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Data Collection Methods


Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA Urban Studies programme. This course assumes that the student has taken part in Introduction to Methodology.


In this course students will get familiar with several types of data collection in the social sciences such as survey-research, participant observation, and conducting interviews and focus groups. Students will acquire practical skills of data collection through several assignments that are imbedded in field laboratories (partially outside the university, i.e. in the town of the Hague).

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 will have knowledge of four important methodological approaches in social research: survey, interview, observation, and participant observation

  • 2) Students will have the skill to formulate research questions based on concrete human behaviour in urban settings

  • 3) Students will have gained insight in how to choose appropriate methods of data collection

  • 4) Students will know the benefits and pitfalls over the several types of data collection

  • 5) Students will have practical skills in conducting interviews, making systematic observations, doing participant observation and designing a questionnaire

  • 6) Students will be able to reflect on their own role as a researcher


The timetable is available on the Urban Studies website

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture

  • Work group (compulsory attendance)
    This means that students have to attend every work group 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:

  • Attending lectures: 10

  • Attending work groups: 10

  • Assessment hours (exams): 4

  • Study of compulsory literature: 84

  • Completing assignment(s), preparing for classes and exams: 32

Assessment method


  • Final exam
    Written examination with closed questions (e.g. multiple choice)
    -measured programme's general learning outcomes: 1, 4, 7, 10-11, 16
    -measured course specific objectives: 1, 3-4

  • Work group assignments
    -measured programme's general learning outcomes: 7, 10-11, 15-17, 19-26
    -measured course specific objectives: 1-6


Partial grade Weighing
Work group grade: assignments 30
Final Exam 70

End grade

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

  • The end grade of the course is established by determining the weighted average of work group grade and the final exam grade.

  • This means that failing exam grades cannot be compensated with a high work group 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 written final examination, replacing the previous final exam grade. No resit for the work group 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:

  • Distributing lecture handouts

  • Supplementary material

  • Announcements

  • Discussion board for students

  • Information on grades

Reading list

  • A. Bryman, Social Research Methods

  • Knox, P. & S. Pinch, Urban Social Geography, 196-209.

  • Article by/about Erving Goffman.


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

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


dr. A. van der Voort dr. J. Boy