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Methodologies in the Social Sciences and Humanities


Admission requirements

Admission to the MA Middle Eastern Studies (research) or the MA Asian Studies (research). Students interested in this course, but not a student from the MA Middle Eastern Studies (research) or the MA Asian Studies (research) are requested to contact the study co-ordinator, before registering for the course.


This six-week fat course organized by the Leiden University Institute for Area Studies in collaboration with Leiden Global allows beginning scholars to develop a critical understanding of methodologies in the social sciences and humanities (SSH).

Methodology refers to the logical and developed coherence between research question, theory and methods. Rather than a fixed set of rules, methodology is based in an ongoing conversation among scholars in the SSH on data collection and analysis. During this course, participants engage in this conversation with their peers as well as experienced researchers in the SSH. Throughout the course, they become acquainted with the main epistemological debates and the choices they need to make and self-critically support in their own research.

Course objectives

At the end of the course, students will be able to motivate their individual methodological choices within the broader context of methodologies in SSH. For the purpose of developing this motivation they will critically review the methodologies of their field of research in general and their respective research projects specifically. Guest lectures by established scholars, class discussion and state-of-the-art literature help participants form a critical basis for both current and future research.


See timetable of the MA Middle Eastern Studies (research) or the timetable of the MA Asian Studies (research).

Mode of instruction

4-6 Seminars and 6 lectures. Attendance and participation are obligatory at both seminars and lectures.

Course Load

Total course load for the course (10 EC x 28 hours) 280 hours
Attendance of seminars and lectures 24 hours
Peer review preparation 30 hours
Literature 50 hours
Assignments 176 hours

Assessment Method

Academic Integrity

Students should familiarize themselves with the notion of academic integrity and the ways in which this plays out in their own work. A good place to start is this page. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. Students may not substantially reuse texts they have previously submitted in this or other courses. Minor overlap with previous work is allowed as long as it is duly noted in citation.

Assessment and weighing

Partial Assessment Weighing
Three short assignments on 50 %
- Research question (pass/fail) 0 %
- Data collection 20%
- Methodology 30%
Final Assignment: Critical review of methodologies in the participant's field of research 50%

In order to pass the course, students need a pass mark (“voldoende”, i.e. “5.50” or higher) for the research paper and for the course as a whole.

All categories of assessment must be completed in the same academic year. No partial marks can be carried over into following years.

PhD candidates’ coursework is not graded. They receive feedback on the three short assignments, and discuss the final assignment with their supervisors.


If the final paper is graded 5.49 or lower and this results in a total weighed average of 5.49 or lower, a re-sit of the final paper is possible (50%). The deadline for this version will be determined by the course convenor, after consultation with the student.

Exam review

If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will be organized.


Blackboard is used for communicating grades and information on the course structure and assignments. The readings and links to online sources will be available on blackboard.

Reading list

Readings and links to online resources will be made available on blackboard.


ResMA students are required to register through uSis. To avoid mistakes and problems, students are strongly advised to register in uSis through the activity number which can be found in the timetable in the column under the heading “USIS-Actnbr.”. More information on uSis is available in Dutch and English. You can also have a look at the FAQ.

Not being registered, means no permission to attend this course. See also the webpage on course and exam enrolment for registration deadlines and more information on how to register.

PhD Students are required to register through Leiden Global.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Studeren à la carte nor Contractonderwijs is possible for this course.




Students with disabilities

The university is committed to supporting and accommodating students with disabilities as stated in the university protocol (especially pages 3-5). Students should contact Fenestra Disability Centre at least four weeks before the start of their courses to ensure that all necessary academic accommodations can be made in time conform the abovementioned protocol.