
topics related to data collection (e.g., validity, reliability of scores on
instruments), types of data analysis
Results: Report quan and qual results separately or concurrently.
Make sure that results are consistent with the flow of the design
and the priority given to the quan and qual sections. This section
will be organized to reflect the type of design used in the study.
Discussion: Report general quan and qual results for the study.
Make sure that discussion mirrors the type of design in flow.
Limitations: Among the limitations identify any challenges that
arose during the mixed methods design.
Future research: Talk about how the study adds to the mixed
methods literature and opens up further lines for investigation.

A Review of Two Mixed Methods

Journal Articles

A mixed methods study in the

aging research field (Classen,
Lopez, Winter, Awadzi, Ferree,
Garvan (2007)
A mixed methods study in the
social sciences (Ivankova & Stick,


Population-based health promotion perspective

for older driver safety: Conceptual framework
to intervention plan
Sherrilene Classen
Ellen DS Lopez
Sandra Winter
Kezia D Awadz
Nita Ferree
Cynthia W Garvan
Abstract: The topic of motor vehicle crashes among the elderly is dynamic and multi-faceted
requiring a comprehensive and synergistic approach to intervention planning. This approach
must be based on the values of a given population as well as health statistics and asserted through
community, organizational and policy strategies. An integrated summary of the predictors (quantitative
research), and views (qualitative research) of the older drivers and their stakeholders,
does not currently exist. This study provided an explicit socio-ecological view explaining the
interrelation of possible causative factors, an integrated summary of these causative factors, and
empirical guidelines for developing public health interventions to promote older driver safety.
Using a mixed methods approach, we were able to compare and integrate main findings from a
national crash dataset with perspectives of stakeholders. We identified: 11 multi-causal factors
for safe elderly driving; the importance of the environmental factors - previously underrated
in the literature- interacting with behavioral and health factors; and the interrelatedness among
many socio-ecological factors. For the first time, to our knowledge, we conceptualized the
fundamental elements of a multi-causal health promotion plan, with measurable intermediate
and long-term outcomes. After completing the detailed plan we will test the effectiveness of
this intervention on multiple levels.
Keywords: safe elderly driving, mixed-method approach, public health model, intervention
plan, health promotion

Clinical Interventions in Aging 2007: 2(4) 677693



study: good illustration of mixed methods
Title: neutral
Authors: skill set of team
Theory: a priori, framework for data analysis
Rationale for mixed methods: a more complete analysis
Questions: quan and qual research questions
Datasets Quan FARS dataset; 6 Qual studies separate
data analysis
Procedures: Concurrent data collection, separate analysis,
priority (perhaps QUAN)
Findings - integrating the two datasets around model; side
by side comparison; additional findings beyond
Methodological limitations heterogeneous datasets
Figure of procedures


A Mixed Methods Study
Nataliya V. Ivankova*, and Sheldon L. Stick**

The purpose of this mixed methods sequential explanatory study was to identify
factors contributing to students persistence in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Distributed Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership in Higher Education by
obtaining quantitative results from surveying 278 current and former students and
then following up with four purposefully selected typical respondents to explore
those results in more depth. In the first, quantitative, phase, five external and
internal to the program factors were found to be predictors to students persistence
in the program: program, online learning environment, student support
services, faculty, and self-motivation. In the qualitative follow up multiple
case study analysis four major themes emerged: (1) quality of academic
experiences; (2) online learning environment; (3) support and assistance; and (4)
student self-motivation. The quantitative and qualitative findings from the two
phases of the study are discussed with reference to prior research. Implications
and recommendations for policy makers are provided.

KEY WORDS: persistence; doctoral students; distributed program; online learning

Graduate education is a major part of American higher education, with
more than 1850 million students enrolled in graduate programs (NCES,
2002). Approximately one fifth are graduate students pursuing doctoral

*Assistant Professor, Department of Human Studies, University of Alabama at Birmingham,

EB 202, 1530 3rd Ave S, Birmingham, AL, USA.
**Professor, Department of Educational Administration, University of Nebraska-Lincoln,
123 Teachers College Hall, Lincoln, NE 68588-0360, USA.
_Address correspondence to: Nataliya V. Ivankova, Department of Human Studies,
University of Alabama at Birmingham, EB 202, 1530 3rd Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35294-1250,
USA. E-mail:
0361-0365/07/0200-0093/0 _ 2006 Springer Science+Business Media, Inc.

Research in Higher Education, Vol. 48, No. 1, February 2007

DOI: 10.1007/s11162-006-9025-4


An explanatory sequential design

in a distance learning study
This study reported an investigation of understanding students
persistence in the Distance Learning Doctoral Program in Educational
leadership in Higher Education (ELHE) offered by the University of
Nebraska-Lincoln. The purpose was to identify factors contributing to
students persistence in the ELHE Program.

A quantitative Web-based survey of 278 current and former students was

undertaken in the first phase. This survey measured predictors in the
program related to program, adviser, faculty, institution, and student
factors (based on a theoretical model). The dependent variable was status
in the program organized into beginning students, matriculated students,
graduated students, and inactive students.

Following this initial quantitative phase, a second qualitative phase

consisted of collecting data from four individuals, one representing each
group, using multiple data sources to develop four case study profiles.
Source: Ivankova, N. V.,& Stick, S. L. (2007). Students persistence in a
distributed doctoral program in educational leadership in higher education:
A mixed methods study. Research in Higher Education, 48, 93-136.

Ivankova & Stick (2007) study:

Overall study: good illustration of mixed methods

sequential design; 42 printed pages - long
Title: neutral
Authors: mixed methods specialist, quantitative
specialist, doctoral dissertation
Purpose statement: intent, first phase, second phase
Theory: a priori, framework for data analysis
Mixed methods design: type of design, rationale for
Figure of procedures: phases, procedures, product
Datasets: Quan survey dataset; Qual case study
Point of interface: case selection
Results and Discussion: Quan, then qual

Source: Ivankova and Stick (2007)

How To Write a Mixed Methods

Journal Article for Submission
John W. Creswell, Ph.D. University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Professor of Educational Psychology, University of
Nebraska-Lincoln, USA, and Founding Co-Editor,
Journal of Mixed Methods Research
Research Forum, University of Manitoba, Canada,
March 26th, 2010
Please do not duplicate or use these slides without
the express permission of the author.