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Research Design: Thesis Lab 2


Admission requirements

Only students of the Advanced MSc International Relations and Diplomacy can take this course.


This course is the second stage of the thesis lab where students finalize their research proposals by refining their data collection and data analysis methods. Students attend the course with their partially developed project (from Thesis Lab I) ready to develop their project into a full research proposal. The course includes information on different methods approaches. Students must attend at least one of the following sessions: (1) Statistical methods; (2) Qualitative Case Study research; and (3) Qualitative Data Analysis Methods Stream. Session (1) revises observational and experimental large-N methodologies, including novel computational social science methodologies. Session (2) revises causal inference, comparative methods, case selection, data sources and triangulation. Session (3) revises methods of analysis including: content analysis; discourse analysis; congruence method; and process tracing. Students will have the opportunity to discuss specific issues relating to the design and implementation of their research in class.

Course objectives

On completion of this course, students will have:

· selected the appropriate research strategy to answer their research question; · identified the concepts under investigation using their selected methodology; · a clear understanding of how to collect and analyse the relevant data; · a clear understanding of the strengths and limitations of their research approach; · completed a full-length research proposal which includes methodology, chapter breakdown and research schedule.


On the right-hand side of the programme front page of the E-Prospectus you will find a link to the online timetables.

Mode of instruction

Short seminars; individual consultations; peer review.

Study load: 140 hours

Attendance Policy
Attendance is mandatory, subject to course structure (see syllabus for details).

Assessment method

Graded Assignments:

· Methods Section (40%) · Final Full Proposal (60%)

Failed partial grades or components should be compensated by passed partial grades or components. The calculated grade must be at least 5,5 to pass the course. It is not possible to re-sit a partial grade or component once you have passed the course.
Assignment requirements will remain the same. Only the thesis proposal is eligible for re-sit. Due to its nature, the individual meeting and critical response essay are both ineligible for a re-sit.

Partial grades will remain valid for one academic year. Should a student fail the overall course, s/he can complete the course in the next academic year. In cases of exceptional circumstances, a student may apply to the board of examiners for a resit to complete the course in the same academic year.

Reading list

Each student is responsible for reading up on necessary methods and techniques. To prepare for your research analysis method, you can consult the following textbooks:

Beach, Derek and Rasmus Brun Pedersen. 2013. Process-Tracing Methods: Foundations and Guidelines. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press

Beach, Derek and Rasmus Brun Pederson. 2016. Causal Case Study Methods: Foundations and Guidelines for Comparing, Matching, and Tracing. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Bennett, Andrew and Jeffrey T. Checkel. Eds. 2014. Process Tracing: From Metaphor To Analytic Tool. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

George, Alexander L. and Andrew Bennett. 2005. Case Studies and Theory Development in the Social Sciences. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Gerring, John. 2007. Case Study Research: Principles and Practices. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Howard, Christopher. 2017. Thinking Like A Political Scientist: A practical guide to research methods. Chicago: Chicago University Press.

Klotz, Audie & Deepa Prakash. Eds. 2008. Qualitative Methods in International Relations
A Pluralist Guide. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Rohlfing, Ingo. 2012. Case Studies and Causal Inference: An Integrative Framework. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Toshkov, Dimiter. 2016. Research Design in Political Science. Palgrave: New York, NY..

Yin, Robert K. (2008) Case Study Research: Design and Methods. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications.


The programme will register the students on Usis based on the group division. Use Brightspace for course information.

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.


Dr. J.J. Kantorowicz

Dr. M.G. Kellerman