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While the quantitative components allow us to know the extent of the situation and understand how representative the findings are, qualitative studies can enhance the depth of our understandings by presenting various stakeholder perspectives and offer rationale for health systems performance.We present a selection of resources that could be helpful for readers who may be new to mixed methods research or may not have kept up to date with the literature.In the last two decades, mixed methods research has become increasingly popular as a third approach along with qualitative and quantitative methods.
Health systems researchers may develop survey instruments, interventions or programmes informed by qualitative findings.
Alternatively, mixed methods research may be used to identify participants with which to follow up or explain mechanisms behind the quantitative results (Bryman 2008).
It discusses the literature behind the philosophical foundation, rationale and steps for conducting and evaluating mixed methods research.
In particular, the paper addresses sampling approaches and data analysis stages.
Mixed methods research has become increasingly popular in health systems.
Qualitative approaches are often used to explain quantitative results and help to develop interventions or survey instruments.As a starting guide, ‘Designing and conducting mixed methods research’ by Creswell and Plano Clark (2011) targets individuals across many social and human science fields learning about mixed methods research for the first time.It follows the process of conducting a study, from deciding whether or not to use mixed methods, understanding its historic and philosophical underpinnings, on to collecting, analysing and interpreting data in mixed methods research.We selected 10 best resources (eight peer-reviewed articles and two textbooks) based on their importance and frequency of use (number of citations), comprehensiveness of content, usefulness to readers and relevance to health systems research in resource-limited contexts.We start with an overview on mixed methods research and discuss resources that are useful for a better understanding of the design and conduct of mixed methods research.Mixed methods researchers use diverse philosophical positions (e.g.post-positivist and social constructivist worldviews, pragmatic perspectives and transformative perspectives) and often draw upon one or more theoretical frameworks from the social, behavioural or biological sciences to inform the study (Green 2007).This 912-page handbook, contributed by diverse authors both within and across disciplines, has been carefully and systematically prepared to integrate experience and opinions of early mixed methods adopters.Readers can learn about how conceptual orientations can affect the conduct and interpretation of mixed studies; what guiding principles and frameworks are available for design, sampling, data analysis and inferences as well as be informed of recent developments in mixed methods data analysis and presentation.For individuals looking for a brief orientation to mixed methods research, ‘Mixed methods: a review of literature and the future of the new research paradigm’ by Migiro and Magangi (2011) provide a basic review.The paper targets a social science researcher novice to mixed methods design, by laying out the strengths and weaknesses of the approach.