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Methods in International Relations and European Studies Research


Admission requirements

Admission to the European Politics and Society Joint Master Programme


Drawing on insights from research methods literature and European Studies literature, these classes will facilitate the building of a research project centred on the European Union and European politics and society more widely. Building on the research methods classes already taken, students will consolidate the knowledge and understanding of how to envision, design and conduct an academic research project. The course is also designed to develop students’ general knowledge and understanding of research methods.

Specifically, the course will assist them in developing their own MA thesis research projects by learning: how to formulate a research question based on an effective review of the current literature; how to collect literature, sources, data and other materials that are necessary for answering the question; how to construct a logical and persuasive order in respect of the material and the arguments therein; how to adopt some of the data collection and analytical tools commonly used in European Studies; and how to develop their critical skills with a view to conducting an independent research project.

Course objectives

The purpose of the course is to develop students’ knowledge of research methods and to prepare them academically for being able to engage in self-directed research for their MA thesis European Politics and Society. After successful completion of this course they should be able to:

  1. Comprehend and synthesise the academic literature into an effective literature review;
  2. Design research to answer a research question (or test a hypothesis);
  3. Formulate a research question with the potential to contribute to scientific knowledge;
  4. Gather and analyse sources of evidence to answer a research question (or test a hypothesis);
  5. Work with research techniques that are current in the European Studies field;
  6. Present research findings in a manner appropriate to the intended audience;
  7. Conduct research in an ethical manner;
  8. Situate research within an ontological and epistemological framework.

Mode of instruction

Discursive lectures and seminars. In addition, parts of the course will be taught using group discussion, presentations and peer assessment, incorporating independent study and prescribed reading.

Course Load

Total course load is 5 ec x 28 hours = 140 hours:

  • Course participation (4 hours per week x 6 weeks = 24 hours);

  • Time for studying the compulsory literature and preparation for the lectures/seminars (4 x 11 hours = 44 hours);

  • Preparing for learning activity (28 hours);

  • Researching and writing the research proposal (44 hours).

Assessment method


  • Play active part in class discussions;

  • Learning activity – design a learning activity in a small group or pairing for one of the seminar sessions that applies a research method employed in the European Studies scholarship;

  • Research proposal – 2,500 words


  • Play active part in class discussions (20%)

  • Learning activity (30%)

  • Research proposal (50%):


  • Research proposal: revise and resubmit.
    The resit for the final examined element is only available to students whose mark for the final examined element is insufficient.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • Uploading of all course documents, including slides used in lectures/seminars; updates regarding the course; submission of all assessments

Reading list

  • A detailed reading list will be distributed at the start of the course, including compulsory reading for classes (where appropriate).

Course Registration

Students are requiered to register for courses true uSis.

General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch.