Qualitative and Mixed Methods in Action

Featured Research

  • The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Stratton stands by to offload 34 metric tons of cocaine in San Diego on Monday, Aug. 10, 2015, photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley/Defense Visual Information Distribution Service

    Identifying Barriers to Female Retention in the U.S. Coast Guard

    Dec 31, 2019

    A mixed-methods study sought to identify the root causes of female attrition in the active-duty Coast Guard. Researchers conducted 164 focus groups with 1,010 active-duty Coast Guard women to better understand potential barriers to female retention, and 27 focus groups with 127 active-duty men.

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    Understanding U.S. Health Systems: Unpacking Complexity Using Mixed Methods

    Nov 26, 2019

    Data from secondary sources can help identify and map health systems, but does not adequately describe them or the variation that exists within and across systems. A mixed-methods approach provides granular qualitative data enabling researchers to describe multi-layered health systems, grasp the context in which they operate, and identify the key drivers of performance.

  • Boil water alert sign in Florida Keys after hurricane, photo by Jodi Jacobson/AdobeStock

    Reaching Vulnerable Populations in the Disaster-Prone U.S. Gulf Coast

    Aug 21, 2019

    U.S. Gulf Coast responders are faced with a unique challenge when it comes to delivering risk and crisis communication to residents. Engaging in pre-crisis planning with vulnerable populations, and assessing response strategies, can help the region prepare for future disasters.

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    The Potential of Community Citizen Science

    Jun 18, 2019

    Translating citizen science research into action often faces challenges. Interviews with representatives of three community citizen science projects, as well as with general citizen science experts, provided a greater understanding of how the cultures and institutions that make up the larger field of citizen science could shape and react to the development of community citizen science.

  • Person scrolling through the news on a smartphone, photo by Adobe Stock/terovesalaine

    News in a Digital Age: Comparing the Presentation of Information over Time and Across Platforms

    May 14, 2019

    In what ways has news reporting in print, on television, and online changed over the last 30 years? Using RAND-Lex, a suite of tools that combines text analysis and machine learning, researchers analyzed such linguistic characteristics as social attitude, sentiment, affect, subjectivity, and relation with authority.

  • Social network icons focused on Africa section of world map, overlaid on photo of hand holding a mobile phone, photo by Igor/Adobe Stock

    Social Media in Africa Presents Double-Edged Sword for Development

    Nov 23, 2018

    Using a structured literature review, key informant interviews and Twitter data analysis, researchers analyzed the use of social media by three Islamist terrorist groups based in Africa — al-Shabaab, Boko Haram and ISIL — across seven countries.

  • Young Israeli Arab women attend a conference, photo by U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv/CC BY-SA 2.0

    Perceived Peer Norms, Health Risk Behaviors, and Clustering of Risk Behaviors Among Palestinian Youth

    Aug 28, 2018

    Because relatively little is known about patterns of health risk behaviors among Middle Eastern youth, including how these behaviors are related to perceived peer norms, researchers conducted interviews and focus groups, after which they analyzed responses via content analysis.

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    Developing a Manual for Cultural Analysis

    Jul 9, 2018

    Drawing from cognitive and evolutionary anthropology traditions, the authors describe a set of tools capable of dealing with cultural data at various emergent levels, ranging from variation among individuals within local subcultures to small- and large-scale network topologies and finally to longstanding lineages of inherited cultural information. This is the first time these techniques have been organized into a single manual structured around a formally theorized notion of culture.

  • Hands holding a heart with an EKG line

    Million Hearts Initiative Successes and Challenges

    Jun 20, 2018

    A mixed-methods approach that involved an environmental scan, key informant interviews, and a social network analysis enabled researchers to assess the current state of the Million Hearts initiative and to understand how this initiative might grow and strengthen the goal of decreasing cardiovascular disease.

  • A dark Russian sky with a binary code background

    How to Counter Russian Social Media Influence in Eastern Europe

    Apr 12, 2018

    Russia uses social media in nearby states to sow dissent against neighboring governments and NATO. To understand the scope of Russian social media campaigns and how to counter them, researchers employed a mixed-methods approach that used careful quantitative analysis of social media data as well as interviews with regional and security experts.

  • Close up of a person's hands using a mobile phone at night

    Testing a Social Network Intervention to Reduce Substance Use

    Feb 9, 2018

    A small randomized clinical trial found that a brief computer-assisted Motivational Interviewing social network intervention has potential to positively impact readiness to change alcohol and other drug use and abstinence self-efficacy among formerly homeless individuals transitioning to permanent supportive housing.

  • African American woman holding a young child on her hip

    Summary: Evaluating Progress Toward Increasing Global Contraceptive Use

    Feb 5, 2018

    Researchers evaluated two programs designed to help monitor progress toward a new global goal to increase modern contraceptive use by 2020. Their recommendations derive from interviews with more than 260 stakeholders in the United States and 15 program countries, statistical analysis of one program's survey, and analysis of stakeholder ratings of data maturity and sustainability.

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    Innovative Methods for Rigorously Eliciting and Assessing Patient Narratives

    Dec 30, 2016

    Researchers designed a methodology for rigorously eliciting narratives about patients' experiences with clinical care. They determined that narrative elicitation protocols suitable for inclusion in patient experience surveys can be designed and tested against objective performance criteria, thus advancing the science of public reporting.

  • A senior Native American woman demonstrates weaving to two young women, photo by Hoptocopter / Getty Images

    Cultural Identity Among Urban American Indian/Alaska Native Youth: Implications for Alcohol and Drug Use

    Oct 1, 2016

    Better understanding how American Indian/Alaska Native youth negotiate cultural identity in urban settings can help with the design of culturally appropriate alcohol and drug interventions. Researchers identified 12 themes based on a series of focus groups with a total of 70 youth, parents, providers, and Community Advisory Board members and subsequent team-based structured thematic analysis in the Dedoose software platform.

  • The ISIS hashtag is seen typed into a Twitter smartphone app, February 6, 2016

    Examining ISIS Support and Opposition on Twitter

    Aug 16, 2016

    ISIS uses Twitter to inspire followers, recruit fighters, and spread its message. Its opponents use Twitter to denounce the group. To identify and characterize in detail both networks on Twitter, researchers use a mixed-methods analytic approach that draws on community detection algorithms to help detect interactive communities of Twitter users, lexical analysis that can identify key themes and content for large data sets, and social network analysis.

  • Two couples celebrating together, photo by Bernard Bodo/Adobe Stock

    A Primer on Analysis of Duocentric Social Networks

    Dec 31, 2015

    Marriages and other intimate partnerships are facilitated or constrained by the social networks within which they are embedded. This paper describes methods of collecting and analyzing duocentric social networks, that is, the combined social networks of couples.

  • A mother and child outside together

    Minority parents talk to their very young children about racial discrimination

    Jan 8, 2015

    In a series of focus groups, nearly half of parents of children ages 0-4 years had alerted their children about unfair treatment due to race. Mothers were more likely than fathers to address these issues, but most parents viewed racial socialization as an important part of school readiness.

  • Coworkers disagreeing about data, photo by New Africa/Adobe Stock

    Challenges in Systematic Reviews of Qualitative Research

    Dec 31, 2014

    Systematic reviews of qualitative research are useful, but pose challenges for researchers. Many debates over their value arise from the tension between the positivistic, aggregative approach of systematic reviews of intervention effectiveness and the interpretive nature of most qualitative research.

  • Woman sits on park bench filling out survey, photo by DW labs Incorporated/Adobe Stock

    Involving Community Stakeholders to Increase Park Use and Physical Activity

    Dec 31, 2014

    Researchers conducted a randomized controlled trial of community-based participatory research (CBPR) approaches to increase park use and physical activity across 33 diverse neighborhoods in Los Angeles. They found CBPR is useful for tailoring research and enhancing community impact and sustainability, but it more challenging at a larger scale.

  • Jordanian youth use laptop computers

    Youth in Jordan: Transitions from Education to Employment

    Jul 1, 2014

    Researchers conducted 13 focus groups and 14 one-on-one qualitative interviews with young Jordanians from urban and rural areas, to understand their perceptions of why youth unemployment remains high and what can be done to help turn the tide. A literature review and secondary analysis of national statistics, as well as interviews with experts, placed these subjective perceptions into perspective.

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    Monogamy on the Street: A Study of Homeless Men

    Mar 27, 2013

    A mixed methods approach allowed researchers to explore the determinants of relationship patterns and risky sex among homeless men living in downtown Los Angeles. Researchers analyzed 30 qualitative interviews focused on gender ideology and sexual events as well as 305 structured interviews focused on homeless men's sexual partners, sexual behaviors, and social networks.

  • Masculinity and HIV Risk Among Homeless Men in Los Angeles

    Jan 2, 2012

    Researchers conducted a cultural consensus analysis to test for the existence of culturally agreed upon masculinity and gender role beliefs among heterosexual homeless men in Los Angeles, as well as the relationship between these beliefs and HIV-related behaviors and attitudes. Interviews included 30 qualitative and 305 structured interviews in Los Angeles's Skid Row area.

  • Doctor working at office computer, photo by Monkey Business/Adobe Stock

    Using Existing Systematic Reviews in Complex Systematic Reviews

    Dec 31, 2008

    Reviewers seeking to incorporate existing reviews into new reviews face several questions. Drawing from their collective experience, the authors outline a series of steps that can help reviewers reach reasoned decisions about the incorporation of existing systematic reviews and enumerate potential hazards to consider in doing so.

  • Black volunteers review paperwork in a park, photo by AS photo/Adobe Stock

    Out of the Ivory Tower, Into the Real World: Examples of Street-Smart Community Health Research

    Dec 31, 2008

    Numerous journal articles describe RAND's community-based participatory health research, an approach to transfer the promise of evidence-based health research into communities that can most benefit from it. This research brief summarizes and provides highlights of these articles.

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