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Methodologies in the Social Sciences and Humanities


Admission requirements

Admission to the MA Asian Studies (research) or the MA Middle Eastern Studies (research) and successful completion of the course Critical Area Studies: Placing your Research. Students from other Research MA programmes can only be admitted, if there are places left. Please contact the programme coordinator if you are interested and not a student of one of the two Research MA programmes mentioned above. Students who have not completed the Critical Area Studies course, but are interested in this course, should also contact the study co-ordinator prior to registration.


This twelve-week course organised by the Leiden University Institute for Area Studies in collaboration with LeidenGlobal allows beginning scholars to develop a critical understanding of methodologies in the social sciences and humanities (SSH).

Methodology refers to the logical and developed coherence between research question, theory and methods. Rather than a fixed set of rules, methodology is based in an ongoing conversation among scholars in the SSH on data collection and analysis. During this course, participants engage in this conversation with their peers as well as experienced researchers in the SSH. Throughout the course, they become acquainted with the main epistemological debates and the choices they need to make and self-critically support in their own research.

Course objectives

At the end of the course, students will be able to motivate their individual methodological choices within the broader context of methodologies in SSH. For the purpose of developing this motivation they will critically review the methodologies of their field of research in general and their respective research projects specifically. Guest lectures by established scholars, class discussion and state-of-the-art literature help participants form a critical basis for both current and future research.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

5 Seminars and 7 lectures (2 introductory, 5 expert lectures)

Attendance is compulsory for all sessions. Students must prepare well and contribute to in-class discussion. If a student cannot attend because of illness or misadventure, they should promptly inform the convener. Extra assignments may be set to make up for missed class time, at the convener’s discretion. Absence without notification may result in lower grades or exclusion from assessment components and a failing grade for the course.

Assessment Method

Academic Integrity

Students should familiarize themselves with the notion of academic integrity and the ways in which this plays out in their own work. A good place to start is this page. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. Students may not substantially reuse texts they have previously submitted in this or other courses. Minor overlap with previous work is allowed as long as it is duly noted in citation.

Students must submit their assignment(s) to Brightspace through turnitin, so they can be checked for plagiarism. Submission via email is not accepted.

Assessment and weighing

Partial Assessment Weighing
Working with feedback (on 3 assignments) 30 %
Giving feedback (on 3 assignments for every member of the peer review group) 20 %
Critical review of methologies in field of study 30%|
Short critical reviews (5 in total) 20%

Students write weekly assignments relating to their individual projects (3 assignments) and the course readings (5 assignments) and one final assignment: a critical literature review relevant to the methodologies of their field of study. Additionally, they give feedback to their peers three times during the semester

Assessment focuses on evaluation of the participant’s understanding of relevant material, critical thinking, logical and coherent argumentation, effective use of course literature, effective use of lectures, effective use of literature from own field of study, effective use of feedback for own research project, quality of given feedback (relevance, perceptiveness, constructiveness).

In order to pass the course, students need a pass mark (“voldoende”, i.e. “5.50” or higher) for the course as a whole.

All categories of assessment must be completed in the same academic year. No partial marks can be carried over into following years.


Only if the total weighted average is 5.49 or lower and this is the result of a paper graded 5.49 or lower, a re-sit of the final paper is possible (30%). In that case the convener of the course may decide to assign a (new) topic. The deadline for this version will be determined by the course convener, after consultation with the student.
A re-sit for other course components is not possible.

Inspection and feedback

If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

Readings and links to online resources will be made available through Brightspace.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website.
PhD Students are required to register through Leiden Global.

Registration Studeren à la carte en Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Vrieshof

  • For questions about registration for PhD students, contact LeidenGlobal.