Tagged / methodology

BUCRU (Bournemouth University Clinical Research Unit) – Newsletter

Please see the latest newsletter from the Bournemouth University Clinical Research Unit (BUCRU). We hope you find it interesting.  This is our ‘last’ newsletter and covers content from last year, we are shortly introducing new quarterly ‘BUCRU Bulletins’ with more recent content to be disseminated digitally.

BUCRU supports researchers to improve the quality, quantity, and efficiency of research locally by supporting grant applications and providing on-going support in funded projects, as well as developing our own programme of research.  2018 was an exciting year for BUCRU including being awarded a further 5 years of funding from National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to continue our work as the RDS (Research Design Service) South West.  We’ve also submitted 14 grant applications, have 23 peer-reviewed publications and over £800,000 in grant involvement.

You can find out more within the newsletter, including news from our colleagues in the Centre of Postgraduate Medical Research and Education or visit: www.bournemouth.ac.uk/bucru

And don’t forget, your local branch of the NIHR RDS (Research Design Service) is based within the BU Clinical Research Unit (BUCRU) on the 5th floor of Royal London House. Feel free to pop in and see us, call us on 61939 or send us an email.

Bournemouth University Clinical Research Unit 2017 Newsletter Now Available

bucru identity

The latest newsletter from the Bournemouth University Clinical Research Unit (BUCRU) is available to download here. Take a look at the successful grant applications we were involved in last year, and what else we got up to in 2016. There is also an update from our colleagues in the Centre of Post Graduate Medical Research and Education (CoPMRE).

Don’t forget, BUCRU can provide FREE methodological advice and support in designing your research project. We’re based on the 5th floor of Royal London House so feel free to pop in and see us, call us on 61939 or send us an email.

BRAD Week: Mixed Methods

BRAD wordleAs part of the BU Researcher/Academic Development (BRAD) Programme, a session on Mixed Methods will be run by Dr. Joanne Mayoh tomorrow (8/4/16) from 11:00 AM.

This session will provide a broad overview of the practical and philosophical aspects of mixed methods research.  The following areas will be outlined:

•Paradigmatic assumptions of post-positivist and constructivist/interpretivist research

•The key philosophical debates surrounding the paradigmatic stance of mixed methods inquiry

•Practical issues such as priority and sequence decisions, point of integration, write-up and dissemination

This session would be extremely useful for anyone thinking of using a Mixed Methods approach for their research, or those looking to develop their understanding of research paradigms more generally.

To book onto this course, please follow the following link.

Mixed methods: not without its downside?

Prof Edwin van Teijlingen

Conducting mixed-methods research has become very popular over the past decade especially in the health research field.1-4 This development ties in with the growth in inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary research. Many grant applications, PhD project and the resulting papers especially in the health field apply a mixed-methods approach, where in the past a single approach would have dominated.   This interest in combining methods seems to be the case even in the more traditional quantitative field of clinical effectiveness and randomised controlled trials. Whilst I find this development encouraging as a mixed-methods social scientist, it also makes me wonder whether the applicants putting forward a mixed-methods project have thought about the disadvantages or at least the opportunity costs of using such approach.

A mixed-methods approach is ‘simply’ combining two or more research methods to address a research question, i.e. what the label suggests. It is often perceived as the combining of qualitative with quantitative methods, but it can technically also be a mix of quantitative methods or a combination of qualitative methods. The advantage of a mixed-methods approach is that the different methods in the mix address different aspects of the research question and that combining these methods offers a synergetic effect. So what are the possible limitations of or barriers to mixed-methods research?

First, using a mixed-methods approach means you need an understanding of two different philosophies and how to bring the findings of these two different methods together.4-6   One requires expertise in two different research approaches, either as individual or in the team as well as someone who can do the combining of the findings. For the latter you really need someone in the team who understand the pragmatic approach commonly used in mixed-methods approaches. Otherwise there is a great risk that the original mixed-methods study will be analysed and reported as two or more separate papers each based on data from one of the methods applied in the mixed-methods study.

Secondly, you can spend your money only once, hence there are opportunity costs. Thus if the maximum grant is £200,000 or £300,000 you can’t spend the full amount on the designing a large-scale quantitative study/survey, as you need to spend a proportion of your money and your attention and time on your qualitative study.

Thirdly, and related the above, both quantitative and qualitative methods have ‘rules’ about sampling and sample-size.5 Just because you have two methods this does not mean you can necessarily do a study with a smaller sample. The sample size calculations will still say you need at least xxx participants. Similarly, although perhaps not so rigidly you need a certain number of interviews or focus groups to do you qualitative study appropriately.

Fourthly, a common mistake seems to be to add a bit of qualitative research to a larger quantitative study, perhaps a bit tokenistic.7 Often it is so obvious in a grant application that the qualitative research is an add-on, an afterthought perhaps from a reviewer in the previous failed grant application.

Finally, not all mixed-methods studies are the same, in fact each mixed-methods study is more or less unique in the way in the way it mixes and matched individual research methods.3 So although mixed-methods may be the best way to address a particular research question, your particular proposed mixed of quantitative and qualitative research might not be the most appropriate to answer the overall research question.8

As with all research methods and research proposals my recommendation is if in doubt go and find an expert for advice.6 If necessary get an expert on your team of researchers to strengthen your application.

 

Professor Edwin van Teijlingen

CMMPH

 

References:

  1.  Barbour, R.S. (1999) The case of combining qualitative and quantitative approaches in health services research. Journal of Health Services Research Policy, 4(1): 39-43.
  2. Simkhada, P., van Teijlingen, E., Wasti, S.P., Sathian, B. (2014) Mixed-methods approaches in health research in Nepal, Nepal Journal of Epidemiology 4(5): 415-416.
  3. Plano Clark, V.L., Anderson, N., Wertz, J.A., Zhou, Y., Schumacher, K., Miaskowski, C. (2015) Conceptualizing Longitudinal Mixed Methods Designs: A Methodological Review of Health Sciences Research, Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 9: 297-319.
  4. MacKenzie Bryers, H., van Teijlingen, E. Pitchforth, E. (2014) Advocating mixed-methods approaches in health research, Nepal Journal of Epidemiology 4(5): 417-422. http://www.nepjol.info/index.php/NJE/article/view/12018/9768
  5. Bryman, A. (1988) Quality and Quantity in Social Research, London: Routledge
  6. Bazeley, P. (2003) Teaching mixed methods. Qualitative Research Journal, 4: 117-126.
  7. Maxwell, J.A. (2016) Expanding the History and Range of Mixed Methods Research, Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 10: 12-27.
  8. Brannen, J. (2005) Mixing methods: The entry of qualitative & quantitative approaches into the research process. International Journal of Social Research Methodology 8(3): 173-85.

 

Social science researchers – help identify strategically important methodological research areas

The National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM) is consulting with the UK social science research community to identify nationally important methodological research areas. This will inform a call for proposals for new methodological research projects in 2015. The projects will form parts of a Centre with funding of £5million in total. Contribute to the consultation at http://www.ncrm.ac.uk/survey/index.php/162988/lang-en.

Calling all Early Career Researchers,

Calling all Early Career Researchers,

 

We invite you to: An Introduction to the BRAD Framework and Development Sessions– Wednesday the 18th of September 2-3.30pm (location to be confirmed).

 

The University has created Bournemouth Researcher/Academic Development-BRAD. BRAD is a tailor designed research development framework with supporting development sessions, for BU’s Early Career Researchers (ECR’s). The aims and objectives of BRAD are aligned to the Universities Strategic Plan 2012-2018, our Visions & Values-BU 2018, and Vitae’s researcher development framework. BU is providing professional and personal development sessions and online courses throughout the next academic year 2013-2014, which are all free to attend. The development sessions will cover a range of topics, from SPSS, NVivo, personal effectiveness, research management and publishing in journals and books.

 

Please email  bapplebygunnill@bournemouth.ac.uk to confirm your attendance to the Introduction to BRAD Session, and to identify yourself as an Early Career Researcher, by the end of this week.