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Int J Nurs Stud. 2009 Apr;46(4):529-46. doi: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2009.01.009. Epub 2009 Feb 23.

A scoring system for appraising mixed methods research, and concomitantly appraising qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods primary studies in Mixed Studies Reviews.

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1
Department of Family Medicine, McGill University, 517 Pine Avenue West, Montreal, QC, Canada H2W 1S4. pierre.pluye@mcgill.ca

Abstract

A new form of literature review has emerged, Mixed Studies Review (MSR). These reviews include qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods studies. In the present paper, we examine MSRs in health sciences, and provide guidance on processes that should be included and reported. However, there are no valid and usable criteria for concomitantly appraising the methodological quality of the qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods studies.

OBJECTIVE:

To propose criteria for concomitantly appraising the methodological quality of qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods studies or study components.

DESIGN:

A three-step critical review was conducted.

DATA SOURCES:

2322 references were identified in MEDLINE, and their titles and abstracts were screened; 149 potentially relevant references were selected and the full-text papers were examined; 59 MSRs were retained and scrutinized using a deductive-inductive qualitative thematic data analysis. This revealed three types of MSR: convenience, reproducible, and systematic.

REVIEW METHODS:

Guided by a proposal, we conducted a qualitative thematic data analysis of the quality appraisal procedures used in the 17 systematic MSRs (SMSRs).

RESULTS:

Of 17 SMSRs, 12 showed clear quality appraisal procedures with explicit criteria but no SMSR used valid checklists to concomitantly appraise qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods studies. In two SMSRs, criteria were developed following a specific procedure. Checklists usually contained more criteria than needed. In four SMSRs, a reliability assessment was described or mentioned. While criteria for quality appraisal were usually based on descriptors that require specific methodological expertise (e.g., appropriateness), no SMSR described the fit between reviewers' expertise and appraised studies. Quality appraisal usually resulted in studies being ranked by methodological quality.

CONCLUSION:

A scoring system is proposed for concomitantly appraising the methodological quality of qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods studies for SMSRs. This scoring system may also be used to appraise the methodological quality of qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods components of mixed methods research.

PMID:
19233357
DOI:
10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2009.01.009
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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