workshop. Similarly, the integration of biomarkers into family intervention research was another example of a multimethod, multidisciplinary challenge in the science of research on families.
Theme 2: The increasing variety and complexity of family structure, couples’ living arrangements, and life experiences require new measurement tools and terminology that can capture the richness of important variations across multiple racial and ethnic groups.
With the changing demography of American families, new measurement tools and terminology will become increasingly important in both quantitative surveys (such as those resulting in census data) as well as qualitative studies that strive to categorize family relationships and partnerships into functional units for analysis. Measuring change in families over time was a challenge at both the within-family (micro) level and at the demographic and population (macro) levels. Self-report information by family members can also be useful in mapping relationships that have meaning and significance in understanding the roles and influences of diverse members of a household or family unit. Efforts to develop appropriate terminology for family structure and networks will need to adapt to these insights.
Theme 3: Qualitative and quantitative studies offer different approaches and different strengths in understanding family characteristics and dynamics. Mixed-methods research studies are sometimes able to blend these distinct approaches, but innovative approaches are necessary to support these efforts in small-scale as well as multi-institutional projects.
More attention is needed to analyze and understand the data from existing large-scale studies. Participants indicated that intensive qualitative studies embedded in large-scale survey or experimental studies, such as the New Hope demonstration or the Fragile Families study, were one of the major advances of the last decade in family research. For example, qualitative findings from the Fragile Families study resulted in a change in survey items to examine how many nights per week or month the father was actually sleeping over at the mother’s home. In other cases, findings from qualitative research will need to be confirmed by quantitative research (i.e., unwed mothers’ desires for marriage). Small-scale team efforts are also necessary to focus on specific areas of interest and to identify new dimensions of family life that would be appropriate for national surveys or large-scale studies. Journals and research sponsors need encouragement and incentives to provide opportunities for papers and activities that will advance understanding of the methods and processes of mixed-methods research studies as well as the findings of the studies themselves. The challenge of