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MIXED METHODS IN BEHAVIORAL INTERVENTION RESEARCH

JOSEPH J. GALLO AND SU YEON LEE

Imagination is the highest form of research.

—Albert Einstein

Mixed methods used in behavioral interventions have the advantage of drawing strengths from both quantitative and qualitative approaches rather than using one approach alone. Beyond the strict use of quantitative methods, qualitative methods can provide rich, detailed, and comprehensive knowledge on various processes of intervention development and testing: building theory relevant to behavioral health, developing and validating instruments, assessing context and processes involved in behavioral health interventions, and pointing toward acceptable and sustainable ways to implement and disseminate the intervention.

The goals of this chapter are to define mixed methods approaches to provide a rationale for using mixed methods in behavioral intervention research; to introduce basic concepts and types of mixed methods designs; to highlight approaches for incorporating mixed methods in developing, testing, and implementing behavioral interventions; to understand mixed methods study outcomes in the context of scaling up intervention; and to consider challenges of using mixed methods in interventions. Investigators with well-considered research questions and aims can be creative and imaginative in how to deploy mixed methods to make their intervention relevant and effective for diverse community and service settings. From designing interventions that take into account cultural factors to the study of implementation processes for established interventions, mixed methods can play an important role across the entire spectrum of the intervention development pipeline.

 
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