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Research Design and Measurement in the Social Sciences (Conversion Course)



Political science is strongly (but not exclusively) empirically oriented. This can be seen in particular from the research activities of many political scientists. This conversion course is therefore meant for those who have had no (or very little) prior experience with such empirical research. After having followed this course you should have the basic knowledge to be able to succesfully finish one of the empirically oriented thesis seminars of the master Political Science Leiden.

During this course there will be a concentration on those fundamental priciples of doing empirical research, which are outlined in the book of Halperyn and Heaht (2017). Attention will be paid for instance to the development of an empirically researchable central question (as part of a complete problem statement), and all intermediating steps, – such as conceptualisation, operationalisation, making reliable and valid measurement instruments -, that have to be taken to arrive at a suitable research design.

A number of those principles will also be illustrated using empirical examples. The practically working through these examples will also be done in class, which is the reason that all course meeting take place in a computer room, giving you the opportunity to immediately do things yourselve.

Mode of instruction

Lectures, Assignments and Discussions


Sandra Halperin and Oliver Heath, Political Research. Methods and Practical Skills. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017, Second Edition.

Assessment method

Six homework assignments that should be graded with a pass. As an Exchange (or Study Abroad Program) student your final grade will be the average of the six assignments.


Semester 1 Semester 2


Leiden students can register from 13 August 10.00 uur - 26 August 23.59h, group 1, with classnumber 3288
The Hague students can register from 13 August 10.00 - 26 August 23.59h, group 2 with classnumber 3289

February starters can register from 14 January 10.00 - 27 January 23.59h with classnumber 7503

Registration Exchange and Study Abroad students

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Exchange students website for information on how to apply.

Please note that there is very limited capacity for this course