Title: Mixed Methods in International Health Research
Keywords: Research
Quantitative methods
Qualitative methods
Country: Germany
Institution: Germany - Heidelberg Institute of Global Health, University of Heidelberg
Course coordinator: Malabika Sarker
Dr. Aurelia Souares
Date start: 2024-06-03
Date end: 2024-06-14
About duration and dates: 2 weeks
Classification: advanced optional
Mode of delivery: Face to face
Course location: Heidelberg
ECTS credit points: 3 ECTS credits
SIT: 90h SIT (65 direct contact hours: 35 hours of lectures and 30 hours of facilitated group work) and 25 hours self-directed learning.
Language: English
Description: Focusing on the joint application of quantitative and qualitative tools and methods, this course aims to train participants to conduct mixed methods research.
At the end of the module the student should be able to:
• Apply the knowledge and skills acquired in class to develop and write an individual research protocol in international health using a mixed methods approach.
• Discuss and reflect on the epistemology of research and its direct influence on the methodological choices in the everyday practice of research in international health.
• Identify the most common quantitative and qualitative methodological tools used in research in international health;
• Critically analyse the role and the specific contribution of mixing quantitative and qualitative methods to research in international health.
• Assess which research questions and in which situations require the application of mixed methods research.
Assessment Procedures: Course participants are expected to attend teaching sessions and individual tutoring within small group sessions and actively participate in class discussion and group work.

Assessment of participants’ achievement of the learning objectives will be determined by:
• Peer-assessment of oral group presentation on selected case studies using checklist with defined assessment criteria: 30%
• Individual written research proposal (3500 words +/- 10%) to be delivered at the end of the course: 70%

If students do not reach the passing mark of 60% (from the combined two individual grades), an opportunity is offered to redo the proposal within one month after announcement of grade results.
Content: The course covers the following topics:
• Overview of epistemology of research with an emphasis on the critical assessment of theories on how knowledge is generated and retained
• Analytical appraisal of quantitative and qualitative methods as applied in different areas of research in international health
• Theory and practice of mixing quantitative and qualitative research methods: answering questions: Why? What? When? How?
• Debatable aspects of using mixed methods in international health research
• Personal skills development in the application of mixed methods research both in high and low- and middle-income countries
• Case studies of mixed methods research in the fields of global health, ex.: malaria control, HIV/AIDS, health financing, women’s health, and clinical management etc.
• Planning, designing, and writing an individual mixed methods research protocol suitable for grant application
Methods: The course uses a mixture of conceptual teaching and case studies from the field to illustrate the role of mixed methodology and instruct participants on its applicability in international health research both in high and low- and middle-income countries.

The course is composed of a series of
• lectures
• class discussions
• tutor guided group exercises
• self-directed learning
• peer review
• individual tutoring

Lectures and class discussions based on the lectures make up about 40% of the course time. The group exercises and the self-directed learning make up another 30% of the course time. Individual tutoring to support self-directed learning makes up another 30% of course time.

Participants will work individually and in groups. Students will be divided into groups of max 5 people with similar interests and/or areas of focus.
Individual tutoring on their own research protocol will be delivered by one of the lecturers within these pre-established groups. This arrangement will allow both the lecturer and the peers to comment and offer feedback already during the proposal development phase.
Prerequisites: English TOEFL test 550 or 213 computer-based or 79/80 internet-based or IELTS band 6.0
Attendance: To secure the good quality of the individual tutoring, participation is limited to 15 students including tropEd students.
Selection: Interested participants are required to submit a one-page research outline with the registration describing the basic research idea (including research question, justification, and methodology) which they wish to develop into a research protocol during the course.
Eligible students will be accepted on the basis of this initial research outline. TropEd students are not allowed to submit as a research outline the same concept developed for their master thesis.
Fees: General admission: 1.500 €
tropEd students: 1.000 €
None available
Major changes since initial accreditation: Course coordinators changed.
Reading list has been updated and relevant articles/documents on emerging public health problems were added over time.
Student evaluation: The course average score was always between 1-2 (1 is the best) in the participants’ assessments.

Examples of positive impressions:
• This course is very well organized, with an intensive 2 weeks of learning, tutoring, supervising, sharing ideas and significantly improving own research project proposals. As a doctoral student working on a mixed methods research project, I have learned a lot of important aspects, that I will immediately apply to my doctoral project and it will also have a long-term positive impact on my future career, not only the successful completion of my PhD dissertation

•The personal tutoring-> many honest, creative and constructive remarks, individual counselling that goes beyond questions that can be raised during lectures

• Great group work (confront yourself with attitudes and ethics of others)

• It was one of my best courses I have done during my studies. The perfect mixture of theory and realisation (applying the theory within a study idea). And the icing on the cake is that we have a product in our hands, when we finish the course! I will highly recommend this course in future!

Suggestions for improvements:
• More field experience discussions, practical hints
• More time to write
• Examples lectures took too much space and went too much into details of the specific projects and thus lost a bit of the focus on design
The only recommendation I would have is to have at least additional 2 days to submit the course assignment - mixed methods
proposal (20-15-page long protocol). We had 2 weeks of intensive course, lectures, interactions, group works and we were supposed
to submit assignment in the last day of the course, which is a challenge considering the limited time.

These comments have been considered in the curriculum of the course, including more practical hints and a better structuration of the case studies presentation.
Lessons learned: The experience of these first few years confirmed the need to maintain the course small (max 12-16 students, max 4 per tutor) and to insist for a final written protocol in place of an exam. We received positive feedback from many participants having implemented their research protocols afterwards.
tropEd accreditation: Accredited in tropEd meeting in Heidelberg, January 2010 and re-accredited in April 2016. Re-accredited June GA 2021. Valid until June 2026.
Remarks: Research in international health is becoming increasingly complex, requiring scientists to move away from the traditional quantitative vs. qualitative methodological dichotomy.
This traditional dichotomy has proved no longer to be the most effective in providing answers to the public health problems emerging both in high income and low- and middle-income countries.
Mixed methods research represents an opportunity to build on the specific strengths of quantitative and qualitative research methods to foster synergies between the two which may allow for a more comprehensive understanding of the problems at stake.
Email Address: anne-kathrin.fabricius@uni-heidelberg.de
Date Of Record Creation: 2012-01-10 02:23:08 (W3C-DTF)
Date Of Record Release: 2018-06-10 13:35:39 (W3C-DTF)
Date Record Checked: 2022-01-21 (W3C-DTF)
Date Last Modified: 2024-01-23 10:02:08 (W3C-DTF)