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


An online course for researchers which critically discusses mixed methods approaches to social science analysis.

While including a strong conceptual and theoretical component, the course aims to be very practical. It analyses the key advantages and challenges of mixed methods research by critically discussing a series of examples of mixed methods research "in action" at different social science departments at the University of Oxford.

Throughout the course, participants will be encouraged to share, explain and discuss the methodological challenges of their own research. The final online workshop will provide an opportunity to present and discuss emerging research proposals with the course tutor and other participants. The course is primarily (but not exclusively) targeted at researchers who are developing their research plans.

The application deadline is Tuesday 20 September at 12.00 (BST). Regrettably late applications cannot be considered. 

Programme details

The course will run over eight weeks. Participants can expect to 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. The list of units is as follows:

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


Accredited study

The University of Oxford Department for Continuing Education offers Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS) points for this course. Participants contributing to all the forums and successfully completing the assessments (see below) will obtain 20 CATS-equivalent points (FHEQ level 7) which may count towards a Master’s level qualification. For more information on CATS points, please click here.


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

Oxford students – student must be currently enrolled in an Oxford programme. Student rate (students outside University of Oxford) – students must be currently enrolled in a programme on some educational institution and provide proof of that enrolment. Standard rate – this applies to all other applicants. This includes Research Fellows.

Course aims

The course will enable researchers to:

  • understand 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
  • understand and 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 challenges in practice
  • consider whether mixed methods research is a suitable methodological approach for their research projects
  • critically assess existing social science research and publications that use mixed methods
  • discuss their own research proposals with the course tutor and other researchers


Assessment methods

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

The first assignment (2,000 words) is  “formative”, i.e. it does not count toward the final grade. The first essay is an opportunity for students to receive feedback on their written work.

The formal assessment for this course will be based on the second assignment (4,000 words) which requires students to present and discuss the plans and methods of their own research projects.

Academic Credit

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 assessed assignments are eligible to earn credit equivalent to 20 CATS points which may be counted towards a postgraduate qualification.

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. CATS accreditation is required if you wish for the course to count towards a further qualification in the future.

A Certificate of Completion is issued at the end of the course.

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 us for more details.

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



Applications are currently open until Tuesday 20 September at 12.00 (BST).

We strongly recommend that you download and save files before completing to ensure that all your changes are saved.

This course requires you to complete the application form and submit a CV by clicking the apply button. In addition to their application, all DPhil students at the University of Oxford will be required to have a supporting letter from their supervisor.

Please ensure you read the Terms and Conditions and all guidance notes attached to the form before completing your application, as any errors resulting from failure to do so may delay your application.


Level and demands

At least some prior knowledge about qualitative and/or quantitative research methods is required.

Whilst this course will be useful to researchers at any stage of their projects, the course is primarily aimed at people who are at the beginning of their research project. With this in mind applications will be accessed using the following criteria:

  1. Do they have a postgraduate qualification in a relevant field (e.g. a Masters Degree or above).
  2. The applicants demonstrate prior knowledge about qualitative and/or quantitative research methods.
  3. Some research experience at postgraduate level is described.
  4. They are in the process of, or beginning to, plan a research project.
  5. Applicants have provided a brief description of the proposed/intended area of research.