An integrative review on methodological considerations in mental health research - Design, sampling, data collection procedure and quality assurance

Eric Badu, Anthony Paul O'Brien, Rebecca Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Several typologies and guidelines are available to address the methodological and practical considerations required in mental health research. However, few studies have actually attempted to systematically identify and synthesise these considerations. This paper provides an integrative review that identifies and synthesises the available research evidence on mental health research methodological considerations. Methods: A search of the published literature was conducted using EMBASE, Medline, PsycINFO, CINAHL, Web of Science, and Scopus. The search was limited to papers published in English for the timeframe 2000-2018. Using pre-defined inclusion and exclusion criteria, three reviewers independently screened the retrieved papers. A data extraction form was used to extract data from the included papers. Results: Of 27 papers meeting the inclusion criteria, 13 focused on qualitative research, 8 mixed methods and 6 papers focused on quantitative methodology. A total of 14 papers targeted global mental health research, with 2 papers each describing studies in Germany, Sweden and China. The review identified several methodological considerations relating to study design, methods, data collection, and quality assurance. Methodological issues regarding the study design included assembling team members, familiarisation and sharing information on the topic, and seeking the contribution of team members. Methodological considerations to facilitate data collection involved adequate preparation prior to fieldwork, appropriateness and adequacy of the sampling and data collection approach, selection of consumers, the social or cultural context, practical and organisational skills; and ethical and sensitivity issues. Conclusion: The evidence confirms that studies on methodological considerations in conducting mental health research largely focus on qualitative studies in a transcultural setting, as well as recommendations derived from multi-site surveys. Mental health research should adequately consider the methodological issues around study design, sampling, data collection procedures and quality assurance in order to maintain the quality of data collection.

Original languageEnglish
Article number37
Number of pages15
JournalArchives of Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Data collection
  • Mental health
  • Methodological approach
  • Mixed methods
  • Sampling

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