Original Research

Mixed-methods research: A tutorial for speech-language therapists and audiologists in South Africa

Anna-Marie Wium, Brenda Louw
South African Journal of Communication Disorders | Vol 65, No 1 | a573 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v65i1.573 | © 2018 Anna-Marie Wium, Brenda Louw | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 August 2017 | Published: 12 July 2018

About the author(s)

Anna-Marie Wium, Discipline Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, South Africa
Brenda Louw, Department of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology, College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences, East Tennessee State University, United States

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Background: Mixed-methods research (MMR) offers much to healthcare professions on clinical and research levels. Speech-language therapists and audiologists work in both educational and health settings where they deal with real-world problems. Through the nature of their work, they are confronted with multifaceted questions arising from their efforts to provide evidence-based services to individuals of all ages with communication disorders. MMR methods research is eminently suited to addressing such questions.


Objective: The aim of this tutorial is to increase awareness of the value of MMR, especially for readers less familiar with this research approach.


Method: A literature review was conducted to provide an overview of the key issues in MMR. The tutorial discusses the various issues to be considered in the critical appraisal of MMR, followed by an explanation of the process of conducting MMR. A critical review describes the strengths and challenges in MMR.


Results: MMR is less commonly used or published in the fields of speech-language therapy and audiology.


Conclusion: Researchers working in teams can draw on the strengths of different disciples and their research approaches. Such collaborative enterprises will contribute to capacity building. Researchers, SLTs and audiologists are encouraged to make use of MMR to address the complex research issues in the multicultural, multifaceted South African context. MMR makes an important contribution to the understanding of individuals with communication disorders, and in turn, researchers in the two disciplinary fields of speech-language therapy and audiology can contribute to the development of this research approach. MMR is well suited to the complexity of South African contexts and its populations, as it can provide multiple perspectives of a topic.


mixed-methods approach; pragmatism; evidence based practice; research designs; methodology; integration and design quality; legitimisation; critical review


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