Integrating Quantitative and Qualitative Results in Health Science Mixed Methods Research Through Joint Displays

Ann Fam Med. 2015 Nov;13(6):554-61. doi: 10.1370/afm.1865.


Purpose: Mixed methods research is becoming an important methodology to investigate complex health-related topics, yet the meaningful integration of qualitative and quantitative data remains elusive and needs further development. A promising innovation to facilitate integration is the use of visual joint displays that bring data together visually to draw out new insights. The purpose of this study was to identify exemplar joint displays by analyzing the various types of joint displays being used in published articles.

Methods: We searched for empirical articles that included joint displays in 3 journals that publish state-of-the-art mixed methods research. We analyzed each of 19 identified joint displays to extract the type of display, mixed methods design, purpose, rationale, qualitative and quantitative data sources, integration approaches, and analytic strategies. Our analysis focused on what each display communicated and its representation of mixed methods analysis.

Results: The most prevalent types of joint displays were statistics-by-themes and side-by-side comparisons. Innovative joint displays connected findings to theoretical frameworks or recommendations. Researchers used joint displays for convergent, explanatory sequential, exploratory sequential, and intervention designs. We identified exemplars for each of these designs by analyzing the inferences gained through using the joint display. Exemplars represented mixed methods integration, presented integrated results, and yielded new insights.

Conclusions: Joint displays appear to provide a structure to discuss the integrated analysis and assist both researchers and readers in understanding how mixed methods provides new insights. We encourage researchers to use joint displays to integrate and represent mixed methods analysis and discuss their value.

Keywords: data display; integrative analysis; methodology; multimethod research; qualitative; quantitative; study design.

MeSH terms

  • Audiovisual Aids*
  • Biomedical Research / methods*
  • Periodicals as Topic
  • Qualitative Research*
  • Research Design*
  • Statistics as Topic*