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Profiles of Cheryl Poth and Elizabeth Creamer.

Dr. Cheryl Poth (L) and Dr. Elizabeth Creamer (R) are the research scholars for the 2022 Helen Glass Research Symposium, hosted by the College of Nursing.

Nursing research symposium returns virtually

September 12, 2022 — 

The Helen Glass Research Symposium, presented by the College of Nursing, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, returns September 26 and 28 in a virtual setting, with a focus on mixed methods research.

The symposium is held in honour of the late Dr. Helen Glass [Cert.Nurs.(T&S)/58], former director of the University of Manitoba School of Nursing and a dedicated pioneer of the nursing profession.

This year’s virtual event will feature a public lecture and an interactive research workshop featuring two internationally renowned scholars specializing in mixed methods research, an approach that combines elements of both quantitative and qualitative research within the same study.

On Sept. 26, Dr. Cheryl Poth, professor and faculty member of the Centre for Research in Applied Measurement and Evaluation at the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Education, will present a lecture on the societal possibilities of mixed method research, which she describes as a “rapidly evolving field.”

Poth developed and taught the first mixed methods course at the University of Alberta, starting in 2011. She was also involved in the launch of the Mixed Methods International Research Association and served several roles on its board including as president.

She said she was initially drawn to the field because it allowed her to see research differently.

“When you have two different perspectives, you actually have more information to make an informed decision. Whether your tendency is qualitative or quantitative, it doesn’t matter, mixed methods is a field where everyone can learn and gain new insights,” she said.

She noted that people mix data methods all the time in day-to-day life, and used COVID research and mask-wearing as an example.

“If I’m thinking about whether or not I should wear a mask, I could consult with my friends in the neighbourhood about what’s going on and collect information on our experiences, but some of the quantitative indicators, like wastewater data, are also worth paying attention to,” she said.

Poth said she will discuss the basics of mixed methods, for those who are new to the concept, but also look at where it is headed. She said many health science researchers are already leading the field.

“Health science, where appropriate, continues to move beyond quantitative-focused randomized control trials,” she said. “We see a lot of examples now where the patient experience is factored in, and I think we would all agree that we actually want the patient experience to have a fair bit of clout in many our studies.”

Dr. Elizabeth Creamer, professor emerita from educational research and evaluation at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, will present a workshop on Sept. 28 that will focus on innovative strategies to integrate different types of data in qualitatively oriented mixed methods research, with particular attention to how these methods have been used in nursing and the health sciences.

Creamer’s background is in education, research methodology and issues related to gender and women’s roles in science and technology. She is a past-president of the Mixed Method Research Association and served on the board at the same time as Poth.

She said she has used many examples of research from nursing scholars, particularly in one of her text books, Advancing Grounded Theory with Mixed Methods (2021). She is currently working on a third textbook, which will deal with using visual methods in mixed methods research.

She describes grounded theory as “a way of constructing theory qualitatively or inductively rather than using a hypothesis testing approach.”

“Grounded theory has been taken up widely in the nursing world. Because of the recognition of the importance of understanding patients’ perspectives, it’s been used a lot to study chronic illness,” she said.

Dr. Christina West, symposium chair and associate professor at the College of Nursing, said she is excited to welcome Poth and Creamer as the symposium’s 2022 research scholars.

“Their unique expertise as international leaders in the field of mixed methods research methodology will facilitate important learning and dialogue between students and faculty at the University of Manitoba and beyond.”

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