The state of mixed methods research in nursing: A focused mapping review and synthesis

Fiona Irvine, Maria Clark, Nikolaus Efstathiou, Oliver Herber, Fiona Howroyd, Leslie Gratrix, Dana Sammut, Aile Trumm, Tove Hanssen, Julie Taylor, Caroline Bradbury-Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To consider the scope and quality of mixed methods research in nursing.

Focused mapping review and synthesis (FMRS).

Data sources
Five purposively selected journals: International Journal of Nursing Studies, Journal of Nursing Scholarship, Journal of Advanced Nursing, Worldviews on Evidence-Based Nursing, and Journal of Mixed Methods Research.

Review methods
In the target journals, titles and abstracts from papers published between 2015–2018 were searched for the words or derivative words ‘mixed methods’. Additional keyword searches were undertaken using each journal's search tool. We included studies that investigated nursing and reported to use a mixed methods approach. Articles that met the inclusion criteria were read in full and information was extracted onto a predetermined pro forma. Findings across journals were then synthesized to illustrate the current state of mixed methods research in nursing.

We located 34 articles that reported on mixed methods research, conducted across 18 countries. Articles differed significantly both within and across journals in terms of conformity to a mixed methods approach. We assessed the studies for the quality of their reporting as regard the use of mixed methods. Nineteen studies were rated as satisfactory or good, with 15 rated as poorly described. Primarily, a poor rating was due to the absence of stating an underpinning methodological approach to the study and/or limited detail of a crucial integration phase.

Our FMRS revealed a paucity of published mixed methods research in the journals selected. When they are published, there are limitations in the detail given to the underpinning methodological approach and theoretical explanation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2798-2809
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 8 Sept 2020


  • Mixed methods research
  • Nursing
  • methodology


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