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Research Methods


Admission requirements

Not applicable


Sound research design skills are critical for business students’ long term success, either for designing and executing their own research to solve various business problems or for engaging with academics and consultants to gain insights for business development. The goal of this course is to provide students with an overview of research design, for business research in particular and social research in general. The course covers the logic of scientific research and research design across a variety of quantitative and qualitative methods, in order to develop a general understanding of the problems of research design and the specifics of implementing various research methods.

The course consists of lectures, discussions, and assignments. Students are expected to come to class having completed the readings. Class lecture and discussion aim at gaining a deeper understanding of the arguments and problems that each week’s readings are addressing.

Topics covered

  • Logic of science

  • Principles of research design

  • Theory and hypothesis

  • Measurement

  • Sampling

  • Different modes of observations:
    o Experiments
    o Survey
    o Field research
    o Unobtrusive research

Course objectives

This course provides students with skills and knowledge which are necessary in the research process and the application of qualitative and quantitative research methods in order to solve the business problems. At the end of this course students will be able to

  • Raise interesting and relevant business research questions;

  • Develop good hypotheses;

  • Conduct an in-depth literature review;

  • Think critically about prior studies, in particular various threats to validity;

  • Understand principles of research design;

  • Understand basic components of various research methods, as well as their strengths and weaknesses;

  • Design a rigorous research project, covering the complete process from conceptualization to operationalization;

  • Draft an academic research/project proposal with scientific rigor.


Check MyTimetable and use your ULCN account to login.

You will find the timetables for all the courses and degree programme in MyTimetable. This enables you to create a personal timetable. Any teaching activities that you have registered for in uSis will automatically be displayed in your timetable. Any timetables that you add will be saved and automatically displayed the next time you sign in.

Mode of instruction

Lecture, student discussion

Assessment method

  • Assignment 1: Research question and hypotheses (10%)

  • Assignment 2: Nonspuriousness and measurement (10%)

  • Assignment 3: List of publications (10%)

  • Assignment 4: Research proposal (60%)

  • Pop quiz (10%)

Grading policy:

  • Assignment 1-3 are intermediate steps for Assignment 4. Assignment 1, 2, 3, and each pop quiz is counted only if its grade is higher than the grade of Assignment 4. If lower, then its weight is assigned to Assignment 4.

  • In order to pass the course, students must have a final grade of at least 5.5. The final grade is rounded off to the nearest half or integer.

  • Students who fail Assignment 4 can re-do the assignment within a specified time frame. The second attempt will be graded using the same criteria as the initial attempt but with a 1-point grade penalty. Students who fail the second attempt will not have a third chance for re-take. No re-takes are offered for Assignment 1-3 or pop quiz.

  • The deadline for each assignment is binding; missing the deadline will automatically lead to a grade of 0.

  • Under special personal circumstances, e.g., sickness, family issues, deadline extension can be granted. Please direct such requests to the Study Adviser, Loes van der Hulst-Scheffer. The study advisor is the one to make an assessment of a student’s confidential, personal information, not the teacher.

The teacher will inform the students how the inspection of and follow-up discussion of the exams will take place.

Reading list

Earl Babbie, (2016). The practice of social research (14e). Cengage Learning. ISBN-10: 1-305-10494-3, ISBN-13: 978-1-305-10494-5. [Any edition is fine. Chapter numbers in this syllabus are based on Babbie (2016, 14e).]
Additional readings are listed in the table of class schedule.


You have to sign up for classes and examinations (including resits) in uSis.
There is only limited capacity for external students. Please contact the programme coordinator


For any questions contact the Business Studies coordinator

Note: If you are an ICTiBPS student, you can contact the programme coordinator of ICTiBPS for any questions about your program.


  • Students are responsible for enrolling/unenrolling themselves for (partial) exams/retakes.

  • Students are responsible for enrolling themselves for (partial) exams/retakes.

  • The deadline for enrolling for an exam/retake is 14 calendar days before the exam/retake takes place (exam date - 14 = deadline enrolling date).

  • Students who do not enroll themselves for an exam/retake by the deadline are not allowed to take the exam/retake.

  • Students fail the course if any of the partial components (except the exam) that make up the final mark of the course is assessed below 4.0.

  • Students fail the course if the grade for the (final) exam is assessed below 5.0.

  • The final grade is expressed as a whole or half number between 1.0 and 10.0, including both limits. The result is not to be expressed as a number between 5.0 and 6.0.

  • If one of the components of the final mark constitutes a component that assesses attendance or class participation, students cannot take a retake for this component. Therefore, students fail the course if their mark for this component is less than 4.0.

  • Partial grades, inclusive the exam grade will not be rounded. If partial grades will be communicated, it is possible partial grades are rounded, but unrounded partial grades will be used in the calculation of the final grade. The final grade will be rounded at 0.5 (5.49 will rounded down to a 5 and a 5.5 will be rounded up to a 6.0).

  • It is not possible to do retakes for group assignments. Therefore, if students fail the group assignment component, they fail the course.

  • Students pass the course if the final mark is 6.0 or higher (5.49 will rounded down to a 5 and a 5.5 will be rounded up to a 6.0).

  • For courses, for which class participation is an assessment component, students may not be penalised for an absence if the student has a legitimate justification for this absence. The student must notify the program coordinator via email ( of such an absence BEFORE the lecture, describing the reason for missing the lecture. If the student does not notify the program coordinator before the lecture, the student will be penalised. Students may be required to provide further documentation to substantiate their case, and class attendance requirements are only waived under exceptional circumstances such as illness.

  • Students who are entitled to more exam/retake time must report to 10 days before the exam/retake takes place.