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Policy, governance and organisation II: Qualitative empirical research international governance


Admission requirements

  • Foundations of Research Design and Qualitative Research Methods

  • EU Politics and Policy

  • International Administration


Issues such as financial crisis, climate change, food safety threats, spread of infectious diseases, migration are the challenges that require collective political responses. As a result, international and supranational public administrations have become an important feature of global governance. International bureaucracies have received much scholarly attention in public administration research. This course further builds on the theories, concepts, and methods introduced in the courses on International Administration; European Union Politics and Policy; and Qualitative Methods. The core goal of this course is to introduce students to the qualitative research in the field and help them design, plan, and carry out an empirical research on international administrations. To that end, the course consists of lectures and seminars introducing the core themes in international administration research. It focuses on providing students with a general framework and guidance to design an achievable research project, in which students show that they are able to apply qualitative research skills on research topics related to international and EU governance.

Course objectives

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

1) Discuss and assess the qualitative public administration research on international bureaucracies (e.g., EU institutions, International Organizations);
2) Integrate and apply theoretical frameworks about international administrations and the challenges they face;
3) Propose and present an achievable research project to answer a research question related to international bureaucracies;
4) Design, plan, and conduct a qualitative research project.


On the Public Administration front page of the E-guide you will find links to the website and timetables, uSis and Blackboard.

Mode of instruction

This course consists of lectures, working groups and self-study.

Course Load

Total course load for the course is 140 hours. For this course, the study load is roughly divided as follows:

  • Lectures (7x2=) 14 hours

  • Seminars/Workgroups (7x2=) 14 hours

  • Time for studying the compulsory literature 40 hours

  • Assignments (a short paper) 12 hours

  • Time to design, conduct, and write a research paper (i.e. group project) 60 hours

Assessment method

  • Short individual paper written in the context of the working group (40 % of final grade).

  • Research Project in small groups (60% of final grade). Students are expected to design and conduct a research project on a topic involving international administrations. Research projects should present the research question, review and analyze current research on the issue, develop a theory to answer the question, derive testable expectations, specify a qualitative research design to evaluate the hypotheses empirically, collect and analyze empirical data.

    Resit Students will be permitted to resit an examination if they have taken the first sit and earned a mark between 3 and 5.5 or with permission of the Board of Examiners.


Register for every course in Blackboard. Important information about the course is posted here.

Reading list

  • Bauer, M. W., Knill, C., & Eckhard, S. (Eds.). (2016). International Bureaucracy: Challenges and Lessons for Public Administration Research. Palgrave Macmillan.

  • Blatter, J., & Haverland, M. (2012). Designing case studies: Explanatory approaches in small-N research. Palgrave Macmillan.

  • Bennett, A., & Checkel, J. T. (Eds.). (2014). Process tracing. Cambridge University Press.

Plus articles to be announced (see Blackboard).


Use both uSis and Blackboard to register for every course. Register for every course and workgroup via uSis. 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. Registration in uSis is possible from four weeks before the start of the course.
Also register for every course in Blackboard. Important information about the course is posted here.


Dr. D. D. Toshkov