26 April 2019
Although patients express an interest in using mobile health (mHealth) interventions to manage their health and chronic conditions, many current mHealth interventions are difficult to use. Usability testing is critical for the success of novel mHealth interventions. Researchers recognize the utility of using qualitative and quantitative approaches for usability testing, but many mHealth researchers lack the awareness of integration approaches from advances in mixed methods research that can add value to mHealth technology.
As efficient usability testing proceeds iteratively, we introduce a novel mixed methods design developed specifically for mHealth researchers. The iterative convergent mixed methods design involves simultaneous qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis that continues cyclically through multiple rounds of mixed methods data collection and analysis until the mHealth technology under evaluation is found to work to the satisfaction of the researcher. In cyclical iterations, early development is more qualitatively driven but progressively becomes more quantitatively driven. Using this design, mHealth researchers can leverage mixed methods integration procedures in the research question, data collection, data analysis, interpretation, and dissemination dimensions.
This study demonstrates how the iterative convergent mixed methods design provides a novel framework for generating unique insights into multifaceted phenomena impacting mHealth usability. Understanding these practices can help developers and researchers leverage the strengths of an integrated mixed methods design.