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Comprehensive Introduction to Research Methodology and Design

Comprehensive Introduction to Research Methodology and Design

IMPORTANT NOTICE: This programme is for both internal candidates at the UvA as an optional prerequisite for the Master's degree, and for external candidates who are studying (or planning to study) at another institution. Please indicate your category (internal or external) in the online application form.

How to apply

Programme at a glance

Academic dates: 19 July - 13 August 2020*
Housing dates: 18 July - 14 August 2020*
Academic fee for (future) UvA Students: € 850*
Academic fee for external applicants: € 1600*
Housing fee:

€ 500 - 650* and € 75 refundable deposit. Housing prices will vary per programme depending on location. For more information, see Housing and practical matters.

Who is this programme for?

For incoming UvA Masters students in the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences. All students must have a Bachelor's degree (minimum). For external candidates, preference is given to current Master and PhD students.

Academic director: Alex Voicu
Early Application deadline (External applicants): 10 January 2019
Regular Application deadline (External applications): 1 April 2019
Application deadline (Internal applications): 7 June 2019

*Applications for summer 2020 open on 1 September 2019.

*Dates and prices are tentative and subject to change. All information for summer 2020 will be finalized by 1 December 2019. Check back regularly for updates. For more information, email

Programme description

This course aims to lay a solid, diverse and integrated foundation for conducting first-rate qualitative and quantitative research, and for embedding it in effective and feasible mixed-method research designs. At the end of this summer programme, students will have a good understanding of the most important principles and practices of social science research. They will also be able to improve their knowledge and skills independently after the course, and thus pursue their substantive research interests without methodological hindrance. This programme begins with the presentation and discussion of the most important qualitative methods for all students in the social and behavioural sciences. We then focus on the inferential possibilities and limitations of various research strategies, introducing students to the crucial issues of research design.

The course starts with the presentation and discussion of the most important qualitative methods (participant observation as a key element of ethnographic research, the interview, and the focus group discussion), paying attention to their epistemological foundations and to their practical application in different disciplines such as anthropology, sociology or political science. In these sessions, issues related to the collection, analysis and presentation of qualitative data will be discussed, and real-life research examples will be provided.

The summer programme then focuses on the inferential possibilities and limitations of various case selection strategies, which will introduce students not only to a crucial issue of research design, but also to an essential topic in the vast domain of (comparative) case study research. A subsequent session will discuss the links between theory and data, with a focus on conceptualization, description, and causality.

Programme goals

At the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • understand the key notions and principles behind qualitative and quantitative approaches to data collection and analysis;
  • independently conduct a mini-ethnography on a given topic, combining participant observation and interviewing;
  • independently conduct a short quantitative analysis on a given topic, using the SPSS software and real-life survey data;
  • independently develop a short but sound mixed-method research design on a given topic, combining different case selection strategies in a meaningful and effective manner;
  • critically assess the value and validity of published research that uses a qualitative, quantitative or mixed-method design.

The quantitative component of the course introduces students to the statistical analysis of social science data. Topics include quantitative research design, descriptive statistics, and inferential statistics. In this part of the course, each lecture is paired, on the same day, with a computer lab session where students will become acquainted with the statistical software SPSS.

The end of the course presents within-method and cross-method approaches to the thorny issue of bridging the qualitative-quantitative divide: a session on fuzzy-set QCA (a method/approach combining qualitative epistemology with mathematical rigor, and suitable for ‘medium-N’ research topics), and a session on mixed-method research designs.


The assessment will be based on three short assignments, dealing with: (1) qualitative methods; (2) quantitative methods; and (3) research design. Each of the three assignments needs to be judged as (at least) satisfactory in order for the student to pass the course (i.e. each of them is a necessary condition for passing the course). All assignments will be evaluated and returned to the students with written feedback. A detailed overview of the requirements for each of the assignments will be provided at the beginning of the course.

Study load

This programme will meet three times per week (mornings, afternoons, and occasionally, evenings). Due to a high number of participants, students will be broken down into sub-groups. The daily/weekly programme schedule will be made available to all participants in the weeks leading up to the programme.


Get in touch with us at or call +31 (0)20 525 3776.

Comprehensive Introduction to Research Methodology and Design
Mode Short-term
Credits ECTS,