nl en

Research Design (HD)


Admission requirements

Successful completion of at least one 200 level methods course in the major, i.e. Qualitative Research Methods, Cultural and Visual Analysis, or Historical Methods.

Note: second-year HD students are strongly recommended to take this course in preparation for the writing of their Capstone during Year 3.


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.


Timetables for courses offered at Leiden University College in 2020-2021 will be published on this page of 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).

Assessment Method


Reading list

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


Courses offered at Leiden University College (LUC) are usually only open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Leiden University students who participate in one of the university’s Honours tracks or programmes may register for one LUC course, if availability permits. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator,


Daniela Vicherat Mattar,