Silva, E., Warde, A. & Wright, D. (2009) ‘Using mixed methods for analysing culture: the Cultural Capital and Social Exclusion project’, Cultural Sociology, 3(2), pp. 299-316.


This article discusses the use of material generated in a mixed method investigation into cultural tastes and practices, conducted in Britain from 2003 to 2006, which employed a survey, focus groups and household interviews. The study analysed the patterning of cultural life across a number of fields, enhancing the empirical and methodological template provided by Bourdieu's Distinction. Here we discuss criticisms of Bourdieu emerging from subsequent studies of class, culture and taste, outline the arguments related to the use of mixed methods and present illustrative results from the analysis of these different types of data.We discuss how the combination of quantitative and qualitative methods informed our analysis of cultural life in contemporary Britain. No single method was able to shed light on all aspects of our inquiry, lending support to the view that mixing methods is the most productive strategy for the investigation of complex social phenomena.

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