Students who have completed the first part of the course. Those from other MA programs may be admitted with prior registration (contact coordinator)
African studies is an interdisciplinary field. It combines disciplines from the social sciences, humanities and to a lesser extent the natural sciences. In this course of 15 ECTS the students will be introduced to the practice of interdisciplinary research, which is often a collaborative work. The students will get acquainted with different research methods, that may be combined in an interdisciplinary research (mixed methods) and in the last block the students will be introduced into the operationalization of research, where a research problematic will be linked to methodologies and techniques; how do we operationalize a research question into practical research? The course has three major parts.
In the first two weeks of this course the students will be familiarized with the various interdisciplinary approaches that have formed African Studies in the 20iest century. Two historical examples of research programmes in Africa and three examples from the past two decades will introduce the students not only to interdisciplinary fields but also to their methodologies. It will become clear that a study in this field often uses various methods. Interdisciplinarity goes with mixed methods. The examples combine quantitative and qualitative methods or they combine historical methods and ethnography. As such, they help to demonstrate that research is guided by the type of data collected which in turn shapes the analysis to a certain extent.
At the end of the fist five lectures the students present an interdisciplinary research plan/programme, that they have prepared based on the reading of literature that are the outcomes of an existing interdisciplinary research programme (this is an assignment made in groups of 4-5 students).
This comprises three weeks during which students are introduced to various techniques of research methods. The presentations from research of the lecturers are combined with practical exercises and assignments.
The third block of three lectures and three assignment presentations deals with the operationalization of research problematic and questions. How to translate data into knowledge? What can be learnt from the various types of data gathered with the variable techniques that are part of the mixed methods in relation to research questions?
Students will learn how to situate research groups, research agenda’s and methodological choices in their historical and social contexts.
Students will have to learn:
(a) in what way epistemology differs from, but relates to “methods and techniques”;
(b) how they can think about the differences between qualitative and quantitative research (validity vs. representatively);
© specific relevance of these methodological issues for research in/on Africa.
Mondays: 10.00- 13.00 and 14.00-17.00
Thursday: 10.00- 13.00 and 14.00-17.00
Mode of instruction
Lectures and Seminar:
The course consists of three major parts:
Part I will focus on interdisciplinarity and it will be studied in the first two weeks, in six consecutive lectures of 3 hours and one seminar day at the end of the module in which students’ assignment papers are discussed.
Part II deals with techniques and methods and it will have a duration of 2 ½ weeks. This part comprises six lectures and three assignment-discussion meetings, each comprising three hours.
Part III is on operationalization and it involves three lectures (two hours each) and three seminar afternoons (14.00 – 17.00 hrs).
The course comprises 15 EC and the total course load is thus 420 hrs
78 hrs of these will be spent attending lectures and seminars (~11 hrs per week x 7 weeks)
150 hrs to be spent on studying literature: 120 pages literature per week
180 hrs research and writing assignment papers
12 hrs will be spent in group discussion and feedback sessions
The three parts of the course are evaluated on the basis of the assignments:
Part I has one assignment, i.e. the reconstruction of an interdisciplinary research programme. Students work in a group of three or four on the development of a research proposal for an interdisciplinary research, to be presented at the end of Part I. On the basis of literature of a finalized research project the students reconstruct the proposal with which the research started.
Part II and III each have three assignments.
Yes. Available for registered students.
This course is supported by Blackboard. Blackboard will be used to provide students with an overview of current affairs, as well as specific information about (components of) the course. Please see:
Provided a week before classes start and posted on Blackboard
Enrollment through uSis for the course and the examination or paper is mandatory.
Prospective students, please check the Study Abroad/Exchange website
for information on how to apply.
Part I and II of this course will be coordinated by Akinyinka Akinyoade and Part III by Erik Bähre.
For further information, contact:
P O Box 9555, 2300 RB Leiden, NL