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Methods in Political Science - Fall



The Methods in Political Science course aims to sharpen students’ knowledge of research designs and methods in order for them to successfully complete their Master thesis projects. The course also has a strong practical focus and guides students in applying specific methods to address their research questions by means of concrete exercises.
After an introductory general lecture in the first week, students select a working group to follow for the rest of the course programme:

  • Quantitative research methods: this working group starts with a refresher on the use of linear (OLS) regression analysis. After this, we continue with logistic regression analysis, techniques for working with complex survey and country-level data (e.g. cluster correction, weights), and basic multilevel analysis (random intercept models). Students who want to participate in this working group should have some prior experience with statistics (with a ‘rough’ understanding of OLS regression as the baseline requirement). The statistical package SPSS will be used as a standard (support is provided for other packages).

  • Qualitative research methods: this working group will focus on the ideal-typical and practical use of specific methods such as interviewing, archival research/process tracing, discourse and content analysis, observation and fieldwork, focus groups, and computer assisted methods of qualitative research. Because much is learned by doing, this course has a significant ‘hands-on’component.

SPOC Research Design in Political Science

Students are highly encouraged to follow the online SPOC course before starting Methods in Political Science.
This online course can be accessed at any moment during semester 1. There are no EC’s attached to this course.
Entry requirement: Master student in one of the Political Science’s specialisations (both Leiden or Den Haag)

For more information regarding this course click here

Course objectives

Upon successful completion of the course:

  • Students will be able to develop sound research questions and choose appropriate research designs to answer them

  • Students will be able to correctly apply the quantitative/qualitative research methods addressed in the course

Mode of instruction

Working groups: 7 working group sessions focusing on the practical application of research methods (qualitative or quantitative trajectory)

Course Load

Total course load for this course is 140 hours (5 EC)

  • 2h per week are spent in class, for a period of 8 weeks (= 14 hours)

  • A substantial amount of course time is reserved for completing course assignments.

Assessment Method

  • Several short assignments on the application of specific methods: 60% of the grade in total

  • Final paper: 40% of the grade


Slides, teaching material, and exercises will be made available on Brightspace.


On 11 October 2021, 09.15 there will be an online informative session on for this course. Students will receive the invitation with the Zoom-link by email.
Students are able to register for one of the workgroups in uSis based on first come, first serve after the information session, until 5 days before the start of the block (1 November 2021).
All working groups are scheduled on Mondays.
The working groups are:

Location LEIDEN
Quantitative (11:15-13:00) #01, uSiscode 6444QUANW, activity 17433 (also online)
Qualitative (13:15-15:00) #02, uSiscode 6444QUALW, activity 17431
Qualitative (13:15-15:00) #03, uSiscode 6444QUALW, activity 17432
Quantitative (13:15-15:00) #04, uSiscode 6444QUANW, activity 17434

Location THE HAGUE
Qualitative (11:15-13:00) #1, uSiscode 6444QUALW, activity 16201 (also online)
Qualitative (13:15-15:00) #2, uSiscode 6444QUALW, activity 16202