Hi and welcome to this blog post!
In this post we - Rachel Sleurink and Pleun van der Burg - take a closer look at the use of the mixed methods approach in contemporary research. We will do this by focusing on a case study conducted in Uganda that uses a mixed methods approach, related to a theme we both find interesting: inclusive development.
We will start off with a brief introduction of the case study and its aim, followed by a deeper analysis of the way we see different methodologies and disciplines coming back in this study. Various visualisations will be used to support the arguments we make (and to make it more fun for you to read of course).
We hope you enjoy reading our post!
Introduction of the case study: Improving community health in Kuc, Northern Uganda
Qualitative methods: Photovoice, interviews and a focus group
Dowhaniuk, Ojok, and McKune make use of a so-called Photovoice method. This method allows for the active participation of participants by handing out photo cameras to them so they can capture their own perspectives and experiences, based on the question
The participants were selected based on their involvement in the community (e.g. knowing what issues are at stake), their sense of responsibility, and recommendations given by other community members. Before participants started collecting their photos, an eight hour photography workshop was provided by the researchers to train the participants in photography and ethics.
Based on the Photovoice method, the semi-structured interviews and the focus group, four priority health themes emerged:
1. Alcohol-Use Disorders (AUD)
Quantitative method: Cross-sectional survey
Apart from the qualitative methods described above, Dowhaniuk, Ojok, and McKune also made use of a quantitative survey.
From their survey, Dowhaniuk, Ojok, and McKune found that in order to address the relative high prevalence of Alcohol-Use Disorders, most participants prefer putting a time limitation in place for legal alcohol consumption over a complete alcohol prohibition strategy.
Another notable finding from this research relates to the high numbers of AUD in comparison to earlier studies in the North of Uganda. The researchers explain this difference by the lack of attention given to unrecorded alcohol brewage in previous studies, even though unrecorded alcohol is often consumed particularly in Uganda’s rural areas.
Based on both qualitative and quantitative findings, the community identified issue of AUD will be the topic in the long-term CBPR inspired project. The project goal is the development, implementation, and evaluation of a community-driven public health program that builds on community strengths to address Alcohol-Use Disorders in Kuc. Thus, we clearly see the impact of
community participation translated in practice here.
Reflection on interdisciplinarity
When it comes to interdisciplinarity, the study by Dowhaniuk, Ojok, and McKune shows the benefits of working from an interdisciplinary framework due to the fact that the researchers come from several different disciplinary backgrounds. In total, five different research departments and projects are represented here: Geography, Environmental and Global Health, Tropical Conservation and Development Program, Uganda Women’s Action Program, and African Studies Program. Having such a broad perspective to work from allows for a more holistic approach, also when it comes to finding practical solutions to improve community health. After all, combining practices, theories and ideas of different disciplines often leads to innovative outcomes and contributions to knowledge, theory and applied interventions (Pink, 2012).
Dowhaniuk, N., Ojok, S., & McKune, S. L. (2021). Setting a research agenda to improve community health: An inclusive mixed-methods approach in Northern Uganda. (1), 1-25. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0244249.
This research was funded by the N and the T from the University of Florida.