Social Research Methodology


Course Objective

Learning outcomes:

Knowledge and understanding - The student has acquired knowledge and
understanding of:
(1) the most important social scientific approaches and is able to
relate these approaches to how social scientific research is done;
(2) the way to translate a research problem into a research question,
and decide on the appropriate research design;
(3) the theoretical and practical considerations in order to make the
step from a research design to the collection and analysis of data;
(4) the most important data collection methods and analytical methods
can decide which one or which combination to use in order to answer a
given research question.

Course Content

This course is an introduction to the social scientific research

On the one hand it shows that a researcher’s scientific approach often
coincides with the choice of an appropriate research design and
accompanying data collection methods and analytical methods. A clear
line can be drawn from problem, via research question, research design,
data collection, data analysis, to the interpretation of the results
(the empirical cycle). This course shows the implicit dependency in this
cycle. During this course the role of knowledge, theories, and research
paradigms when setting up a research question (exploratory, descriptive,
confirmatory) will be explained. Given a research question insights are
offered on how to come to an answer. It will be made clear that several
approaches exist. The two most important ones are the interpretative
approach (often related to so-called qualitative research) and the
positivist approach (often related to so-called quantitative research).
These approaches may complement each other, but often this is not the

On the other hand, this course provides an overview of several data
collection techniques and analytical methods. Data collection methods
that will be discussed are the use of questionnaires (nowadays often on-
line), keeping interviews (structured, open, using focus groups), a
study of texts and images, observation methods, experiments, et cetera.
Important issues before, during and after the collection of data such as
operationalization, reliability, validity, the order of data,
subjectivity, causality, generalization, ethics, reflection, extreme
cases will be dealt with. A next step in the empirical cycle is how to
analyze the given data (although in some instances data collection and
the analysis of data can not easily be separated). Methods that will be
discussed are statistical analysis, discourse analysis, content
analysis, the analysis of secondary data, network analysis, etc. Based
on the analysis, the results and its interpretation have to be described
such that it does justice to the research problem, the data collection
method, and analytical method.

Teaching Methods


Method of Assessment

Written examination (multiple choice)

Target Audience

1st year bachelorstudents in Cultural Anthropology and Development

General Information

Course Code S_SRM
Credits 6 EC
Period P2
Course Level 100
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences
Course Coordinator dr. J.C. Muis
Examiner dr. J.C. Muis
Teaching Staff dr. S. Akachar
dr. J.C. Muis

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Teaching Methods Lecture