In the field of education, researchers are always looking for the best ways to improve learning outcomes. Longitudinal mixed-methods studies are increasingly being used to examine how students develop and grow over time, providing valuable insights into what factors contribute to learning gains. In this article, we will explore what a longitudinal mixed-methods study is and how it can be used to improve learning outcomes.

What is a Longitudinal Mixed-Methods Study?

One important consideration when designing longitudinal mixed-methods studies is the selection of appropriate data collection methods and time intervals. Researchers must carefully select the types of data they will collect, as well as the timing and frequency of data collection points.

For quantitative data, researchers may use surveys or standardized tests to collect numerical data that can be analyzed statistically. Surveys can be administered at specific intervals or on an ongoing basis, depending on the research question and the nature of the phenomenon being studied. Standardized tests may be used to measure specific knowledge or skills at multiple points in time, allowing researchers to track changes over time.

Qualitative data, on the other hand, is collected through open-ended questions, interviews, observations, and other methods that allow for an in-depth exploration of participants' experiences and perspectives. Qualitative data collection may occur less frequently than quantitative data collection, but it can provide valuable insights into the meaning and context of participants' experiences and actions.

Researchers must also consider the timing and frequency of data collection points. The intervals between data collection points should be carefully chosen to capture changes in the phenomenon of interest, while also minimizing participant burden and data collection costs. The intervals may vary depending on the research question and the nature of the phenomenon being studied. For instance, a study on the impact of a new teaching approach may require data collection at specific points in the school year, while a study on the impact of a pandemic on mental health may require more frequent data collection points to capture changes over time.

In addition to selecting appropriate data collection methods and time intervals, researchers must also consider how to address challenges such as attrition, where participants drop out of the study over time. Researchers must develop strategies to keep participants engaged and motivated to remain involved in the study, such as providing incentives or regularly updating participants on the study's progress. Researchers must also plan for the possibility of attrition and develop strategies to ensure that the remaining sample remains representative of the target population.

Overall, designing and conducting longitudinal mixed-methods studies in education research requires careful planning, implementation, and ethical considerations. Researchers must consider the appropriate data collection methods and time intervals, address potential challenges such as attrition, and ensure the protection of participants' privacy and confidentiality throughout the study.

Examples of Longitudinal Mixed-Methods Studies of Learning Gain

Example 1: Norwegian Preservice Teachers' Beliefs About Sources of Teaching Knowledge and Motivation to Learn From Theory and Practice

This study used a longitudinal mixed-methods design to investigate the beliefs of Norwegian preservice teachers about the sources of teaching knowledge and their motivation to learn from theory and practice. The study collected both quantitative data (using surveys) and qualitative data (using interviews) at multiple points in time. The researchers found that the preservice teachers' beliefs about the sources of teaching knowledge changed over time and that their motivation to learn from theory and practice was influenced by their beliefs about the origins of teaching knowledge.

Example 2: Youth Experiences in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the experiences of young people worldwide. A range of studies and reports have documented the challenges and disruptions experienced by youth in various areas of their lives, including education, mental health, family relationships, and access to supportive services.

Many of these reports note that the pandemic's impact has not been equal across all youth populations. Inequities that existed before the pandemic have been amplified, resulting in greater risks for mental health problems, suicide, substance abuse, and racism. In particular, young people who experience disconnection from school and work often referred to as "opportunity youth," have faced additional challenges, including the loss of job training and supportive services.

Studies have shown that many young people have experienced emotional abuse by parents or other adults in the home, including swearing, insults, and put-downs. There has also been an increase in mental health problems among youth, including anxiety and depression.

The pandemic has disrupted the normal routines of young people, causing family hardships, associated stress, and increased incidence of mental health problems worldwide. As a result, many youths have reported concerns and impacts related to the pandemic, including worries about their mental health and missing school activities. Studies have shown that students reported significantly lower optimism, lower life satisfaction, and higher sadness compared to the previous year.

Youth organizations and policy-makers have identified mental health as a top concern, followed by education and employment outcomes, familial relations and friendships, and limitations on individual freedoms. The pandemic's impact on youth has been profound and will likely have long-term consequences that will need to be addressed by governments, communities, and other stakeholders.

Example 3: The Effects of the FAN Curriculum on Residents' Empathy Levels and Ability to Communicate with Parents

Study that explores the impact of the FAN Communication Tool on residents' empathy levels and ability to communicate with parents. The study is designed using a delayed-start crossover study design, and the impact is measured at five different time points using validated instruments for measuring physician empathy and mindfulness.

Empathy is described as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. Studies have shown that empathy is essential in various settings, including healthcare, relationships, and education. In healthcare, empathetic behaviors have been found to lead to higher satisfaction levels and better health outcomes for patients. However, empathy could decrease over time, especially during training and clinical practice. Thus, it is crucial to explore factors that contribute to the development of empathy in the healthcare setting.

The FAN curriculum appears to be a tool used in this study to improve residents' communication skills and empathy levels when interacting with parents. The study aims to determine the effectiveness of the FAN curriculum and its impact on residents' ability to empathize and communicate effectively with parents. The study's findings could be used to improve the quality of healthcare by providing better communication and empathy from healthcare professionals.

In summary, the provided web search results suggest that the study aims to evaluate the effects of the FAN curriculum on residents' empathy levels and ability to communicate with parents. The study could have implications for improving the quality of healthcare by enhancing healthcare professionals' communication skills and empathy levels.


Longitudinal mixed-methods studies can provide valuable insights into how students develop and grow over time. By combining quantitative and qualitative data collection methods, these studies can help researchers gain a deeper understanding of the complex processes that shape learning and development. The examples provided demonstrate the versatility and efficacy of this research method. Therefore, it is important for researchers in the field of education to consider the use of longitudinal mixed-methods studies when investigating learning gain.