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

Course summary

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.

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.


Early-bird rate (applications must be received by 2nd April): £750.00
Standard course fee: £945.00
Student rate (for students outside University of Oxford): £450.00


Dr Ariel Lindorff


Ariel conducts research in education, and is based in the Oxford University Department of Education. She has previously taught both quantitative and mixed research methods courses.

Her primary research interests include educational effectiveness and improvement, educational leadership, classroom practice, networking and collaboration, and equity issues in education.

She has recently worked on mixed methods research projects including a study of school networks in New York City, a study of inspiring teaching in English schools, and an evaluation of a Singapore Maths set of materials and pedagogical approach in English primary schools.

Dr Martin Ruhs



Martin Ruhs is Associate Professor of Political Economy at Oxford University, where he is also Director of Studies in Economics at the Department for Continuing Education and Research Associate at the: Centre on Migration, Policy and Society; Department of Social Policy and Intervention; Department of Economics; and Blavatnik School of Government. Martin’s research focuses on the economics and politics of international labour migration, with a strong international comparative dimension. Recent books include The Price of Rights. Regulating International Labour Migration (Princeton University Press 2013; Winner of the 2014 Best Book Award, Migration and Citizenship Section, American Political Science Association) and Who Needs Migrant Workers? Labour Shortages, Immigration and Public Policy (Oxford University Press 2010, co-edited with B. Anderson). He is currently working on a research monograph on multinational corporations, migrant labour and the nation state (under contract with Princeton University Press).

Martin is Director of Studies in Political Economy at the Department for Continuing Education. He teaches a graduate course for the Masters of Public Policy (MPP) at the Blavatnik School of Government (BSG) and an undergraduate course for the Duke in Oxford Summer School. Martin authored two online courses on "International Labour Migration: Economics, Politics and Ethics"  and "Mixing It Up: Understanding and Using Mixed Methods in the Social Sciences".

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.

Participants who have completed all the course activities and assignments will receive a Certificate of Participation at the end of the course. Those who complete all assessment requirements successfully will receive a transcript from the University of Oxford.


Application deadline: three weeks before the commencement of the course.

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 below.

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.

Level and demands

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

Whilst it 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.