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Methods: Analysing Social Processes


Title course: Social Science Methods

Coordinator(s): Amineh Ghorbani
Other involved teachers: TBD

Entry requirements

This course is part of the MSc Industrial Ecology (joint degree between Leiden University and Delft University of Technology). In order to follow this course, a basic knowledge in Statistics which is provided in the online preparation module for the IE program will be helpful.

Description course

This course explains the process of scientific research in the social sciences and introduces the main methods used in the field. It helps students in theorizing and thinking like a
researcher, which are often prerequisites of empirical and modelling research. The course covers the whole process of research from building hypotheses and collecting data, to modelling and simulation. Topics include: case study research, surveys (questionnaires and interviews), mixed-methods, modelling and simulation.

Learning goals:

After completing this course, students will
1. have knowledge on different research approaches and methods that can be used to study social phenomena.
2. know the requirements and limitations for different types of research methods.
3. be able to judge which kind of method fits which type of problem.
4. be able to design a research process based on the societal issue and research questions given to them.
5. know how to develop theories and propositions about social phenomena using their research design.

Education format

The course consists of a series of theoretical lectures and practical sessions where the theories are applied to specific cases.

Assessment forms

The assessment includes a written closed-book exam and 3 assignments in groups. The students will also have weekly quizzes that have to be completed to pass the course but will not be graded to be part of the course grade.


The course will be mainly based on the book: Social Science Research: Principles, Methods, and
Practices. In addition, some research papers and supplementary material will also be provided.


This course uses Brightspace. Course documents, the course manual, announcements etc. can be found via Brightspace. To get access to the Brightspace page of this course, you first need to register via uSis.