Skip to main content
Connecting Mixed Methods as an Education Research Strategy
All Scholarly Works
  • Rebecca Blanchard, PhD, Baystate Health
Document Type
Article, Peer-reviewed
Publication Date
Description This faculty and professional development instructional module is intended for medical education researchers seeking to combine qualitative and quantitative research methods. The module is particularly useful when investigating a particular phenomenon or challenging educational practice. The case-based methods guide workshop participants through an interactive, small group plan of action on a relevant research topic. The team-building activity, although representative, may be easily modified for site-specific education research needs. We recommend incorporating this instructional module during the initial phases of an organizational strategic plan in education research among inter-professional healthcare providers. This process includes a worksheet for designing a research project or study. A post-activity debriefing reinforces strategies to overcome barriers or challenges in education research design that incorporate elements of qualitative and quantitative methodologies. The instructional module concludes with practical considerations in implementing mixed methods from the relevant medical education literature. The enclosed Resource Files provide professional development facilitators with a ‘turn-key’ approach when organizing and conducting a mixed methods education research workshop. Therefore, we offer goals and strategies for effective mixed methods research that are attainable through educational development. Purpose of resources Both quantitative and qualitative research methods yield valuable data for investigating a phenomenon or challenging educational practice. Just as physicians gather both qualitative and quantitative data on their patients,1 so too can research projects benefit from combining these methods. Yet researchers might not be familiar with the process of combining methods into a cohesive mixed-methods study to more explicitly understand education practices and outcomes. Schifferdecker’s workshop on mixed methods in education research introduced learners to the topic through lecture and small group discussion.2 Our workshop adds to the content in her workshop, yet emphasizes an innovative, experiential activity, which encourages participants to discover the challenges and opportunities associated with mixed-method research. This workshop was created to tap into participants’ knowledge of educational research design by conceptualizing and challenging their understanding of the benefits of mixed methods. The activity harnesses and extends participant knowledge by encouraging small group discussion and facilitator-led debriefing to highlight key points. Background (why and how created) This instructional module was initially conceived and implemented in a peer-reviewed session at the recent AAMC NEGEA annual conference on medical education research with 20 academic health center leaders. Session outcome measures (Pre-Post participant rating factors) revealed increased knowledge and self-efficacy by participants.
Citation Information
Blanchard R, Scott J. Connecting Mixed Methods as an Education Research Strategy. MedEdPORTAL Publications; 2014. Available from:​publication/​9670​10.15766/​mep_2374-8265.9670