Integrating qualitative and quantitative methods: Comparing HIV-related risk behaviors among Puerto Rican drug users in Puerto Rico and New York

S. Deren, D. Oliver-Velezl, A. Finlinson, R. Robles, J. Andia, H. M. Colón, S. Y. Kang, M. Shedlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


A dual site project was conducted to assess determinants of injection and sex-related risk behaviors among Puerto Rican drug users. The project focused on injection drug users and crack smokers, and was conducted in East Harlem, NY and Bayamón, PR in 1996-2000. Qualitative methods included ethnographic mapping, focus groups, in-depth interviews, and observations. A survey component (East Harlem, n = 800; Bayamón, n = 400) was also conducted. Procedures to ensure integration of methodologies and comparability of data were developed. This paper describes the qualitative and survey methods used, and presents the comparative HIV risk behaviors. The integration of the two methodologies served multiple functions: each component identified issues to be addressed in the other, enhanced cross-site comparability of data, and assisted in interpretation of findings. The survey data showed high levels of risk behaviors in both communities, with significantly higher levels of risk reported in Bayamón. Conducting studies of similar ethnic groups in different communities provides opportunities to examine diverse sources of influence on risk behaviors. The integration of qualitative and quantitative methods can enhance comparability and understanding of findings, particularly when there are differences in behaviors between communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 20 2003



  • Crack users
  • Injection drug users (IDUs)
  • Puerto Rican drug users
  • Qualitative and quantitative methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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