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Introduction to Methodology


Admission requirements

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


In this course students will get familiar with basic concepts in methodology and descriptive statistics necessary to conduct research in Urban Studies, such as the empirical cycle, spatial analysis with use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), central tendency and variability, the normal distribution, relationsips between variables and describing and explaining variance.

Students will acquire practical skills of data analysis through several assignments that are imbedded in urban research.

Together with the course Data Collection Methods, the course will form the compulsory basis for methodology courses in the second year.

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

The student is able to:

  • 1) describe core concepts of methods and techniques in Urban Studies such as the emprirical cycle, variables, measurement level, central tendency and variability, distributions, association, experimental design.

  • 2) describe basic concepts in desciptive statistics such as measures of central tendency and variability, measures of association, and elementary geospatial data concepts (data formats, vector/raster, projections,and spatial tools).

  • 3) use SPSS for descriptive statistics and will have elementary skills in using ArcGIS for spatial analysis.


The timetable is available on the Urban Studies website

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture (compulsory attendance)

  • Work group (compulsory attendance)
    This means that students have to attend every lecture and work group session of the course. If a student is unable to attend a workgroup or lecture, 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:

  • Attending lectures: 10

  • Attending work groups: 10

  • Assessment hours (exams): 2

  • Study of compulsory literature: 88

  • Completing assignment(s), preparing for classes and exams: 30

Assessment method


  • Work group assignments (covering SPSS and ArcGIS).
    -measured programme's general learning outcomes: 4, 7, 11, 16, 19, 21, 23, 25
    -measured course specific objectives: 1-3

  • Final exam
    Written examination with closed questions (e.g. multiple choice)
    -measured programme's general learning outcomes: 7, 16-17
    -measured course specific objectives: 1-2


Partial grade Weighing
Final exam 100

End grade

To successfully complete the course, please take note of the following:

  • If the final exam grade is lower than 5.50, you will not pass the course.

  • 3 specific assignments out of the 5 assignments always need to be sufficient in order to obtain an end grade: if any of these assignments are insufficient, the student will get an obligatory extra assignment that needs to be evaluated as ‘sufficient’ in order to obtain the end grade.


If the end grade is insufficient (lower than a 6.0), or the final exam grade is lower than 5,50, there is a possibility of retaking the final exam, replacing the previous final exam grade. No resit for the work group grade is possible.

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:

  • Announcements

Reading list

  • Howell, D. (2012). Statistical Methods for Psychology, International Edition. (8th Edition).

  • Leary, M.L. (2012). Introduction to Behavioral Research Methods (6th edition). Boston: Pearson.

  • Pallant, J. (2016). SPSS Survival Manual (6th edition). Berkshire: McGraw-Hill.

Examples will be used from Knox & Pinch (2010). Urban Social Geography: An Introduction (6th edition). London & New York: Routledge.


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. Witteman ing. M. van ‘t Zelfde