Adding narratives to numbers in a mixed methods study of successful ageing: The 6-day sample of the Scottish Mental Survey 1947

Jd Carpentieri*, Jane Elliott, Caroline Brett, Ian Deary

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This article details the development and potential uses of a qualitative sub-study within a quantitative, longitudinal study of a Scottish cohort born in 1936 (the 6-Day Sample). Analysing narratives and other biographical interview material, we explore the potential of mixed methods research designs to improve the study of successful ageing, a widely used but contested concept. While acknowledging the critiques of successful ageing, we suggest that the concept can be improved by the adoption of mixed method research strategies that address key criticisms, in particular the lack of attention to older people’s own voices. Including those voices in our study alongside researcher-defined outcome measures, we explore the reasons underlying some older people’s ’spiky profiles', i.e. positive outcomes in some domains and negative outcomes in others. We also investigate the potential benefits and challenges of taking a qualitative approach to the most well known process-focused model of successful ageing: Selection, Optimisation and Compensation (SOC). We conclude that a narratively informed mixed methods research design offers the potential for more comprehensive and nuanced approach to successful ageing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-92
Number of pages26
JournalSociological Research Online
Volume21
Issue number2
Early online date31 May 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2016

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • ageing
  • mixed methods
  • narrative
  • older people
  • optimisation and compensation
  • selection
  • successful ageing

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