424501 :MTO-A MAW: Inleiding methodenleer
(Introduction to Research Methodology)

General info

Instruction language Dutch
Type of Instruction 20 hours lecture , 20 hours tutorials (Lecture schedule)
Type of exams Written (multiple choice) (Examination schedule)
Course load:5 ECTS credits
Registration:Enroll via COMAP.
Blackboard InfoLink to Blackboard (When you see 'Guest are not allowed in this course', please login at Blackboard itself)


dr. G.B.D. Moors (Coördinatie werkgroepen, hoorcollege)

R.C.M. van Aert MSc
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O.C.A. Zegers
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P.P.G. Bongarts
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L.M.W. van Dijk
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A.E.M. van der Hoogt


Knowledge of, comprehension in and application of ways of doing research in the social sciences.
At the end of the course students have, at the introductionary level, knowledge about key terms in social research, e.g.: methodological approaches in research, defining research questions and hypotheses; validity and reliability in measurenemnt; datacollection; research designs; sampling; survey research and experiments.

The student manages in analyzing and evaluating examples from social research regarding the fundamental characteristics of the design used: what type of data is used?; what are the research questions and hypotheses?; what sampling design is used?; does the design pay attention towards measurement problems?; what are the positive and negative aspects of the design?.
In the end the student is able to define a basic research setup in which the most important facets of research are incorporated: correctly defining research questions and hypotheses; motivating choices regarding sampling strategies; considering implication to conduct experimental research; decissions about data collection and method to use.


  1. Methodological approaches
    • Knowledge: knowing the typical characteristics of 4 mainstream approaches towards social research, i.e. experimental research; survey research; field methods and available data research
    • Comprehension: recognizing the typical characteristics in examples of research
    • Application: indicating the type of approach that is best suited in a particular research context and explaining why
  2. Unit of analysis; research questions; conceptual model and hypotheses
    • Knowledge: variations in unit of analysis; nested datadesigns; difference between research question and hypothesis; link between theory, proposition and hypothesis; different types of multivariate hypotheses; formulation research questions and hypotheses
    • Comprehension: defining unit of analysis in examples of research; indicating the type of hypotheses use in examples; defining the conceptual model with a given set of hypotheses; evaluating the adequacy of how hypotheses and research questions are worded
    • Application: developing hypotheses in the context of a social theory; merging these hypotheses in a conceptual model; elaborating on how these hypotheses can be researched
  3. Conceptualizing and measurement: measurement errors, validity and reliability
    • Knowledge: from conceptualizing to operationalizing; random versus systematic measurement bias; validity and reliability: definitions, types and testing of
    • Comprehension: defining the concepts used in examples of social research and indicating how they are operationalized; recognizing when researchers discuss validity versus reliability issues in measurement; recognizing when a particular way of researching validity or reliability is used
    • Application: indicating the type of measurement error that occurs in particular situations; advising on the type of validity test that should be used in particular situations; arguing why a particular test of reliability is applicable or not
  4. Sampling and its application
    • Knowledge: target population versus sampling frame; probability versus non-probability sampling; simple random sampling; stratified sampling; clustersampling; quotasampling; convenience versus purposive sampling; networksampling; factors influencing sample size recuirements
    • Comprehension: identifying the type of sampling design used in reported research examples; demonstrating you understanding of factors influencing how large a sample should be; recognizing when the quality of a sample deteriorates by the fact that there is a difference between target population and sampling frame
    • Application: advising on the optimal sampling design in a particular situation
  5. Experiments and experimental designs
    • Knowledge: the logic of experimentation; design of an experiment; experiments and causality; experimental designs; internal and external validity of experimental designs
    • Comprehension: recognizing the experimental design in research examples; explaining why particular problems regarding validity emerge in certain experimental designs; recognizing whether a design meets all the criteria of causality
    • Application: designing an experiment that enables to research a research question within the social sciences
  6. Survey research
    • Knowledge: characteristics of survey research; examples of large scale survey research; modes of survey research; causality within survey research; survey instrumentation; wording of survey questions; surveybias
    • Comprehension: evaluating whether the wording survey questions fits the quality requirements; evaluating whether the survey design allows to research issues of causality; indicating when survey questins are vulnerable to survey bias; arguing what the benefits and drawbacks are of a particular survey mode in a given context
    • Application: designing a questionnaire; correcting examples of questionnaires; selecting an appropriate survey mode


Active participation during lectures is stimulated by formative evaluations. Formative evaluations imply that students will be tested on their knowledge of and comprehension in course material and that they will be given feedback on this.

Compulsory Reading

  1. B.C. Straits & R.A. Singleton, Social Research, Approaches and Fundamentals (International Fifth Edition), New York: Oxford University Press, 2011, ISBN ISBN: 978-0-19-539461-0.
  2. Overheadsheets via Blackboard.
  3. Selected articles (updated in Blackboard)

Compulsory for

  • Bachelor Organization Studies ( 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 )
  • Bachelor Human Resource Studies ( 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 )
  • Bachelor Sociology ( 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 )
  • Major: Cultuur in Vergelijkend Perspectief ( 2017 )
  • Major: Grootstedelijke vraagstukken ( 2017 )
  • Major: Sociale Risico's in een Veranderende Wereld ( 2017 )