Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education, Research Methods and Information Science, Research Methods and Statistics

First Advisor

Kathy E. Green

Second Advisor

Duan Zhang

Third Advisor

Antonio Olmos

Fourth Advisor

Frederique Chevillot


Comprehensive research synthesis, Meta-analysis, Mixed methods synthesis, Qualitative synthesis, Quantitative synthesis, Research synthesis


Mixed methods research synthesis (MMRS) is an emerging application of both mixed-methods research (MMR) and review research. MMRS promises to comprehensively address intricate contemporary research and evaluation questions given diverse evidence sources (across quantitative, qualitative, and MMR primary studies). The significance of concurrently addressing methodological issues for new research developments is widely noted in the literature. Current efforts attempt to streamline methodological practices along with application of the MMRS approach. Researchers have proposed conceptual frameworks to guide the application and practice of MMRS studies. Despite these efforts, complications and disagreements persist. In response to these concerns, this study developed a framework synergizing evidence on the strengths and weaknesses of existing MMRS frameworks and the related literature. The Comprehensive Research Synthesis (CRS) framework addresses existing framework discrepancies, providing a tool for reforming current MMRS practices.

The CRS framework is informed by the findings of a critical review and preceded by a scoping review for inclusiveness. An expert review provided further insight on its development. The scoping review yielded fifty-seven application studies and fourteen methodological studies. The review of the application studies provided information on general characteristics, current MMRS frameworks, and current trends in the MMRS field. The review of the methodological studies in later critical review stages added information on key MMRS frameworks, their strengths and weaknesses, and pointed to the two most prevalent frameworks in the field. This information led to the development of the initial CRS draft and the expert review stage of the study.

An initial list of prospective reviewers active in the field was created during this review stage. The expert review process identified a target list of seven participants following broad communication efforts. Interviews conducted via Zoom over a period of six weeks were manually transcribed and analyzed as multiple case studies. Cross-case analysis highlighted similarities and differences in responses. The findings and themes reinforced concerns and issues about MMRS studies in the literature. An unforeseen concern regarding the classification of realist reviews under MMRS frameworks emerged. This concern spoke to the definition, purpose, and practice of MMRS studies in relation to that for realist reviews. The findings and themes informed discussions and recommendations for MMRS frameworks, the practice of MMRS studies, and the MMRS field, while enlightening revisions for the initial CRS.

Revisions of the draft CRS targeted its structure, content, language, and terminology. The CRS offers a comprehensive yet versatile tool for MMRS studies. The CRS includes notes, tips, and examples for implementing proposed steps, making it appealing for guiding the practice of MMRS studies. The CRS takes into account the perspectives of current experts in the field. There is, of course, room for improvement given current methodological, conceptual, and practical issues in the review and MMRS fields. Practical examples will further inform the MMRS field and future amendments to the CRS and other MMRS frameworks, and the MMRS field.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Lilian Linialy Chimuma


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

503 p.


Social research, Social sciences education, Statistics

Available for download on Monday, September 02, 2024