Creating and Supporting a Mixed Methods Health Services Research Team

A nurses' aide and a nursing home resident walk together outside.

Lessons from one mixed-methods research project show how to overcome challenges presented by a research team with different methodological perspectives located across the country.

The Issue:

Mixed methods research—which capitalize on the strengths of qualitative and quantitative approaches—is increasingly used in health services research. One of the challenges of bringing together an effective team is overcoming “methodological disrespect” among members with varied backgrounds and expertise.

These researchers describe the strategies used by the THRIVE (The Research Initiative Valuing Eldercare) team that evaluated the Green House Project model of nursing home care. (Green Houses provide supportive care to elders in houses of eight to 12 residents.) Their observations may be useful to others planning or conducting mixed-methods research.

  • Create a multi-disciplinary team with non-hierarchical leadership. For Green House that was achieved through a project officer and assistant and a Coordinating Center that functioned as a democratic facilitator.

  • Promote collaboration and maintain engagement of highly diverse team members through a listserv and weekly telephone meetings.

  • Use a sign-off process to increase understanding of members’ differing interpretations, contributions and conclusions.

  • Give one Coordinating Center member communications responsibilities in order to optimize resources and identify strategies that further engage researchers across projects.