Understanding the Experience of Stroke: A Mixed-Method Research Agenda

The use of both quantitative and qualitative strategies to examine a single research question has been a subject of considerable controversy and still remains a largely uncommon practice in the sociology of health and illness. Yet, when seeking to understand the meaning of a chronic disabling condition in later life from a social psychological perspective, a mixed-method approach is likely to provide the most comprehensive picture. This article provides an overview of the usefulness and appropriateness of a mixed-method approach to understanding the stroke experience. I comment on the current state of research on the experience of stroke, including epistemological and ontological orientations. Using real data examples, I address paradigmatic assumptions, methods of integration, as well as challenges and pitfalls in integrating methods. I conclude by considering future directions in this field of research.