Mixed Methods in Research on Child Well-Being
In this chapter we review the benefits of using mixed qualitative/quantitative methods for research on child well-being. We argue that the combination of quantitative and qualitative modes of inquiry can often enrich our understanding of child development and well-being substantially beyond what either mode offers alone. We offer three case examples – the study of contextual influences on child development, including interventions; the study of reciprocal relationships between parent and child characteristics and contextual characteristics; and the study of children’s health – in which the integration of these methods has usefully informed developmental science and influenced child well-being. We also discuss some of the challenges and obstacles to the use of mixed methods on child well-being, and the solutions to some of these challenges. First, the design of mixed-methods studies often requires some additional effort and planning in research design, sampling, and data collection. Second, mixed-methods research offers some challenges to research participants’ engagement and involvement. Third, after data collection is over, mixed-methods research can generate data that may require boundary-crossing analyses to integrate and summarize. Finally, when the study reaches the writing stage, there can be difficulties in locating appropriate publishing outlets. We review solutions to these challenges based on evidence from prior successful mixed-methods studies in this field. In the conclusion, we offer future directions in the application of mixed methods in research on child well-being.
KeywordsMixed Method African American Mother Family Routine Developmental Science Child Separation Anxiety
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