Mixed Methods

Mixed Methods approach focuses on collecting, analyzing, and mixing both quantitative and qualitative data in a single study or series of studies. Its central premise is that the use of quantitative and qualitative approaches in combination provides a better understanding of research problems than either approach alone (Creswell, 2006).

The following are examples of studies done using mixed methods research.   Each has a summary of the study along with a link to the full study.

Adolescent Involvement at Public Horticulture Institutions
SUMMARY: While public gardens typically offer educational programming for adults and elementary school-aged children, many institutions struggle with serving the teenage audience. This study gathered information on the institutional benefits, challenges, and strategies of offering successful programming for youth aged 13-19 years. Institutional members of the American Public Gardens Association were surveyed, followed by case study research at two large institutions and phone interviews with three smaller institutions. Seven institutional benefits emerged, the three foremost being building relationships with new audiences, building interest in horticulture; and supporting the institution’s mission and growth. In addition, seven potential challenges were identified, most notably funding, staff time, and adolescent interest. Seven overarching strategies also emerged, highlighting the areas of high quality staff, curriculum, partnerships, youth decision-making, compensation, engaging activities, and evaluation.

The Impact of Horticultural Responsibility on Health Indicators and Quality of Life In Assisted Living
SUMMARY: This study used quantitative and qualitative methods to investigate the impact of indoor gardening on elderly residents of a low-income assisted living facility over a 4-week period. Mastery, self-rated health, and self-rated happiness were pre-, post-, and post-post measured to evaluate whether a short-term introduction of indoor gardening that involved individual plant-care responsibility would improve these measures that are predictive of health and quality of life.  Eighteen residents participated in four 2-hour interactive horticulture classes taught by a social horticulturist and a sociologist. Class members showed a significant increase in mastery, self-rated health, and self-rated happiness. The results of this study indicate that a basic horticultural activity, as simple as learning how to maintain a houseplant and taking individual responsibility for one, can have a short-term positive impact on the quality of life and on primary indicators of future health outcomes of older adults residing in assisted living facilities.

If you would like to learn more about Mixed Methodology, here are some books:

Foundations of Mixed Methods Research: Integrating Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches in the Social and Behavioral Sciences By: Charles B. Teddlie and Abbas Tashakkori

Designing and Conducting Mixed Methods Research By: John W. Creswell and Dr. Vicki L. Plano Clark  

The Mixed Methods Reader By: Dr. Vicki L. Plano Clark and John W. Creswell

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