September 07, 2009

Analysing the Literature

These documents contain summaries of the literature analysed. The excel spread sheet contains basic information about the type of study and methods used to get an overview of the scope of the literature and the methods used. These documents will provide a starting point from which to start writing the review. By going through each article separately, it was possible to get a more in depth look at the issues and themes in the literature than had been possible with earlier scoping.





August 11, 2009

Categorisation by Method

In order to undertake a mixed methods literature review, the types of methods used within the studies are of central importance. The key questions these documents consider are 1) How and where do researchers use mixed methods to investigate this topic? 2) Which mixed methods designs are employed, and why? By referencing the literature on mixed methods research, which offers various typologies for classifying mixed methods studies, these entries provide the researchers' reflections on how their respective fields  are methodologically characterised.




Mapping the Literature

The documents attached to this entry detail the researchers' 'mapping' of the literature. Having performed broad, and then refined searches, 'mapping' can be understood as the processes by which researchers get a 'feel' for the literature; identifying the key substantive themes around which research is clustered, the complex interconnections between these substantive themes as well as names and ideas of influential authors in the field whose work has sculpted the landscape of the literature and informed the direction of subsequent research.





Narrowing the Search

Having undertaken broad searches initally, the researchers then had to devise ways of narrowing down their searches in order to focus on their specific topic areas. The documents below detail how each researcher approached this refinement of their literature scoping.




First Ventures into the Literature

These documents reflect the researches first ventures into the literature on their respective topics. Approaching the literature on any given topic for the first time can be a daunting experience, and in the accounts below, the researchers discuss the issues they faced at this very early stage of the review and how they overcame them.



Defining the Task

This blog has the purpose of demonstrating, through the use of two researchers' narrative accounts, the processes involved in undertaking a mixed methods literature review. Each blog entry represents a step along the research process, and whilst designed to be read as a step-by-step narrative account, entries can be read as stand-alone discussion points around which readers are invited to comment or offer their own experiences . The topics of investigation are different for each researcher, with one investigating 'interventions for depression in educational settings' and the other exploring 'communication, depression and primary care'. These topics were chosen as they represent two different purposes to which mixed methods research may be put- evaluations of interventions and descriptive studies. Each blog entry will have two documents attached to reflect each researcher's account; one will have an 'intervention' label, and the other a 'communication' label, to distinguish between them and allow readers to follow the development of each project through the blog entries. The blog entries are thus reflexive accounts of the trials, explorations, obstacles and illuminations encountered when undertaking mixed methods research reviews, and readers are encouraged to use the entries as a resource to better understand how literature reviews may be approached, and also to reflexively engage with their own research practices.



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