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Research in Public Administration- in English


Admission requirements

Only Premaster students can take this course.

  • Pre-Master students who continue in the master Management van de Publieke Sector take the course Bestuurskundig onderzoek voor schakelstudenten.


What makes a research project scientific? How do we reduce complex reality into concepts that can be systematically studied and how can we measure these concepts? What are the techniques available for gathering and analyzing data?
To answer these questions the course provides an introduction to social science research. We will discuss what social science is as well as explore techniques for conducting research in practice. The course discusses concepts and issues relevant for social sciences in general, but focuses on examples and issues particularly relevant in the field of Public Administration. The course introduces students to what can be regarded as the “craft” of their discipline, i.e. the method and techniques needed for their master thesis. The overall goal of the course is twofold: to help students become a critical reader of research, and to prepare them for conducting a research project of their own.

Course objectives

In the end of the course students are expected to have the following skills and knowledge:

  • Understanding of main principles of scientific research

  • Understanding the role of theory and model building in academic research

  • Basic knowledge of different research methods used in social sciences

  • Understanding benefits and drawbacks of different research methods

  • Ability to critically examine the design and results of a research project


Mode of instruction

7 lectures (with class discussion).

Assessment method

Final exam, a paper assignment, a set of small assignments. Course material is also obligatory for the assignments and the final exam as far as it is set out in sheets, handouts and other information media.


The Blackboard will be used for disseminating the course schedule, assignments and other course related information.

Reading list

  • Bryman, A. (2012) Social research methods, 4th edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN: 978-0-19-958805-3

  • Additional literature (academic articles) will be specified on the Blackboard site.



Contact information

Maarja Beerkens
Tel: +( 0)71 527 3751

Remarks –