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Methods in Political Science - Fall



The Methods in Political Science course aims to sharpen students’ knowledge of research designs and methods in order for them to successfully complete their Master thesis projects. The course also has a strong practical focus and guides students in applying specific methods to address their research questions by means of concrete exercises.
After an introductory general lecture in the first week, students select a working group to follow for the rest of the course programme:

  • Quantitative research methods: this working group starts with a refresher on the use of linear (OLS) regression analysis. After this, we continue with logistic regression analysis, techniques for working with complex survey and country-level data (e.g. cluster correction, weights), and basic multilevel analysis (random intercept models). Students who want to participate in this working group should have some prior experience with statistics (with a ‘rough’ understanding of OLS regression as the baseline requirement). The statistical package SPSS will be used.

  • Qualitative research methods: this working group will focus on the ideal-typical and practical use of specific methods such as interviewing, archival research/process tracing, discourse and content analysis, observation and fieldwork, focus groups, and computer assisted methods of qualitative research. Because much is learned by doing, this course has a significant ‘hands-on’component.

SPOC Research Design in Political Science

Students are highly encouraged to follow the online SPOC course before starting Methods in Political Science.
This online course can be accessed at any moment during semester 1. There are no EC’s attached to this course.
Entry requirement: Master student in one of the Political Science’s specialisations (both Leiden or Den Haag)
For more information and registration regarding this course click here

Registration for the SPOC:
Students who have been assigned to this course by the Admission Committee, will be registered by the SSC in August/January.
Students who want to take this course on a voluntary basis can register through UsiS via 15901 (6444RDPSW) between 28-8 10:00u and 22-12 23.59u

Course objectives

Upon succesful completion of the course:

  • Students will be able to develop sound research questions and choose appropriate research designs to answer them

  • Students will be able to correctly apply the quantitative/qualitative research methods addressed in the course

Mode of instruction

Lecture: general lectures on research questions and designs in Political Science.
Working groups: 6 working group sessions focusing on the practical application of research methods (qualitative or quantitative trajectory)

Course Load

Total course load for this course is 140 hours (5 EC)

  • 2h per week are spent in class, for a period of 7 weeks (= 14 hours)

  • A substantial amount of course time is reserved for completing course assignments and the final paper.

Assessment Method

  • Several short assignments on the application of specific methods: 60% of the grade in total

  • Final paper: 40% of the grade


Slides, teaching material, and exercises will be made available on Blackboard.

Reading list


On September 23rd there will be an informative session on registration for this course, in Leiden, after the joint lecture of Great Debates.

Enrollment for a Qualitative or a Quantitave work group is possible between 14 - 20 October. Please use the required activity number in uSis:
Qualitative group (01), The Hague: 12628, Mondays 11.15-13.00h
Quantitative group (02), Leiden: 10763, Tuesdays 11.15-13.00h, in PC rooms
Qualitative group 03, Leiden: 10764, Tuesdays 11.15-13.00h
Qualitative group 04, Leiden: 13474, Tuesdays 13.15-15.00h