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Qualitative Research Methods


Admission requirements

Mandatory course for students enrolled in the bachelor’s programme Security Studies. Only students of the Bachelor Security Studies can take this course.


In this course we move from learning the basic concepts in social science research, as students have learned in Introduction to Research Methods, to gaining in-depth insights into methods of data collection and data analysis in qualitative research. Specifically, students will learn about qualitative data analysis (e.g. thematic analysis, discourse analysis) and interviewing methods that are commonly used in the field of Security Studies. Furthermore, students will explore various qualitative methods that will help you conduct research on safety and/or security issues.

This course is divided up into lectures and course labs. The lectures will provide the theoretical knowledge on qualitative methods. The course labs will focus more on gaining practical skills, such as on how to analyse data using the software programme Atlas.ti.

Course Objectives

At the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Identify and explain what qualitative research methods entail;

  • Collect data for and conduct discourse analysis;

  • Identify and utilise different types of qualitative data analyses;

  • Select the type of qualitative method that fits with your research question;

  • Use the software programme Atlas.ti to help you analyse data;

  • Analyse and interpret the results from your research;

  • Critically evaluate and critique qualitative research designs;

  • Report your findings with clarity and precision;

  • Work in a team on a research project.


On the right side of programme front page of the e-guides you will find links to the website and timetables, uSis and Brightspace.

Mode of Instruction

7 plenary lectures
4 course labs in smaller groups.

Attendance of the course labs is mandatory. If you miss more than 1 course lab you fail the course and won’t obtain a final grade.

Total study load is 140 hours:

  • Contact hours (lectures and course labs): 33 hours

  • Self-study hours (including working on the assignments): 107 hours

Assessment method

The final grade for this course is based on two types of assessment:

Group assignment

  • 25% of the final grade

  • Resit not possible

  • Grade can be compensated

Individual paper

  • 75% of the final grade

  • Resit of a fail is possible

  • Grade must be 5.50 or higher

Students will also be permitted to resit the individual paper (75%) if they have a calculated overall course grade lower than 5.50.

Additional formative (non-graded) assignments are an obligatory part of the course.

Transitional arrangements
Passed partial grades obtained in year 2021-2022 remain valid during year 2022-2023. Students who did not meet the course lab attendance requirements in 2021-2022 are required to attend the course labs in 2022-2023.

Reading list

Compulsory literature for this course is:

Aarten, P.G.M., Froneberg, E., Hewitt, J., Krüsselmann, K., & Peterscheck, A. (Eds.) (2020). Research Methods for Security Studies. SAGE. ISBN: 978-1-5297-5409-4.

Other (suggested) literature will be listed on Brightspace in due course.


Register yourself via MyStudymap for each course, workgroup and exam (not all courses have workgroups and/or exams).
Do so on time, before the start of the course; some courses and workgroups have limited spaces. You can view your personal schedule in MyTimetable after logging in.
Registration for this course is possible from Tuesday 12 December 13.00h

Leiden University uses Brightspace as its online learning management system. After enrolment for the course in MyStudymap you will be automatically enrolled in the Brightspace environment of this course. Furthermore, announcements and modifications will be communicated via Brightspace. Students have the responsibility to stay informed and are thus advised to regularly check Brightspace for updates.

After registration for an exam you still need to confirm your attendance via MyStudymap. If you do not confirm, you will ultimately be de-registered and you will not be allowed to take the exam.

More information on registration via MyStudymap can be found on this page.

Please note: guest-/contract-/exchange students do not register via MyStudymap but via uSis. Guest-/contract-/exchange students also do not have to confirm their participation for exams via MyStudymap.


R. Premaratne Ganohariti


For exceptions, please contact the Board of Examiners.