Mixing it up: understanding and using mixed methods research in social sciences


This online short course for postgraduate researchers critically discusses a mixed methods approach to research. The course includes a strong conceptual and theoretical component and is also participatory in nature, with multiple resources that you can interact with either independently and/or collaboratively.

You will be expected to analyse the key advantages and challenges of mixed methods research. This will be achieved in two ways:

  • by critically discussing a series of ‘real-life’ examples of mixed methods research 'in action' from different social science departments around the University of Oxford;
  • by sharing, explaining and discussing the methodological challenges within your own research proposal.

The final online session will provide an opportunity to present and discuss your developing research proposals with the group and tutor.

With this in mind it is expected that you should be in the process of, or beginning to, plan a research project prior to starting this course. For other expected criteria for acceptance onto this course, please see the level and demands section below.

The course is capped at a maximum of 15 students.

Programme details

The course runs over eight weeks and is fully online.

Participants can expect to actively engage with and contribute to the course for around 15 hours per week. Additional time to prepare for wider reading and assignment preparation is also required. 

Weekly units

Week 1: Online induction

Week 2: Varieties of mixed methods research: a critical introduction

Week 3: The first question: why (not) mixed methods?

Week 4: A simple plan: how to design a mixed methods research project?

Week 5: Mixing it up? Analysis, interpretation and write-up

Week 6: Dissemination and 'impact': who cares about mixed methods research?

Week 7: Study week

Week 8: Synchronous online tutorial to present student’s research proposals

Digital Certification

Digital badge

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be issued with an official digital badge from the Department for Continuing Education, University of Oxford. After the course, you will receive an email with a link and instructions on how to download your digital badge. You will be able to add your badge to your email signature and share it on social media if you choose to do so. 

Accredited study

Applicants may take this course for academic credit. The University of Oxford Department for Continuing Education offers Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS) points for this course.

Participants attending at least 80% of the taught course and successfully completing the assignments (see below) are eligible to earn credit equivalent to 20 CATS points (FHEQ Level 7) which may be counted towards a postgraduate qualification. More information on CATS points.

Applicants can choose not to take the course for academic credit and will therefore not be eligible to undertake the academic assignment offered to students taking the course for credit. Applicants cannot receive CATS (Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme) points or equivalence. Credit cannot be attributed retrospectively. Please note: CATS accreditation is required if you wish for the course to count towards a further qualification in the future.

Applicants registered to attend ‘not for credit’ who subsequently wish to register for academic credit and complete the assignment are required to submit additional information, which must be received one calendar month in advance of the course start date. 

Please contact gradschool@conted.ox.ac.uk if you have any questions.


Description Costs
Oxford DPhil student £0.00
Standard course fee £945.00
Student (for students outside University of Oxford) £450.00


If your application is successful, an invoice for payment will be sent after you have been offered a place. Payment is not required when you submit your application.

Fee status

  • Oxford student – students must be currently enrolled in an Oxford award-bearing postgraduate programme
  • Student rate (ie those students outside the University of Oxford) – students must currently be enrolled in an award-bearing postgraduate programme at an educational institution and provide proof of that enrolment
  • Standard rate – this applies to all other applicants, which includes research fellows

Please contact gradschool@conted.ox.ac.uk for further details.

Course aims

The course will enable researchers to:

  • come to know the meaning, key features and varieties of mixed methods research;
  • appreciate the types of research questions that can (not) be addressed using a mixed methods approach;
  • think critically about the potential and limitations of mixed methods research;
  • appreciate the key challenges of mixed methods research and discuss different ways of addressing these in practice;
  • consider whether mixed methods research is a suitable methodological approach for your research projects;
  • critically assess existing social science research and publications that use mixed methods;
  • discuss your own research proposals with the course tutor and other researchers.

Assessment methods

All participants will be expected to complete two pieces of written work.

  1. The first assignment (2,000 words) is formative and does not count toward the final grade. This first essay is an opportunity for you to receive feedback on your written work.
  2. The formal assessment for this course will be based on the second assignment (4,000 words) which requires you to present and discuss the plans and methods of your own research projects.


The application deadline is 3 weeks before the start date.

To apply for this course, please click on the 'apply' button above. You will need to submit a supporting statement demonstrating that you meet the criteria for the course (see below) and a CV. DPhil/PhD students are also required to submit a supporting letter from their supervisor.

Please ensure you read the guidance notes before completing the application form, as any errors resulting from failure to do so may delay your application. We strongly recommend that you download and save your files before completing your application to ensure that all your changes are saved.

Supporting statement

Your supporting statement should demonstrate your suitability for this course. We recommend using the criteria in the 'selection criteria' section below to help you write this.

Selection criteria

Whilst this course will be useful to all researchers, the course is primarily aimed at those who are at the beginning of their research project. With this in mind applications will be assessed using the following criteria:

  1. Evidence of a postgraduate qualification in a relevant field at master's degree or above.
  2. The ability to demonstrate prior knowledge about qualitative and/or quantitative research methods.
  3. Some research experience at postgraduate level is evidenced.
  4. Applicants are in the process of, or beginning to, plan a research project.
  5. Applicants provide a brief description of the proposed/intended area of research.