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Methods and Skills in Africanist Research


Admission requirements

The course is designed for ResMA African Studies students. Other LU students can join the course with prior discussion with the course coordinator


This course builds on the course New Frontiers in Africanist Research that is offered in the first semester. It prepares you to identify the steps and processes involved from the identification of research ideas to dissemination of results. Topics in qualitative and quantitative methods will be discussed to develop practical mixed method skills. The different ways in which you can design mixed methods studies, the challenges, advantages and limitations of such studies will be discussed. The course has a strong fieldwork orientation, examening interpersonal communication and safety issues in a new environment. Whatever the appropriate methodological choices for your fieldwork research, the need for a strong reflexive element is emphasised. Through practical excercises, the course will guide you on the conceptualization and clear formulation of research ideas. It will address the ways research ideas are developed and presented as excutable research questions; it will assist you in making motivated choices of research tools that you need to deploy to acquire information that answer research questions. The course will bring into discussion socio-cultural and linguistic contexts and practical considerations in fieldwork that can affect the operationalization of your research. It will stimulate you to reflect on the methodological implications of the decision you make on the outlets of your research results (e.g. digital vs print). Also, different dissemination means may require different ethical considerations and datamangement, topics that will be discussed in the course. An assignment (60%) will enable you to design and execute a research project on a topic of your interest in which you will implement the course components mentioned above.

Course objectives

After completion of the course, you will be able to

  • Reflect on the implications of methodological approaches in field work situations

  • Formulate research ideas into research questions

  • Apply diverse quantitative and qualitative research methods or tools in research;

  • Identify ethical and intercultural challenges of doing fieldwork and state your views in and preparations for addressing these challenges.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture

  • Seminar

Assessment method


The assessment will be based on three practical excercises (assignments) on research design, questionnaire, observation and interviewing (40%) and one final essay (60%). The final essay (60%) will be an end product which reflects implementation of what you have learnt from the various lectures and assignment works. It involves setting up and carrying out a small research project and reporting of findings. Attendance of all classes, reading of assigned literature before class, active participation and timely presentation of assignment and final essay are requirements for successful completion of the course.


The final marks for the course are based on the addition of the marks for the practical assignments (40%) and the final essay (60%).


If a student fails to attain a pass for the course on the basis of the evaluation of the three assignments and final essay, a second chance will be offered to rewrite the essay. Also, a replacement assignment will be offered to students that do not obtain sastifactory marks on the practical assignment.

inspection and feedback

Feedback and motivation for grading will be offered on the practical assignments and on the final essay.
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.

Reading list

The literature to be studied for this course, will be made available through the African Studies Centre Library, prior to start of the course.


Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Reuvensplaats