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Patient. 2016 Jun;9(3):193-200. doi: 10.1007/s40271-015-0153-9.

Meeting the Challenges of Intervention Research in Health Science: An Argument for a Multimethod Research Approach.

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Department of Public Health, Research Unit for General Practice, University of Southern Denmark, J.B.Winsløwsvej 9a, 5000, Odense C, Denmark.
National Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark, Copenhagen K, Denmark.


Research within health science is often based on developing, implementing and evaluating interventions in a randomized controlled trial (RCT) design, with patients or other health care users as the target group. The results of RCTs can have limited generalizability. Since a trial often takes place in a controlled setting, it may be difficult to implement the results in other settings. Successful implementation in practice requires knowledge of the context and the social mechanisms and processes through which an intervention works. It is therefore important to secure such knowledge of high quality. The aim of this paper was to present and discuss how intervention research in RCT designs can be developed and strengthened by using a multimethod research approach. First, we focus on four considerations relating to the use of RCTs, namely objectivity and linearity, contextual dimensions, generalizability, and complex interventions. Second, a multimethod research approach including the terms 'research style' and 'forms of integration' is presented to address the four considerations. Third, a Danish intervention study is presented in order to discuss the potential of this multimethod research approach. We conclude by suggesting that future intervention studies should consider the potential for combining different research styles and forms of integration to the benefits of the patients and other health care users as the target group.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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