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Research Project Preparation


Note: This is a preliminary course description. It will be adjusted as soon as possible.

Admission Requirements

1) Successful completion of the course Critical Area Studies: Placing Your Research; and,
2) Successful participation in the course Methodologies in the Social Sciences and Humanities; or, successful completion of at least 5 EC of Research School Courses.


This module is part of the Research project and aims to prepare the students for undertaking this project. At the end of this module students should have completed their research proposal and be prepared to start their research project.


Students should be aware that Leiden University will not allow students to do research in areas colored red and orange (meaning “no travelling allowed” and “only necessary travelling allowed”, respectively) by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The website of the Ministry gives further details.

During the Covid-19 pandemic extra restrictions are in place (i.e. at least until 1 February 2021). In principle, all travel abroad is restricted (including to green and yellow areas). Students who want to travel abroad for internships, fieldwork or research, can ask the International Incident Team (IIT) for permission in very exceptional cases and under strict conditions for the countries coded green or yellow (not for those coded orange or red). For more information and the form used to ask for permission see the following webpage.

Students who plan to go abroad and want to combine doing research with Studying Abroad can contact the International Co-ordinator of the Faculty of Humanities for advise. Please be reminded that the deadline for applications for Study Abroad beyond Erasmus agreements is 1 December (year X) for Study Abroad in Fall semester of year X+1 and Spring semester year X+2. Study Abroad in Spring semester year X+1 is only possible if there are places left.

Students going abroad are furthermore expected to have read and act according to the regulations as laid down in the Leiden University Regulations on Studying Abroad. More information can also be found on the university website with information for students travelling abroad in the context of their studies.

Course objectives

Inasmuch as there is a clear-cut boundary between doing research and writing the thesis, the project is about the former of these two. As such, preparation for the project involves

  • identifying a research topic;

  • formulating a research question;

  • doing a literature review;

  • identifying primary sources of various kinds (texts and other artifacts, interlocutors/interviewees etc) and considering your access to these sources;

  • designing a methodology;

  • reflecting on the theoretical orientation to be taken;

  • reflecting on the ethical implications of the research project.

But also, practical issues such as:

  • Making a financial planning;

  • Applying for grants;

  • Getting well informed about formal requirements (existing laws, rules and procedures) for doing research;

  • Applying for permissions;

  • Finding a local researcher/guarantor;

  • Making travel arrangements;

  • Arranging housing;

  • Making a time schedule;

  • Etc.

Financial planning

For students planning to go abroad it is important to consider financial matters such as tuition fees, other costs, their budget and scholarship applications.

Grants and scholarships

The University and the Faculty of Humanities offer several scholarships for students of various research MA programmes who wish to either study or conduct (field) research abroad. Other grants can be found through the grantfinder of EP-Nuffic.

If the research involves a stay abroad for a minimum period of 60 days students may want to apply for the Uhlenbeck scholarship programme which has been set up especially for research master and master students who are doing mandatory research abroad. The programme provides a (supplementary) scholarship for their stay.


Visit MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment Method

Note: The 1 EC of this course is graded with a Fail/Pass and counts towards the total EC for the research project of the third semester.


At the end of the module, the student will have written a research proposal of 5 to 10 pages. This proposal should be discussed with the Leiden supervisor(s) and (if applicable) the local supervisor, after which it needs to be forwarded to the Board of Examiners for approval prior to the start of the research project. A copy of the proposal also needs to be handed in to the Student Advisor, Dr. Nicole A.N.M. van Os.
The proposal should consist of:

  • filled out standard cover sheet

  • research question; objectives of the research project

  • a literature review and the theoretical framework;

  • operationalisation of major concepts

  • outline of the field: location and (where applicable) population or data set

  • outline of the planned activities

  • relevance of the research project to the student's programme and thesis

  • outline of the method of data gathering (and analysis)

  • time line and budgeting

Academic Integrity

Students should familiarize themselves with the notion of academic integrity and the ways in which this plays out in their own work. A good place to start is this page. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. Students may not substantially reuse texts they have previously submitted in this or other courses. Minor overlap with previous work is allowed as long as it is duly noted in citation.
Students must submit their assignment(s) through Brightspace, so they can be checked for plagiarism. Submission via email is not accepted.

Reading list



All students are required to register through uSis. To avoid mistakes and problems, students are strongly advised to register in uSis through the activity number which can be found in the timetable in the column under the heading “USIS-Actnbr.”. More information on uSis is available in Dutch and English. You can also have a look at the FAQ.


Prof.dr. Maghiel van Crevel; Dr. Cristiana Strava.