Policy, Politics and Participation


Course Objective

1)• To deepen your analytic skills with respect to the investigation of
a complex societal problem;
2) To deepen and broaden your knowledge of political theory and
3)• To acquire further insight into the practice of qualitative social
scientific research;
4)• To acquire further insight into specific methods and techniques of
qualitative social scientific research;
5)• To improve skills in data collection and data analysis;
6)• To improve your argumentation skills;
7)• To improve your communication skills;
8)• To improve your skills in working effectively in a project team.

Course Content

In this course you get the chance to gain experience in the practical
implementation of a prominent methodology for interactively
investigating complex societal problems: focus group research. In a
research project aimed at the development of policy recommendations
concerning such complex problem, you will both improve your focus group
research skills and deepen your understanding of the relevant
theoretical concepts in the areas of policy studies, science and
technology studies and political theory. In a group of eight to twelve
students you will participate in an interactive research project
executed at the Athena institute (possibly with a real external

In this project you will be trained in and practice various skills for
data collection (such as focus group design and facilitation) and data
analysis (such as qualitative content analysis). Specific attention is
paid to your personal interactive research skills. At the end of the
course, you present your findings and recommendations orally.

In parallel to the group work for your research project, you will follow
lectures, attend and prepare for guest lectures by people active in the
field of policy-making, and actively participate in seminars following
the so-called "CARQ"-methodology. During these CARQ-seminars literature
is studied and discussed via the identification of a Core quotation, an
analysis of the Argumentative structure of the paper at issue, the
identification and articulation of pertinent Relations the paper has
with other material/ issues/ papers/ methodologies/..., and, finally
Questions that elicit in-depth discussions of topics pertinent to the

Teaching Methods

Lectures: 18 hours
Training workshops: 19 hours
CARQ seminars: 24 hours
Project assignment: 80 hours
focus group execution: 6 hours
Final presentations project results: 4 hours
Self study and assignment: remaining hours

Method of Assessment

The course does not have an exam. You will be assessed on the basis of
the group assignment, a group presentation, your individual performance
during the course and a take-home assignment. More precisely:

Individual grade [45%]:
CARQ facilitation and participation (10%)
Focus group facilitation (10%)
Participation (10%)
Take-home assignment (15%)

Group grade [55%]:
Focus group design and execution (20%)
Presentation (including analysis, policy recommendations and discussion)

For all group assignments a pass grade (> 5.5) needs to be obtained in
order to receive a final mark. For individual assignments, except for
participation, a resit can be done.

Entry Requirements

Basic knowledge of (interactive) policy processes, policy analysis and
relevant research skills are required.


To be announced on Canvas

Target Audience

Optional course for Master students Management, Policy Analysis and
Entrepreneurship in Health and Life sciences (MPA), Societal
differentiation of the Health, Life & Natural Sciences. Mandatory course
for MPA students who specialize in Policy.

Additional Information

Attendance is compulsory. (You will spend a great deal of your time on
team work.)

Custom Course Registration

Registration deadline by VUnet is 4 weeks before the start of the course.

General Information

Course Code AM_470589
Credits 6 EC
Period P2
Course Level 500
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator drs. W.L. Willems
Examiner drs. W.L. Willems
Teaching Staff P. Klaassen MA
dr. J.F.H. Kupper
prof. dr. J.E.W. Broerse

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Lecture, Study Group
Target audiences

This course is also available as: