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J Clin Child Adolesc Psychol. 2014;43(6):851-61. doi: 10.1080/15374416.2014.910791.

Qualitative and mixed methods in mental health services and implementation research.

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1
a School of Social Work , University of Southern California.

Abstract

Qualitative and mixed methods play a prominent role in mental health services research. However, the standards for their use are not always evident, especially for those not trained in such methods. This article reviews the rationale and common approaches to using qualitative and mixed methods in mental health services and implementation research based on a review of the articles included in this special series along with representative examples from the literature. Qualitative methods are used to provide a "thick description" or depth of understanding to complement breadth of understanding afforded by quantitative methods, elicit the perspective of those being studied, explore issues that have not been well studied, develop conceptual theories or test hypotheses, or evaluate the process of a phenomenon or intervention. Qualitative methods adhere to many of the same principles of scientific rigor as quantitative methods but often differ with respect to study design, data collection, and data analysis strategies. For instance, participants for qualitative studies are usually sampled purposefully rather than at random and the design usually reflects an iterative process alternating between data collection and analysis. The most common techniques for data collection are individual semistructured interviews, focus groups, document reviews, and participant observation. Strategies for analysis are usually inductive, based on principles of grounded theory or phenomenology. Qualitative methods are also used in combination with quantitative methods in mixed-method designs for convergence, complementarity, expansion, development, and sampling. Rigorously applied qualitative methods offer great potential in contributing to the scientific foundation of mental health services research.

PMID:
25350675
PMCID:
PMC4212209
DOI:
10.1080/15374416.2014.910791
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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