Due to the Corona virus it is unclear how the programmes will take place. For the latest news please check the course page in Blackboard/Brightspace.


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Research in Public Administration


Admission requirements

  • Students who are admitted to either the PA or the CSM pre-master program. Students in the MPS pre-master need to take Bestuurskundig Onderzoek (Nederlandstalig);

  • Or, Students who are enrolled in the minor ‘Public Administration: Multilevel Governance’

  • Or, Erasmus exchange students.


What makes research academic? What is the role of theory development in the social sciences? How does one translate abstract concepts into observable indicators? This course offers an introduction to the fundamentals of social science research, with a particular focus on the field of public administration. Using examples from research in public administration, we explore the differences and similarities between qualitative and quantitative approaches to the social sciences. We will discuss the role of theory, ideas about causality, and issues of measurement. We will also discuss a range selection of research techniques employed in the social sciences. Finally, we will consider the importance of research design, including the formulation of a strong research question, the development of a theoretical framework, and the selection of an appropriate methodology to carry out the project. This course will not only help students develop the skills to critically assess the methodological underpinnings of research presented in academic books and articles, but also introduces them to the methodological skills required for future research projects.

Course objectives

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Identify the basic principles of academic research;

  • Situate a research project within quantitative and qualitative traditions of social research;

  • Broadly explain the advantages and disadvantages of various research techniques;

  • Identify different types of theory development and how they relate to specific methodologies; *Critically assess the methodological underpinnings of a social scientific research project;

  • Apply basic research methodologies


To be announced by OSC staff.

Mode of instruction

The course is structured as a Small Private Online Course (SPOC). The SPOC allows students to (1) self-assess their (prior) knowledge and progress through multiple choice quizzes, (2) revisit the short video lectures, (3) learn from each other through peer-reviews of assignments and papers, (4) and to have access to additional explanation by the instructors through three live web-conferences.

Course Load

140 hours self-study.

Assessment method

Assessment for this course consists of two small assignments (15% each in weight) and a larger assignment (70% in weight). Students need to earn a grade of 5,5 or higher for each of the assignments. It is not possible to compensate for partial grades within the course. Students need to earn a grade between 3 and 5,5 for their assignments to qualify for a retake.


No, the course uses an alternative Learning Management System (LMS), that is, NEO LMS. The SPOC will be made available before the start of the course and students will be informed about how to sign up for the online course.

Reading list



To be announced by OSC staff.


Dr. J. v.d. Voet
P.E.A. v.d. Bekerom MSc


All other information.