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Integrating qualitative and quantitative approaches

Why do we conduct mixed methods research? And How do we integrate qualitative and quantitative data in mixed methods research?

In conflict settings, conducting comprehensive and nuanced health research requires a combination of quantitative and qualitative approaches. The integration of these two methodologies enables researchers to gain a deeper understanding of the complex dynamics, social contexts, and lived experiences of individuals and communities affected by conflict. This article explores the importance of integrating qualitative and quantitative approaches in conflict settings health research, along with practical examples that highlight the value of this integration.

  1. Complementary Nature of Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches: Quantitative approaches, such as surveys and statistical analyses, provide valuable data on prevalence rates, health outcomes, and impact assessments. On the other hand, qualitative approaches, including interviews, focus groups, and observations, delve into the underlying factors, social determinants, and personal narratives that shape health experiences in conflict settings. Integrating these two approaches allows for a more comprehensive understanding of the complexities involved.

Example 1: Mental Health in Conflict-Affected Communities: A study conducted in a conflict-affected region aimed to assess the mental health status and factors influencing resilience among internally displaced persons (IDPs). The quantitative component involved administering standardized mental health questionnaires to a large sample of IDPs, yielding data on prevalence rates of common mental disorders. Simultaneously, qualitative interviews were conducted with a smaller subset of participants to explore their coping mechanisms, experiences of trauma, and social support networks. Integrating the qualitative narratives with the quantitative data helped contextualize the findings and provided a deeper understanding of the multifaceted nature of mental health in the specific conflict setting.

Example 2: Access to Healthcare in Conflict Zones: A research project focused on understanding the barriers to accessing healthcare services in conflict zones. The quantitative aspect involved surveying a representative sample of healthcare facilities to collect data on availability, accessibility, and utilization of services. Concurrently, qualitative interviews were conducted with healthcare providers, community leaders, and affected individuals to explore their experiences, perceptions, and challenges related to healthcare access. Integrating the quantitative data on service availability with the qualitative insights into individual experiences and community dynamics helped identify structural barriers, cultural beliefs, and social factors influencing access to healthcare.

  1. Benefits of Integration: Integrating qualitative and quantitative approaches in conflict settings health research offers several advantages. It allows for a more comprehensive understanding of the contextual factors influencing health outcomes, enhances the validity and reliability of findings, and provides insights into the social and cultural dimensions of health in conflict-affected populations. The integration also helps identify potential gaps or contradictions between the qualitative and quantitative data, leading to a more nuanced interpretation of the findings.

Conclusion: Integrating qualitative and quantitative approaches in conflict settings health research is essential for obtaining a comprehensive understanding of the health challenges faced by affected populations. By combining the strengths of both methodologies, researchers can gain insights into the interplay between individual experiences, community dynamics, and broader socio-political factors. The examples provided highlight the value of this integration and emphasize the need for interdisciplinary collaboration to address the complex health issues in conflict-affected settings. Integrating qualitative and quantitative approaches enhances the evidence base for interventions, policies, and programs aimed at improving health outcomes and addressing the specific needs of populations living in conflict.


Venkatesh, Viswanath, Sue A. Brown, and Yulia Sullivan. “Guidelines for conducting mixed-methods research: An extension and illustration.” Venkatesh, V., Brown, SA, and Sullivan, YW’Guidelines for Conducting Mixed-methods Research: An Extension and Illustration,’Journal of the AIS (17: 7) (2016): 435-495.

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Conducting Health Research in Conflict Settings: Navigating Research Challenges for Impactful Evidence

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