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Research Methods



The goal of this course is to help students develop research skills in qualitative or quantitative methods, as well as the ability to critique and evaluate academic research employing such methods. Through the course meetings and assignments, students will learn how to select and apply appropriate research methods for the kinds of research questions that are typically asked in public administration and related disciplines and will learn the limitations of these methods. As such, the course provides a link between Research Design and the Master’s Thesis. The course consists of three seminars (one on quantitative methodology, two on qualitative methodology) that will run parallel to each other.

Students are expected to register for one of the three seminars in line with their own research interests. Registration is on a first-come-first-served basis.

Course objectives

After taking this course, students will be able to:

  • Identify and critically evaluate the use of particular research methods in academic publications;

  • Identify appropriate methods to answer a specific research question;

  • Independently carry out quantitative or qualitative analyses based on statistical data, interviews, or documentary evidence;

  • Effectively report and present the results of their quantitative or qualitative analyses.



Mode of instruction

Interactive lectures, seminars, workshops.

Course Load

Total study load is 140 hours, of which 21 contact hours and 119 self-study hours.

Assessment method

Three written assignments (30%, 30% and 40% respectively).

You can find more information about assessments and the timetable exams on the website.
Details for submitting papers (deadlines) are posted on Blackboard.
On the Public Administration front page of the E-guide you will find links to the website, uSis and Blackboard.

Students will be permitted to resit an examination if they have taken the first sit and have a mark lower than 5.5 or with permission of the Board of Examiners.

Resit written exam
Students that want to take part in a resit for a written exam, are required to register via uSis. Use the activity number that can be found on the ‘timetable exams’.


The Blackboard site will be made available no later than one week before the start of the course.

Reading list

Readings will be announced in the course syllabus. The readings for the first week of the course will be announced a week in advance on Blackboard.


Use both uSis and Blackboard to register for every course.
Register for every course and workgroup via uSis. Some courses and workgroups have a limited number of participants, so register on time (before the course starts). In uSis you can access your personal schedule and view your results. Registration in uSis is possible from four weeks before the start of the course.
Also register for every course in Blackboard. Important information about the course is posted here.


Dr. Natascha van der Zwan