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Outline some considerations that are unique (why to use and when to use) for conducting mixed methods research.

Discussion: Meghan’s Case

This group discussion represents the final presentation of Meaghan’s case in the lessons. This time we will consider mixed-methods and the kinds of research that would be done with type 2 diabetes, including the analysis and interpretation of mixed methods data.
Meaghan met Alberto, a marketer working for a leader pharmaceutical company. He is in charge of promoting a new product designed to counter the effects of type 2 diabetes. Alberto is aware that, currently, the use of social media may have a direct impact on pharmaceutical sales and brand reputations, and he is thinking about gaining more opportunities from what patients are discussing in social media networking.
Many patients question their treatment options and refer to expert opinions, other patients’ experiences, and online discussions about the use of specific medication(s). With the increased popularity of tools such as Twitter, Facebook and other online communities, patients can interact with other patients as well as healthcare service providers and pharmaceutical companies. The first place many people seek medical information is online. Patients also share information online about their thoughts, habits, and experiences. This information can be valuable for marketers in getting feedback about the use of the product and to gather information that may improve the effectiveness of the product, increase the quality of care, and extend patients’ lives. For instance, Johnson & Johnson have created an active social presence that utilizes a blog focused on stories of employees, wellness information, and corporate content. The blog is supplemented with YouTube and Facebook pages.

Before considering the option of using social media, Alberto needs to conduct research in order to investigate the main motivations that drive patients’ involvement in social media activities, and how social media might help diabetics in their everyday life. Alberto is thinking about conducting research in two stages. One, through using a focus group at the first stage of the study to explore the underlying motivations as well as the benefits that diabetics are seeking through the use of social media; followed by a second stage, using a survey to assess the relative importance of the motivations and benefits (i.e., what is the most/ least instrumental motivation that impacts the involvement of diabetics in health care social media, what is the most valuable benefits that diabetics might seek, etc.).
Alberto needs your help to design the mixed methods research. Alberto will be thankful if you can respond to his questions, as that might provide him with some valuable insights.

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Answer the questions
1. Explain why mixed methods research is advantageous to answer the research question.
2. Outline some considerations that are unique (why to use and when to use) for conducting mixed methods research.
3. Give an overview of the strengths and challenges of mixed methods research.
4. From the case study, determine the type of design strategy that Alberto is planning to use.
5. Describe the aspects of timing, weighting, mixing, and theorizing associated with this strategy.
6. How might Alberto analyze this data? Ensure that your answer is informed by the type of design he is planning to use and how might Alberto interpret this data?

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