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Research Methods (Students of February 2016 cohort)


Admission requirements



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.


To be announced by OSC staff.

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.
Each assignment needs to be completed with a grade of 5.5 or higher to pass the course. The final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average of the partial grades. Compensation of partial grades is not possible/A Blackboard website for this course will be made available one week prior to the start of the course. Blackboard will be used for course communication, the distribution of course information (syllabus, readings, assignments) and for the submission of assignments/Course readings will consist of academic articles and book chapters. Readings will be announced on Blackboard one week prior to the start of the course.


A Blackboard course will be available approximately two weeks before the start of the course

Reading list





Dr Alexandre Afonso
Dr Natascha van der Zwan
Dr Jelmer Schalk