The use of mixed methods to advance positive psychology: A methodological review




A call for diverse research approaches in positive psychology by the International Positive Psychology Association (2015) and the Journal of Positive Psychology (2017) challenged psychology researchers to consider methodology outside traditional quantitative methods. The purpose of this methodological review was to examine the use of mixed methods approaches in empirical studies in positive psychology. The review identified 56 positive psychology articles published between 2010 and 2019 that used a mixed methods approach. To our knowledge, this is the first review of mixed methods methodology in the field of positive psychology. The small number of published articles in that period indicate mixed methods is either not currently a widely used methodology in the field or it is being used without identifying terminology. Those studies using mixed methods often used positive psychology to inform an intervention in the quantitative strand and gathered interviews within the qualitative strand. Opportunities for growth for positive psychology researchers include interpreting data in mixed methods style and strengthening the identification of key features of the approach in the text.


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Author Biographies

Rachael S. Clark, Northern Kentucky University

Dr. Clark is a Lecturer and Academic Advisor at Northern Kentucky University. She is a positive clinical psychologist and mixed methods research methodologist. Her research interests include integrating multiple sources of data to understand research phenomena more deeply and exploring positive psychological experiences as predictor variables.

Vicki L. Plano Clark, University of Cincinnati

Vicki L. Plano Clark is a professor in the Research Methods area of the School of Education.  She advises students in the Quantitative and Mixed Methods Research Methodologies (QMRM) concentration of the Educational Studies doctoral program and the Applied Research Methods (ARM) track of the Educational Studies master's program.