with the ISOQOL MM Special Interest Group

Rachel Cusatis, PhD, and Bridget Gaglio, PhD MPH
Chair and Chair-Elect of the Mixed Methods SIG

Mixed methods research involves the collection, analysis, and mixing of both quantitative and qualitative data into a single study or a series of studies. Why use both qualitative and quantitative methods? There are many reasons to combine quantitative and qualitative methods in a study:

  • triangulation – confirming or corroborating results,
  • complementarity – supplementing and clarifying results from one method to the next,
  • development – using results from one method to inform the other,
  • initiation – using results from different methods to find differing areas to generate new ideas and identifying areas for further exploration, and
  • expansion – exploring different components of a question which require different methods.

Learn more about these reasons in the journal article “Using mixed methods in health research” written by Tariq and Woodman. The article provides a more in-depth introduction to mixed methods, including what it is, why it can be useful, the main parts of its study design and analysis, and its potential challenges. To read the full article, click here.

The use of mixed methods has become more prevalent, expected, and necessary in the development and analysis of PROs and quality of life (QOL). In their recommendations for minimum standards for patient-reported outcome (PRO) use in patient-centered outcomes and comparative research, ISOQOL highlights the documentation and evidence of qualitative and quantitative methods. Additionally, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued final guidance on methods to identify what is important to patients in February 2022, which included guidance on the incorporation of mixed methods. Other guidelines for the development and use of PRO data acknowledge the need for mixed methods research (i.e., COSMIN guidelines). To foster this growing methodology in PROs and QOL research, ISOQOL members created a Special Interest Group (SIG) devoted to mixed methods research.

The Mixed Methods (MM) SIG promotes the use of mixed methods research in the field of QOL research by exploring the challenges and methodological solutions offered by this research paradigm, identifying opportunities for application of mixed methods research in the field, and defining good practice.

Upcoming events for MM SIG members:

The MM SIG has some exciting events coming up for its members!

  1. Ask and you shall receive! MM SIG members asked for a webinar on Rapid Qualitative methods and the SIG will be hosting Alison Hamilton, PhD MPH, an expert in the field. She will have an educational webinar for MM SIG members on Wednesday, June 21st at 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM EDT!
  2. Mark your calendars! The MM SIG will be hosting a mid-year meeting to see familiar faces and learn about the exciting mixed methods research going on among SIG members.The meeting will be held Wednesday, May 10th at 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM EDT, and will be focused on MM SIG members briefly highlighting their mixed methods research in short presentations. We will also start to prep for the in-person meeting at ISOQOL Annual Conference and ask members what they would like to see in October.
  3. Annual Mixed Methods SIG Business Meeting. October 2023 at ISOQOL 30th Annual Meeting – meeting time/date pending. See you all in Calgary!

If you have any questions about the Mixed Methods SIG, feel free to reach out to co-chairs Rachel Cusatis (rcusatis@mcw.edu) and Bridget Gaglio (Bridget.Gaglio@evidera.com).

This newsletter editorial represents the views of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of ISOQOL. 

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The International Society for Quality of Life Research (ISOQOL) is a global community of researchers, clinicians, health care professionals, industry professionals, consultants, and patient research partners advancing health related quality of life research (HRQL).

Together, we are creating a future in which patient perspective is integral to health research, care and policy.