Strategies to Enhance Qualitative and Mixed Methods Research Instruction to Prepare MPH Students for Public Health Practice


  • Sheryl L. Chatfield College of Public Health, Kent State University



Mixed methods, Qualitative, Public health accreditation, Master of Public Health, Research instruction


Background: The 2016 Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) accreditation guidelines for Master of Public Health (MPH) programs describe skills, including qualitative and quantitative research skills while removing the requirement to structure programs around 5 designated core areas. These revised guidelines provide an opportunity to integrate qualitative and mixed methods instruction in multiple courses. The purpose of this paper is to describe process and outcomes of a project aimed at integrating qualitative and mixed methods content into core courses within the Kent State University MPH program.

Methods: Content development work was conducted from May through October 2019. The work consisted of content analysis of current core course content, research texts, practicum presentations, and feedback from alumni working in public health practice. Five key qualitative processes that support CEPH competencies and reflect current public health practice in Ohio were articulated to form a framework for new course content.

Results: New content was developed for each of the 6 current core MPH courses to address CEPH competencies, incorporate the identified 5 key processes, and to emphasize cross-methodological comparison and the complementary nature of qualitative and quantitative approaches to research questions or practice issues. Initial student responses to content were positive; further evaluation efforts are planned.

Conclusion: New content provides MPH students with skills practice associated with qualitative and mixed methods approaches to research and applied public health. To address complex public health challenges, current and future public health professionals will benefit from being able to flexibly move across methodological boundaries.






Public Health Education