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Methods in Political Science - Spring



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.
In the framework of the course students are required to choose one of the following working groups:

  • Quantitative research methods: this working group will focus on the use of linear (OLS) and 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 prior experience with statistics (with OLS regression as the baseline requirement).

  • Qualitative research methods: this working group will focus on the objectives and application of multiple qualitative methods including (elite) interviewing, discourse analysis, and historical research/secondary data analysis.

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 January.
Students who want to take this course on a voluntary basis can register through uSis via 18936 (6444RDPSW) between 16 December 10:00hrs and 31 May 23:59hrs

Course objectives

Upon succesful completion of the course:
1 Students will be able to develop sound research questions and choose appropriate research designs to answer them
2 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

A brief calculation of the course load, broken down by:

  • Total course load for the course (number of EC x 28 hours), for a course of 5 EC is 140 hours, for 10 EC 280.

  • Hours spent on attending lectures and seminars (eg 2 hours per week x 14 weeks = 28 hours)

  • Time for studying the compulsory literature (as a possible criterion approx. 7 pages per hour with deviations up and down depending on the material to be studied) (if applicable) time for completing assignments, whether in preparation at the college

  • (If applicable) time to write a paper (including reading / research)

Assessment method

Course assessment will be based on:

  • participation: 10%

  • methods exercises (multiple assignments): 90%


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

Reading list

Quantitative working group only: Field, Andy (2018) Discovering Statistics Using IBM SPSS Statistics (5th edition). London: SAGE.


On February 25th 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 16 - 22 March. Please use the required activity number in uSis:
Quantitative group (01), The Hague: 12630, Wednesdays 11.15-13.00h, in PC Rooms
Qualitative group 01, Leiden: 21968, Wednesdays 09.15-11.00h
Qualitative group 02, Leiden: 21969, Wednesdays 11.15-13.00h