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Advanced Qualitative Methods


Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA Urban Studies programme.


Advanced Qualitative Methods will equip students with knowledge and skills needed to critically engage with urban space. This class will enhance students’ data collection and analysis skills, but it also goes beyond the first-year methods training in that it emphasizes taking an interpretive approach, being attuned to the normative and political implications of research in urban sites, and presenting findings to a wider public.

Over the course of the semester, students will work in small research groups, applying a variety of methods covered during work group sessions to conduct neighborhood-based inquiry in The Hague. Groups will present the results of their research during a closing conference-style event that will be open to the public. Throughout, we will grapple with a series of problems during work groups, such as “What is space?”, “What is a subject?”, “What is meaning?”, and “What is an image?” Students will thereby gain broad familiarity with methodological approaches, tools, and theories, and deepen their understanding of research traditions in urban studies and their foundations in humanities fields from philosophy to comparative literature to gender studies. Through close readings of theoretical texts and hands-on research in urban field sites, students will develop as urban scholars who are socially engaged and well prepared to meet the challenges of twenty-first century cities. We will interrogate the implications of the commodification of urban space, how the boundaries between private (commercial) space and public space are becoming increasingly fluid, and how such processes reshape the urban landscape. We will address such threats to the functioning of public space by operationalizing critical concepts for neighborhood-based research.

Advanced Qualitative Methods will prepare students to move confidently between the different disciplines that make up Urban Studies, but above all to take an interdisciplinary approach to complex issues and often disruptive challenges of urbanization that require taking multiple perspectives into account. Students will develop their critical sensibility through engagement with the humanities’ underlying ethical notions of who and what we are as human beings as well as more politically charged approaches to issues of urban change.

Course objectives

General learning outcomes

See tab Additional information for the overview of the programme's general learning outcomes. In the assessment methods below is outlined which general learning outcome will be tested through which method.

Course objectives, pertaining to this course

  • 1) Students understand the interface between ideas, empirical inquiry, and citizen engagement as well as the importance of urban research for critical and creative efforts to meet the challenges of the contemporary city.

  • 2) Students have learned how to apply advanced qualitative methods to understand contemporary developments in urban space.

  • 3) Students are able to take abstract and critical ideas an operationalize them for practical research and critical intervention.

  • 4) Students are confident and independent researchers who are able to devise, design and carry out a research project using a variety of qualitative methods.

  • 5) Students are able to present research findings in writing and orally to an audience.


The timetable is available on the Urban Studies website

Mode of instruction

  • Work group (compulsory attendance)
    This means that students have to attend every session of the course. If a student is unable to attend a workgroup, they should inform the lecturer in advance, providing a valid reason for absence. The teacher will determine if and how the missed session can be compensated by an additional assignment. If they are absent from a workgroup without a valid reason, they can be excluded from the final exam in the course.

Course Load

Total course load for this course is 5 EC (1 EC equals 28 hours), which equals 140 hours, broken down by:

  • Practical work: 24

  • Attending work groups: 24

  • Study of compulsory literature: 42

  • Completing assignment(s), preparing for classes and exams: 50

Assessment method


  • Midterm exam
    Take home examination
    -measured programme's general learning outcomes: 4-5
    -measured course specific objectives: 2

  • Group research report
    -measured programme's general learning outcomes: 4, 7, 11, 16
    -measured course specific objectives: 1-4

  • Oral presentation
    -measured programme's general learning outcomes: 4, 11
    -measured course specific objectives: 5


Partial grade Weighing
Take home exam 30
Group research report 40
Oral presentation 30

End grade

To successfully complete the course, please take note that the end grade of the course is established by determining the weighted average of all assessment components. Please note that if the midterm exam is lower than 5.50, you will not pass the course, regardless of the grade for the other assessment components.


If the end grade is insufficient (lower than a 6.0), or the midterm exam grade is lower than 5,50, there is a possibility of retaking the take home exam and/or the group research report, replacing the previous grade(s). Please note that grades can be improved by a maximum of one point.

Faculty regulations concerning participation in resits are listed in article 4.1 of the Faculty Course and Examination Regulations.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organised.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • Sharing readings

  • Submitting assignments

  • Sharing feedback

Reading list

Texts will be made available through Blackboard.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Dr. J. Boy Dr. A. Wolodzko