Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Five common pitfalls in mixed methods systematic reviews: lessons learned.

Lizarondo, Lucylynn; Stern, Cindy; Apostolo, Joao; Carrier, Judith; de Borges, Kelli; Godfrey, Christina; Kirkpatrick, Pamela; Pollock, Danielle; Rieger, Kendra; Salmond, Susan; Vandyk, Amanda; Loveday, Heather


Lucylynn Lizarondo

Cindy Stern

Joao Apostolo

Judith Carrier

Kelli de Borges

Christina Godfrey

Pamela Kirkpatrick

Danielle Pollock

Kendra Rieger

Susan Salmond

Amanda Vandyk

Heather Loveday


Mixed methods systematic reviews (MMSRs) combine quantitative and qualitative evidence within a single review. Since the revision of the JBI methodology for MMSRs in 2020, there has been an increasing number of reviews published that claim to follow this approach. A preliminary examination of these indicated that authors frequently deviated from the methodology. This article outlines five common 'pitfalls' associated with undertaking MMSR and provides direction for future reviewers attempting MMSR. Forward citation tracking identified 17 reviews published since the revision of the JBI mixed methods methodological guidance. Methods used in these reviews were then examined against the JBI methodology to identify deviations. The issues identified related to the rationale for choosing the methodological approach, an incorrect synthesis and integration approach chosen to answer the review question/s posed, the exclusion of primary mixed methods studies in the review, the lack of detail regarding the process of data transformation, and a lack of 'mixing' of the quantitative and qualitative components. This exercise was undertaken to assist systematic reviewers considering conducting an MMSR and MMSR users to identify potential areas where authors tend to deviate from the methodological approach. Based on these findings a series of recommendations are provided.


LIZARONDO, L., STERN, C., APOSTOLO, J., CARRIER, J., DE BORGES, K., GODFREY, C., KIRKPATRICK, P., POLLOCK, D., RIEGER, K., SALMOND, S., VANDYK, A. and LOVEDAY, H. 2022. Five common pitfalls in mixed methods systematic reviews: lessons learned. Journal of clinical epidemiology [online], 148, pages 178-183. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 21, 2022
Online Publication Date Mar 24, 2022
Publication Date Aug 31, 2022
Deposit Date Mar 31, 2022
Publicly Available Date Mar 25, 2023
Journal Journal of Clinical Epidemiology
Print ISSN 0895-4356
Electronic ISSN 1878-5921
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 148
Pages 178-183
Keywords Mixed methods systematic review; Evidence synthesis; Mixed methods review methodology; Systematic review; Mixed methods research; Research methodology
Public URL