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Mixed-Methods Approach to Address Abortion Stigma: A Necessity in Resource-Limited Settings Where Safe Abortion Is Restricted

By: Published: 2020 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases: Medicine and Health
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Given the inherent sensitivity of this research topic—namely, adolescents’ attitudes regarding sexual intercourse, contraceptive use, unintended pregnancy, and abortion—we chose a mixed-methods design, employing both qualitative and quantitative methods with a view, first, to deeper understanding of the sociocultural context, and, second, to the development of measuring instruments for this sensitive topic and adaptation to a sensitive population. By mixing both quantitative and qualitative approaches and data, we aimed to gain in breadth and depth of understanding and corroboration while offsetting the weaknesses inherent to using either approach by itself. In addition, such a combination of methods can help to ensure the validity and reliability of the results. However, this mixed-methods design had some disadvantages and limitations. The research design was very complex. Among the lessons learned, initial planning needs to take into consideration that it is time- and resource-consuming to design and implement this type of research. Planning and implementing one method by drawing on the findings of another proved to be difficult. Nevertheless, we encourage other researchers to pursue this path, despite the challenges, because the holistic view we achieved in this way was essential to our understanding of the root causes of a sensitive topic—abortion and contraceptive use stigma. This kind of sharing and debate can only help us to progress toward a better understanding of these phenomena.

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