Dr Jonathan Mathers

Dr Jonathan Mathers

Institute of Applied Health Research
Senior Lecturer in Applied Qualitative and Mixed Methods Research

Contact details

Institute of Applied Health Research
Murray Learning Centre
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Jonathan is a Senior Lecturer in Qualitative and Mixed Methods Applied Health Research.  He has broad based expertise in the application of qualitative and mixed methods research approaches in a range of applied health and policy contexts, and has published over 40 peer-reviewed journal articles. 

He is currently the qualitative research lead for several UK National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funded clinical trials and trial feasibility studies.  This research includes qualitative work with patients, parents of paediatric patients and a range of clinical staff involved in the delivery of clinical care and related trials. 

Jonathan also acts as lead for the Birmingham Hub of the NIHR West Midlands Research Design Service.


Senior Lecturer in Qualitative and Mixed Methods Applied Health Research

  • PhD (by publication), University of Birmingham, 2011
  • MPH, University of Birmingham, 2003
  • MSc, University of Hull, 1994
  • BSc, University of Derby, 1993


  • MBChB
  • Public Health MPH/PGDip/PGCert
  • BMedSci



Research themes 

Application of qualitative and mixed methods approaches in clinical trial and applied health research.

Currents project include feasibility studies of pressure garment therapy to prevent or reduce abnormal scarring following serious burn injury (the PEGASUS study); complex, simple or absent wound dressings in elective surgery (the Bluebelle study) and of undertaking appendicectomy to impact upon the clinical course of ulcerative colitis (the ACCURE study). 

He has previously conducted evaluations of complex policy interventions, including projects that have examined the expansion of undergraduate medical education across England, the New Deal for Communities regeneration programme and the English Health Trainers initiative.  This work has been supported by research funders including the National Institute for Health Research (Policy Research Programme) and the Higher Education Funding Council for England.   

Jonathan is interested in the role that qualitative and mixed-methods approaches have in providing insights that are relevant to our understanding of important medical and social phenomena, and their interaction with health and social policy.  He is a senior member of the qualitative methods research group in the School of Health & Population Sciences, and Lead for the Birmingham Hub of the West Midlands Research Design Service. 

Jonathan has published in a number of areas including research focusing on the expansion of undergraduate medical education, widening access to medicine policy, the impact of and public involvement in regeneration policy, and healthcare professionals’ reactions to health policy interventions.

Other activities

  • Hub Lead for the Birmingham Hub of the NIHR West Midlands Research Design Service


Recent Publications:

Mathers JM, Taylor R, Parry J.  Measuring the impact of Health Trainers Services on health and health inequalities: does the data collection and reporting system provide reliable information?  Journal of Public Health 2016 oi:10.1093/pubmed/fdv21

The Bluebelle Study Group (Mathers JM – co-author). Bluebelle study (phase A): a mixed-methods feasibility study to inform an RCT of surgical wound dressing strategies. BMJ Open 2016;6:e012635. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2016-012635

Mathers JM, Rick C, Jenkinson C, Garside R, Pall H, Mitchell R, Bayliss S, Jones L.  Patients’ and spouses’ experience of deep brain stimulation for Parkinson’s Disease: Qualitative systematic review and synthesis.  BMJ Open 2016: 6:e011525.

Mathers JM, Sitch, A, Marsh J, Parry J.  Longitudinal assessment of the impact of the use of the UK clinical aptitude test for applicant selection.  Medical Education  2016: 50: 1033-1044

Mathers JM, Sitch, A, Marsh J, Parry J.  Population-based longitudinal analyses of offers likelihood in UK medical schools:1996-2012Medical Education 2016:50: 612-623

Mathers JM, Keeley T, Jones L, Calvert M, Williamson P, Jones J, McMullan C, Wright S, Young B.  Using qualitative research to understand what outcomes matter to patients: direct and indirect approaches to outcome elicitation. Trials 2015. 16(sup 2)

Rooshenas L, McMullan C, Mathers J, Townsend D, Donovan J, Blazeby J, Bluebelle Study Management Group.  How pre-trial qualitative research can change proposed RCT design: a case study and implications for future research.  Trials 2015 16(sup 2)

Wright S, Jones L, Moiemen N, Grant M, Mathers J.  Gauging acceptability: the utility of a national attitudes survey toward a trial of pressure garment therapy for burns scar management.  Trials 2015 16(sup 2)

Thomas Keeley, Humera Khan, Vanessa Pinfold, Paula Williamson, Jonathan Mathers, Linda Davies, Ruth Sayers, Elizabeth England, Siobhan Reilly, Richard Byng, Linda Gask, Mike Clark, Peter Huxley, Peter Lewis, Maximillian Birchwood, Melanie Calvert.  Core outcome sets for use in effectiveness trials involving people with bipolar and schizophrenia in a community-based setting (PARTNERS2): study protocol for the development of two core outcome sets . Trials.  2015: 16: 47

Mathers JM, Taylor R, Parry J.  The Challenge of Implementing Peer-Led Interventions Within a Professionalised Health Service: A Case Study of the National Health Trainers Service in England. The Milbank Quarterly 2014; 92(4); 725-753

Mathers JM, Sitch, A, Marsh J, Parry J.  Widening access to medical education for under-represented socioeconomic groups: population based cross sectional analysis of UK data, 2002-2006.  British Medical Journal  2011; 341: d918

Taylor R., Atfield T., Mathers JM, Parry J.M.  How will the ‘Big Society’ impact on health improvement activities delivered by lay people? Journal of Public Health 2011; 33: 5-10

Mathers JM, Parry J.  Older mature students’ experience of applying to study medicine in England: an interview study.  Medical Education 2010;  44(11); 1084-1094

Mathers JM, Greenfield S, Metcallfe A, Cole T, Flanagan S, Wilson S.  Family history in primary care:  understanding general practitioners’ resistance to clinical genetics – qualitative study.   British Journal of General Practice 2010. 60 (574); 358-364

Mathers JM, Parry J.  Why are there so few working class applicants to medical schools?  Learning from the success stories.  Medical Education 2009.  43. pp 219-228

Parry J, Mathers JM, Stevens A, Lilford R, Spurgeon P, Thomas H.  An assessment of the impact of the national expansion of medical schools in England on universities and their academic staff.  Medical Education 2008.  42; pp 1155-1165

Cotterill S, Parry J, Richardson M, Mathers JM.  Quasi-experimental evaluation of the health impacts of the new deal for communities urban regeneration scheme.  Critical Public Health  2008.  18 (3); pp. 311-322

Mathers JM, Parry J, Jones S.  Exploring resident (non) participation in the UK New Deal for Communities regeneration programme.  Urban Studies. 2008.  45 (3); pp. 591-606.

Wright, JSF, Parry, J, Mathers JM. What to do about political context? Evidence synthesis, the New Deal for Communities and the possibilities for evidence-based policy. Evidence and Policy 2007;3;2;253-269