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Conducting and evaluating empirical research


NB Instruction will be in English. For the Dutch version of this course please go to The Practice of Empirical Research.

Admission requirements

Knowledge of statistics, research methods and SPSS at the level of the Leiden Bachelor programme.


The course aims to get students acquainted with the practice of empirical research on the level required for their Research Master’s thesis. Scientific papers are examined in detail regarding their organisation and research methods applied. Attention will be paid to both the methodological design and the statistical analysis of results. The course offers tools for assessing the quality of published research results as well as for producing one’s own (basic) research report.

Course objectives

Achievement levels: 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11.



Mode of instruction

  • Seven lectures

  • Seven tutorial sessions in which empirical research papers are examined (attendance obligatory)

  • Seven computer lab sessions (attendance obligatory)

  • There will be a tutorial-computer lab group for Research Master students and non-Dutch speaking students. Admittance only on the recommendation of the Head of the Education Office, Ms. C. Nelissen.

  • Instructional materials will be in English.

Assessment method

Grades are mainly based on a final research paper, but the course also contains other obligatory assignments.


During this course Blackboard will be used. The Blackboard site will contain announcements, course documents, information on tutorials and computer labs, lecture notes and discussion boards. The site is shared with the Dutch version of the course (Practice of Empirical Research).

Reading list

A detailed Student Manual will be available in August. Additional materials will be available on the Blackboard site of the course.


Please note that one single mandatory uSis registration is required for the course The registration takes place by signing up for the (Research Master) tutorial group. This will automatically result in a registration for the Blackboard module.

The registration for the course is possible from two weeks through one week before the first lecture. A special announcement to this effect will be sent to all master students during the summer.

Students who do not register cannot take part in the course.

Contact information

  • First check the Student Manual, then the Blackboard module and only after failure to find what you want to know, contact the staff of the course;

  • For general issues: e-mail or contact prof. dr. M. Linting

  • For enrollment and organisational issues please mail: Dr. M. Malda

  • For specific issues with respect to tutorials, computer labs, end paper, and absence please contact your instructor;

  • Please pose general questions regarding the end paper on the general Blackboard forum;

  • Please pose specific questions related to the subject of your tutorial group on the Group forum.