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Thesis & Methods Classes

Vak 2015-2016

Admission requirements

This class is only accessible for students of the MA Asian Studies (120 and 60 EC).


The course consists of two separate components, thesis classes and methods modules. Students will take the course in the second half of the first semester of their programme (i.e. Block 2 for students starting in September; Bloack 4 for students starting in February). One thesis class and three methods modules will have to be completed to pass the course as a whole.
The thesis classes will provide a focused environment for a first grounding in the specific methodological and disciplinary approach most relevant to the students’ expected thesis topic. The students will be guided through the process of designing a research project and preparing an MA thesis outline, including the practical aspects of academic writing and publishing. In the first semester classes will be offered for Anthropology and Sociology; History; Linguistics; Literature, Culture and Heritage Studies; Politics and International Relations. Due to the limited number of students, in the second semester only a general thesis class will be offered. The MA programme coordinator will assign each student to a particular class on the basis of their topic and disciplinary orientation.
The methods modules provide an introduction and hands-on experience with specific research methods as applied in Asian Studies. In both semesters the following modules will be offered: Statistics; Discourse Analysis; Interviews; Philology and Textual Analysis; Art and Material Objects. In the first semester additional modules will be offered on Audiovisual Materials and Questionnaire Design.
For PSE students the Statistics module is compulsory, the other two can be elected freely. For HAC students the Discourse Analysis is compulsory, the others two can be elected freely.
No compulsory modules for the other specializations of the 60 and 120 EC degrees.
Each method will be taught as an independent module consisting of three sessions. For each module students will complete one practical assignment, either individually or in small teams. Students are strongly advised to select methods that have a direct bearing on their thesis research.

Course objectives

• Designing a research project
• Understanding of research methods associated with one discipline or set of related disciplines
• Academic writing and publishing
• Oral and written presentation of work
• Methodological underpinnings of individual research methods
• Practical use of specific research methods, sources, or data


Check timetable

Mode of instruction

Lectures and Seminars

Course Load

Thesis classes (0.4 of total study load)
Seminar 2 ×6 uur = 12 Compulsory readings = 20 2 assignments = 24 Total = 56
Each methods module (0.2 of total study load)
Lectures and seminars 3 × 2 hours = 6 Compulsory readings = 10 1 assignment = 12 Totaal = 28

Assessment method

The thesis class will count towards 40% of the final grade; each methods module will count toward 20%.
For the thesis class 2 assignments will be completed; for each methods module one assignment will have to be completed.
Drafts of the assignments will be marked and can then be re-submitted for a final grade, which counts as a resit.


Blackboard will be used to post readings and other class materials, for discussion boards for students to post and discuss their draft assignments, and to post marks and grades.

Reading list Readings will be posted on Blackboard and students are expected to study these before class.


Registration through uSis


Professor Frank N. Pieke
Chair of Modern China Studies
Leiden University
Mail: P.O. Box 9515, 2300 RA Leiden, the Netherlands
Phone: +31 (0)71 5272216
Email: Frank Pieke