Table 2

Options for using survey in a mixed methods research investigation

Approach for using a survey in a mixed methods studyExplanation
As the initial data collection in a mixed methods study Surveys, as a quantitative approach to research, can begin a project and then be followed up by open-ended data collection such as focus groups. In this way, the researcher can explore further the results of the survey to drill deeper into the data.
As a follow-up data collection in a mixed methods study Surveys can be developed in a mixed methods study where the researcher first collects qualitative data through forms such as focus groups, then develops a survey or modifies an existing instrument from what is learnt in the focus groups, and finally administers the survey instrument. In this way, the survey is suitable for the participant and is context specific.
As confirming evidence in a mixed methods study Surveys can be collected at the same time as the qualitative data, such as focus group, and then the responses can be compared. In this way, the researcher-directed quantitative survey and be compared with the participant-directed qualitative data so that a more complete understanding results.
As an adjunct to larger processes in research Surveys can form the quantitative data collection in a larger process that also involves collecting qualitative data. For instance, in evaluating a programme or an experimental intervention, a survey can be used to measure outcome variables. When combined with qualitative data, to assess the process individuals’ experiences, the study becomes mixed methods. As another example, in an experimental intervention trial, survey data can be collected during the trial to assess pre-test and post-test results. After the trial, qualitative data can be gathered to understand the trial results in more detail. This configuration becomes a mixed methods study that combines or integrates a quantitative trial with a qualitative follow-up. Given these variations, what is the process of adding survey research into mixed methods?