Development of a Self-Rated Mixed Methods Skills Assessment: The National Institutes of Health Mixed Methods Research Training Program for the Health Sciences

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Abstract

Introduction:

Demand for training in mixed methods is high, with little research on faculty development or assessment in mixed methods. We describe the development of a self-rated mixed methods skills assessment and provide validity evidence. The instrument taps six research domains: “Research question,” “Design/approach,” “Sampling,” “Data collection,” “Analysis,” and “Dissemination.” Respondents are asked to rate their ability to define or explain concepts of mixed methods under each domain, their ability to apply the concepts to problems, and the extent to which they need to improve.

Methods:

We administered the questionnaire to 145 faculty and students using an internet survey. We analyzed descriptive statistics and performance characteristics of the questionnaire using the Cronbach alpha to assess reliability and an analysis of variance that compared a mixed methods experience index with assessment scores to assess criterion relatedness.

Results:

Internal consistency reliability was high for the total set of items (0.95) and adequate (≥0.71) for all but one subscale. Consistent with establishing criterion validity, respondents who had more professional experiences with mixed methods (eg, published a mixed methods article) rated themselves as more skilled, which was statistically significant across the research domains.

Discussion:

This self-rated mixed methods assessment instrument may be a useful tool to assess skills in mixed methods for training programs. It can be applied widely at the graduate and faculty level. For the learner, assessment may lead to enhanced motivation to learn and training focused on self-identified needs. For faculty, the assessment may improve curriculum and course content planning.

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