The course is compulsory for students in MA African Studies and open to others after consultations with the instructors.
This course enables students to explore and gain practical experience with a range of qualitative and quantitative research methods and techniques in the field of African Studies. The world is increasingly digitizing and virtualizing, which influences the social-economic and political dynamics we study in Africa, and influences our research practice. In this course, students are enabled to improve their understanding of and gain practical experience with methods and techniques that have been used ‘offline’ since long, as well as get acquainted with digital and visual techniques that are building on these old techniques.
Students will be introduced to several methods and techniques through short seminar lectures and readings, while gaining practical experience through a ‘field assignment’ and in a digital humanities laboratory, where they can benefit from additional expertise particularly on digital and visual techniques. Students are thus asked to deepen their understanding of known and experiment with new methods and techniques in African Studies, prioritizing those methods and techniques they hope or expect to be using in their own research later in the year. In this way, the course provides a bridge between the Researching Africa in the 21st century of the first block, in which students have been introduced to the world of research in African studies, and the research internship in the third block. The learned skills will also enhance the ‘writing’ of the thesis that will be guided in the course ‘communicating research’ in block 4.
Students will work in groups on a collaborative research project (in groups of 3 to 4 person), in which they employ a variety of methods and techniques of their choice. Data collection for the project will be executed in Leiden/The Hague and/or online. The collaborative work will be documented in a collaborative end product (e.g. web publication) and presented to the group at the end of the course, while students will also write a reflective paper on their individual contributions, reflecting on the choices, process, and ethics in research and presentation.
The course is divided into four seminars of two hours and one seminar of four hours. The first four seminars will start with a short lecture to introduce in-depth a method or technique in context, while the remainder of the seminar will start from the experiences and questions of students, to allow student-led-learning. The fifth seminar, at the end of the third week, will be dedicated to the presentation of the group projects.
Throughout the three weeks, students will have access to a digital humanities laboratory to learn about and work with a variety of digital and visual techniques for their data collection, analysis and presentation of findings. The lab offers workshops on the necessary skills and individual guidance in the research and the publication of its outcomes.
The following course objectives are central to this course:
1. The students will have gained overview of the range of qualitative and quantitative methods and techniques current in African Studies, combining ‘classic’ and those taking advantage of contemporary digital opportunities, particularly as used within the disciplines of Linguistics, Cultural Studies, Anthropology, Geography, Political Science, History or Economics in relation to African Studies.
2. The students will have advanced knowledge and understanding of and gained practical experience with a selection of these methods and techniques employed in African Studies.
3. The students will have the technical and cognitive skills to select and employ relevant research methods and techniques to collect, analyse and critically evaluate research data.
4. The students have gained experience with taking into account social and cultural, academic and ethical aspects relevant to the collection and presentation of findings and the formulation of conclusions and judgements.
5. The students will have obtained the skills to clearly communicate and report the outcomes based on their analysed research findings in an oral presentation as well as in a documented form, using written, oral and/or visual format suitable for publication on an academic website.
First week: 2x2 hours (e.g. Tuesday and Friday)
Second week: 2x2 hours (e.g. Tuesday and Friday)
Third week: 1x4 hours (e.g. Friday)
The timetable is available on: MA African Studies
Mode of instruction
Research (data collection)
The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average.
Assessment and weighing
Collaborative end product (50%)
Oral presentation (group) (25%)
Reflective Paper/ digital end product (individual) (25%)
Resits are possible only for the (individual) paper. A resit is not possible if a numerical grade for this exam component is 6.0 or above. The deadline for resits is 20 December 2020.
Inspection and feedback
How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.
The readings for this course will be indicated in the syllabus, which will be published on Brightspace at a minimum of two weeks before the course starts.
Registration Studeren à la carte en Contractonderwijs
Coördinator of studies: D.Y.M.Wackers