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Qualitative Research Methods


Admission requirements

Mandatory course for students enrolled in the bachelor’s programme Security Studies. Only students of the Bachelor Security Studies can take this course.


In this course we move on from learning the basic concepts in social science research, as you have learned in Research Methods 1, to gaining an in-depth insight into data collection techniques and analysis possibilities in qualitative research. Specifically, you will learn about interviewing and discourse analysis, which are commonly used in the field of security studies. Furthermore, you will explore various qualitative methods that you will need to apply to help you answer a safety and/or security research question.

This course is divided up into lectures and course labs. The lectures will provide the theoretical knowledge on how to hold an interview and conduct discourse analysis. The course labs will focus more on gaining practical skills on how to analyse qualitative data using the software programme Atlas.ti.

Important information
This course – Qualitative Research Methods – is for students who started the Bachelor Security Studies in the academic year 2020-2021. Students who started their first year of the Bachelor Security Studies before the academic year 2020-2021 and who have not yet completed Research Methods 2, should take Research Methods 2 this academic year. Please take a look at the transitional arrangements tab to learn more.

Course Objectives

At the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Identify and explain what qualitative research methods entail;

  • Hold an interview and collect data for a discourse analysis;

  • Identify and utilise different types of qualitative data analyses;

  • Choose the correct type of qualitative data analysis to help you answer your research question;

  • Use the software programme Atlas.ti to help you do qualitative data analysis;

  • Analyse and interpret the results from your qualitative data analysis in a correct manner;

  • Critically evaluate and critique (your own) qualitative research design(s);

  • Report your findings with clarity and precision

  • Work in a team on a research project.


On the right side of programme front page of the e-guides you will find links to the website and timetables, uSis and Brightspace.

Mode of Instruction

7 plenary lectures
4 course labs in smaller groups.

Attendance of the course labs is mandatory. If you miss more than 1 course lab you fail the course and won’t obtain a final grade.

Total study load is 140 hours:

  • Contact hours (lectures and course labs): 33 hours

  • Self-study hours (including working on the assignments): 107 hours

Assessment method

The final grade for this course is based on two types of assessment:

Group assignment

  • 25% of the final grade

  • Grade must be compensated

  • Resit not possible

Individual paper

  • 75% of the final grade

  • Grade must be 5.50 or higher

  • Resit of a fail is possible

Students will also be permitted to resit the individual paper (75%) if they have a calculated overall course grade lower than 5.50.

Additional formative (non-graded) assignments are an obligatory part of the course.

Reading list

Compulsory literature for this course is:

Aarten, P.G.M., Froneberg, E., Hewitt, J., Krüsselmann, K., & Peterscheck, A. (Eds.) (2020). Research Methods for Security Studies. SAGE. ISBN: 978-1-5297-5409-4.

Other (suggested) literature will be listed on Brightspace in due course.


Use uSis to register for this course. Registration for courses in uSis is possible from 15 December, 13.00h. Pay attention: registration for workgroups in uSis is possible from 15 December, 21:00h. Some courses and workgroups have a limited number of participants, so register on time (before the course starts). In uSis you can access your personal schedule and view your results.

Leiden University uses Brightspace as its online learning management system. After enrolment for the course in uSis you will be automatically enrolled in the Brightspace environment of this course.

Access to Brightspace is necessary because the syllabus and other information about this course can be found here. Furthermore, announcements and modifications will be communicated via Brightspace. Students have the responsibility to stay informed and are thus advised to regularly check Brightspace for updates.


dr. Wout Broekema


For exceptions, please contact the Board of Examiners.