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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Maria T. Clark
  • Oliver R. Herber
  • Fiona Howroyd
  • Lesley Gratrix
  • Aile Trumm
  • Tove A. Hanssen

Colleges, School and Institutes


Aims: To consider the scope and quality of mixed methods research in nursing. Design: 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. Results: 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. Conclusions: 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
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Issue number11
Early online date8 Sep 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020


  • focus mapping review and synthesis, mixed methods, nursing, research

ASJC Scopus subject areas