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Mixed Methods Research Training Program for the Health Sciences

Program Retreat

Our first retreat was held in Baltimore in June at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.  The following year, the annual retreat was held in Boston at the Harvard School of Public Health. This year the retreat was held back in Baltimore at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The retreat is an opportunity for the Scholars and faculty to meet and to receive personal feedback on Scholar projects.  The 2018 retreat will be held in Baltimore again.  Scholars stay at the Admiral Fell Inn in historic Fells Point, and the retreat will be held at the School of Public Health.

Example schedule for Mixed Methods Research Training Program retreat is found below.  More information on the retreat can be found in the process evaluation of the retreat here.

Day 1

Introduction to course objectives

Introduction of faculty and Scholars

Scholars briefly describe their project and goals

History of mixed methods research and recent advances

Steps in designing a mixed methods study

Rigorous quantitative and qualitative methods

Basic mixed methods designs 

Advanced mixed methods designs

Study aims and research questions

Points of integration:  data collection, analysis, inference


Day 2

Introduction to Day 2

Scholars present their project to small groups with feedback

Worldview and the role of theory 

Characteristics of qualitative research - some misconceptions

Qualitative interviewing and coding in data analysis 

Working on mixed methods teams 

Ethical issues in mixed methods research

Writing mixed methods proposals and publications

Best practices for NIH proposals


Day 3

Introduction to Day 3

Scholars present their project to small groups with feedback

Reviewing and evaluating mixed methods publications

Development and review of a training plan after summer course 

Immediate feedback about plan from Scholars


a. Seminar sessions: We draw on experience with courses at Harvard (Creswell and Deutsch) and Johns Hopkins (Gallo and Creswell) to present concepts of mixed methods research in interactive sessions. The didactic sessions will be based on materials circulated beforehand as well as the webinar held before the summer meeting. The pre-course webinar will allow the Scholars to get more out of the didactic sessions at the meeting and so that the sessions can be at a more advanced level targeted to the topic areas, proposals, and needs of the Scholars. The sessions will lay the groundwork for mixed methods research. Topics for presentation and discussion will include R-level grant writing strategy (framing aims, hypotheses, innovation, significance, impact, using pilot data effectively; describing and justifying research plans), responding to the summary statement, and publishing mixed methods research. These topics are modeled on the “master class” content of nine mixed methods for courses taught at Harvard and Johns Hopkins.

b. Small group presentations: Workgroups are organized by type of research (e.g., child services; implementation) so that Scholars with similar interests and skills are grouped together. We invite 3 of the consultants so that 3 groups can be formed, each with one consultant and one of the primary mentors (Gallo, Deutsch, or Creswell). Scholars orally present their projects to the workgroup for feedback and discussion. Each Scholar prepares a 10-15 minute presentation to be followed by 30 minutes for feedback addressing all aspects of the proposal's content (e.g., hypotheses when appropriate, rationale, design, analysis, responsible conduct of research). These discussions are framed by both the proposed research as well as the Scholar’s overall career trajectory, to strategize about what grant mechanism may be most appropriate and how to frame the mixed methods. At the end of their period, the Scholar will be asked to summarize the major points and identify an action plan for the rest of the day (e.g., speak to faculty or their consultant about specific idea; rework the hypotheses; etc.). On the last day, Scholars also present their training plan to support them after the meeting is over. The projects provide a concrete task to focus training in mixed methods, consistent with the principles of adult learning. Mixed methods are best learned through application to a specific area or problem rather than solely through abstract presentations of research design or methods.