Political and Policy Research: Philosophy and Design


Course Objective

Learning outcomes:

Knowledge and understanding - The student has acquired knowledge and
understanding of:
(1) the various research traditions in the social and political sciences
and the ideas about the relation of theory and observations that they

Application - The student has acquired the competences to:
(2) critically reflect upon the methodological choices involved in
social science research;
(3) justify their own methodological choices in setting up a research
design, linking the levels of epistemology, methodology and techniques;
(4) apply suitable research techniques to the analysis of political
phenomena and formulate a research design.

Course Content

This course aims to provide a common frame of reference for students to
develop the design of their thesis. Specifically, it aims to get
students thinking about the set-up of their Master thesis in terms of
the formulation of its research question, hypotheses, design and the
philosophy of political science that it implies.

The course has the form of a seminar, requiring active participation of
the students. This means that you are expected to do the required
readings in advance, and be prepared to discuss these in class and with
your fellow students. Ahead of each class, you have to submit a
mini-assignment in which you apply the readings to the topic of your
Master thesis. These mini-assignments are to constitute the building
blocks of the final paper: a research design (in outline).

Teaching Methods

Seminar. Two three-hour sessions for four weeks.

Method of Assessment

Class participation and small assignments (together 33%) and final paper


Central text to be purchased ahead of class:

Halperin, S. and O. Heath (2017). Political Research. Methods and
Practical Skills. 2nd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN

Additional reading material will be announced in due course and made
available through Canvas.

Target Audience

Students in the Master Political Science (mandatory course for students
in all tracks).

General Information

Course Code S_PPRPD
Credits 6 EC
Period P3
Course Level 500
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences
Course Coordinator prof. dr. B.J.J. Crum
Examiner prof. dr. B.J.J. Crum
Teaching Staff prof. dr. B.J.J. Crum

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Teaching Methods Study Group