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Research Methods: Public Management


Admission requirements

This course is only open to students of the Master Public Administration, Public Management specialisation. The general component of the course is open to all students of the Master Public Administration.


This course is divided between a general (partly online) component (1/3 of the course) and a specialisation-specific component (2/3) of the course.
The general component of the course is aimed at providing a methodological toolbox that students will be able to apply in the specialisation-specific module and in their thesis. As such, the course provides a link between Research Design and the Master’s Thesis. It consists of a series of online learning modules covering different qualitative and quantitative methods (regression analysis; qualitative interviewing; survey research; comparative analysis; etc.) combined with face-to-face group sessions where these methods are discussed and applied. Students are able to tailor their own learning track depending on their methodological needs and interests in the thesis. The online component includes video and audio lectures, exercises and quizzes.
In the specialisation-specific component we will build on the blended learning tutorials of the general component. We offer tailor-made research method skills applicable to topics and research questions relevant to the Public Management specialisation. This is done via in-class assignments that teach students how to apply selected research methods by using existing datasets, designing survey or interview studies and in close collaboration with some of the ongoing research projects at the department.

Course objectives

After taking this course, students will be able to:

  • Identify appropriate methods of analysis and research techniques to answer a specific research question;

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

  • Effectively report and present the results of their quantitative or qualitative analyses in the field of public management.


On the Public Administration front page of the E-guide you will find links to the website and timetables, uSis and Blackboard.

Mode of instruction

General component:

  • Online modules, quizzes, interactive lectures, offline seminars, workshops.

Specialization-specific component:

  • Seminars, further structured study (working on research assignments), fieldwork (data collection, design data collection instruments)

Course Load

The total course load is 140 hours:

General Component

  • Online modules, quizzes, interactive lectures, seminars, workshops: 47 hours

Specialisation-specific component: 93 hours

  • Seminars: 12 hours

  • Further structured study: 31 hours

  • Fieldwork: 20 hours

  • Self-study: 30 hours

Assessment method

Total assessment of the course is divided between the online general component (35% of the total course grade), and the specialization component (65% of the total course grade).

Assessment of the general component: – Successful completion of required online modules: pass/fail – Participation in the application workshops: pass/fail) – A written exam: 100%

Assessment of the specialization-specific component: – Individual assignments: 60% – Group paper: 40%

The total grade is the weighted average of the final grades for the two components. Retakes are possible for the written exam and the group paper.

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’.


There are two Blackboard pages for this course: one page for the track-specific seminar and one page for the general part of the course common for all tracks. The Blackboard page for the general part of the course can be found by using the title "Research Methods: Flipped Classroom". All online activities for the general component of the course will take place on the Blackboard page. The Blackboard page will be activated in mid-January.

Reading list

The readings for the general component of the course will be announced on Blackboard.


Use uSis to register for the track-specific component of the course. Students do not need to separately enroll for the general component of the course through uSis. Both components of the course have a separate Blackboard page. Students need to register for both Blackboard pages. Registration for the workshops related to the general component of the course is possible on Blackboard. Registration for the workshops will open in mid-January.

Please note! Students do not need to participate in all workshops. Information on which workshops are required will be posted on Blackboard in mid-January.


General component:
Dr Alexandre Afonso

Dr Natascha van der Zwan

Specialisation-specific component:
Prof. dr. Sandra Groeneveld