Prevention Science

, Volume 15, Issue 5, pp 654–662 | Cite as

Using Mixed Methods Effectively in Prevention Science: Designs, Procedures, and Examples

  • Wanqing ZhangEmail author
  • Shinobu Watanabe-Galloway


There is growing interest in using a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods to generate evidence about the effectiveness of health prevention, services, and intervention programs. With the emerging importance of mixed methods research across the social and health sciences, there has been an increased recognition of the value of using mixed methods for addressing research questions in different disciplines. We illustrate the mixed methods approach in prevention research, showing design procedures used in several published research articles. In this paper, we focused on two commonly used mixed methods designs: concurrent and sequential mixed methods designs. We discuss the types of mixed methods designs, the reasons for, and advantages of using a particular type of design, and the procedures of qualitative and quantitative data collection and integration. The studies reviewed in this paper show that the essence of qualitative research is to explore complex dynamic phenomena in prevention science, and the advantage of using mixed methods is that quantitative data can yield generalizable results and qualitative data can provide extensive insights. However, the emphasis of methodological rigor in a mixed methods application also requires considerable expertise in both qualitative and quantitative methods. Besides the necessary skills and effective interdisciplinary collaboration, this combined approach also requires an open-mindedness and reflection from the involved researchers.


Prevention science Prevention research Mixed methods Designs Procedures 


Conflict of Interest

None of the authors have any conflicts of interest to disclose.


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Copyright information

© Society for Prevention Research 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Health Services Research and Administration, College of Public HealthUniversity of Nebraska Medical CenterOmahaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Epidemiology, College of Public HealthUniversity of Nebraska Medical CenterOmahaUSA

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