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Research Design HD




Admissions requirements

Successful completion of at least one 200 level methods course in the major (Qualitative Methods, Cultural and Visual Analysis or Historical Methods)


This is a hands-on course that aims to inform and assist students pursuing a research project in the fields related to the Human Diversity: Culture, History and Society major.

Any research project necessarily brings together a specific understanding of epistemology (the multiple natures and forms of knowledge) and methodology (the techniques and methods associated with the production of evidence-based knowledge). Thus, research design is about defining the roadmap that helps the researcher to identify:

  • What does s/he want to investigate?

  • How can it be done?

  • Why is it important and relevant to do it in this way?

  • How can the researcher persuade her/his audience about the relevance of this design?

Research design is the crucial first step in the research cycle all students face when writing their individual capstone projects. As a first step, research design is heavily dependent on thinking and planning, two activities that would require each students to imagine, adapt and negotiate what s/he wants to do (or think s/he wants to do) with what can actually be done in a feasible and interesting manner. This course is geared to assist you and give you tools to embark in that process.

Course objectives

By the end of the course students should develop the ability to:

  • Understand the basic principles of research design.

  • Recognize the different epistemological perspectives underpinning different methodological approaches to research design.

  • Create a robust design for their own projects, starting by identifying a valid, interesting and feasible research question.

  • Determine the connection between their research question and the type of evidence required to address it, and the related approaches to analyse it.

  • Learn how to effectively connect theory and practice in the various steps of their research projects and defend their choices when confronted with a wider audience.


Once available, timetables will be published in the e-Prospectus.

Mode of instruction

Two weekly meetings spread over the duration of the block comprise the structure of the course. The seminars are planned as working sessions or workshops, where my lectures will be combined with in-class exercises and your discussions on the practice of doing research. You are expected to prepare for each class in a twofold manner: (a) by studying the material required for each session and (b) by connecting these materials to your own research process (tracked in the research log).


  • Participation 15%

  • Research log 15%

  • Practicing research skills 30% (3 group presentations, 10% each)

  • Individual final proposal 40%

Please note:

  • In accordance with article 4.8 of the Course and Examination Regulations (OER), within 30 days after the publication of grades, the instructor will provide students the opportunity to inspect their exams/coursework.

  • There is a no re-sit policy at Leiden University College.


There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.

Reading list

The reading list will be available on Blackboard before the beginning of the course.


This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact


Daniela Vicherat Mattar