Research Skills


Course Objective

This course lets the student reflect on how to conduct research and what
is necessary to make a research project a success. In order to reach
this greater goal the student must be able to:
• know and apply The Netherlands Code of Conduct for Scientific
• reflect on his/her own favourite learning style;
• find adequate literature for his/her own research project;
• evaluate and write at different levels;
• evaluate literature that discusses his/her research topic;
• apply methodological literature;
• write a coherent, well-defined and methodologically correct research
• integrate feedback from different angles.

Course Content

Research outcome mainly hit the tabloids for two reasons. It is either
an enormous breakthrough in some field of science or it is proven
enormously fraudulent. These circumstances, however, are two extremes of
a vast area in which scholars are doing their best to come to good
research results. No course can instruct a student how to reach a
breakthrough, but a course in research skills can at least teach how to
avoid the extremity of fraud or flawed science. This course aims to show
you how to set up research, starting with a text about the problem you
want to write about, its relevance for faith communities and society,
resulting in a good and workable
research proposal.

Teaching Methods

Lectures in period 3.
Tutorials in period 3, in which the research proposal will be reviewed.

Method of Assessment

Assignments about finding literature, learning style, evaluation,
analysis, writing, etc (50%).

Definite research proposal according to the given format (50%): this
proposal must be approved by the tutorial leader and a possible thesis
supervisor before the course can be passed.


- Guidelines for Writing a Thesis ThRS (or: Nederlandse richtlijnen voor
het schrijven van een scriptie), see Canvas or VUnet.
- parts of M. Stausberg & S. Engler (eds). The Routledge Handbook of
Methods in the Study of Religion. Oxon: Routledge, 2011 (e-book UBVU).
- The Netherlands Code of Conduct for Scientific Practice: Principles of
good academic teaching and research. ‘s-Gravenhage: VSNU, third revised
edition, 2014 (website of vsnu).
- Aleth Bolt & Walter Bruins, Effective Scientific Writing: An Advanced
Learner's Guide to Better English. Amsterdam: VU University Press, 2017.

Required for empirical students (available via Canvas):
- Hamza Alshenqeeti, “Interviewing as a Data Collection Method: A
Critical Review.” English Linguistics Research, 2014, 3(1), 39-45.
- Jennifer Fereday et al., “Demonstrating Rigor Using Thematic Analysis:
A Hybrid Approach of Inductive and Deductive Coding and Theme
Development”. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 2006, 5(1),

Required for non-empirical students:
- Part of F.H. van Eemeren & A.F. Snoeck Henkemans. Argumentation:
Analysis and
Evaluation. New York & Oxon: Routledge, 2nd edition, 2017.

Target Audience

This course is for all students of the three Master's programmes of the
faculty Religion and Theology, with two exceptions:

not follow the course, but will prepare their research proposal during
the Master

Students of the RESEARCH MASTER will follow a different pathway in this
course. They will do tutorials on how to turn a paper into an academic
article by studying Aleth Bolt & Walter Bruins, Effective Scientific
Writing: An Advanced Learner's Guide to Better English (Amsterdam: VU
University Press, 5th edition, 2017). They will prepare their research
proposal during Research Design 1-2.

Additional Information

(1) One cannot enter this tutorials in January without having submitted
a preliminary
thesis proposal before 15 December 2018.
(2) This course can only be completed if the definite research proposal
is approved by the tutorial leader and a professor in the field of the
research proposal.

Custom Course Registration

Parttime students may follow the course in two years. It is recommended to do the assignments in the first year and the research proposal in the second year.

General Information

Course Code G_RESSK
Credits 6 EC
Period P1+2+3
Course Level 500
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Religion and Theology
Course Coordinator dr. E. van Staalduine-Sulman
Examiner dr. E. van Staalduine-Sulman
Teaching Staff dr. E. van Staalduine-Sulman
dr. V.A. van Bijlert
dr. E.V. Tolstoj
dr. S. Sremac

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Seminar, Lecture, Study Group
Target audiences

This course is also available as: