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Research Design and Measurement in the Social Sciences (Conversion Course)



Political science is strongly (but not exclusively) empirically oriented. This can be seen in particular from the research activities of many political scientists. This conversion course is therefore meant for those who have had no (or very little) prior experience with such empirical research. After having followed this course you should have the basic knowledge to be able to succesfully finish one of the empirically oriented thesis seminars of the master Political Science Leiden.

During this course there will be a concentration on those fundamental priciples of doing empirical research, which are outlined in the book of Bryman (2012). Attention will be paid for instance to the development of an empirically researchable central question (as part of a complete problem statement), and all intermediating steps, – such as conceptualisation, operationalisation, making reliable and valid measurement instruments -, that have to be taken to arrive at a suitable research design.

A number of those principles will also be illustrated using empirical examples. The practically working through these examples will also be done in class, which is the reason that all course meeting take place in a computer room, giving you the opportunity to immediately do things yourselve.

Mode of instruction

The course is built around the book of Bryman (2016). Every week a part of the book will be studied, illustrated and discussed in class using exercises from chapters of the book and study questions that can be found on the Blackboard. The special character of this course (conversion course of an extensive subject), makes it highly interactive, with short one hour introductions, followed by the second hour practical exercises, where principles of the first hour will be illustrated using examples.


Alan Bryman, Social Research Methods. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016, 5th ed.

Assessment method

Seven home work assignments of which six should be graded with at least a six.
Seven inclass excercises (second hour of each meeting) of which six should be graded with a ´pass´.


Semester 1:
Wednesdays 15:00-17:00 or 17:00-19:00h, from 6 September upto and including 25 October.
The meetings will take place in Leiden, Pieter de la Courtbuilding, room 1A15.

Semester 2:
Mondays from 5 February upto and including 26 March.
The meetings will take place in Leiden, Pieter de la Courtbuilding, rooms:
05-02-2018 17:00-19:00 PDLC/1A46
12-02-2018 11:00 13:00 PDLC/1A32
19-02-2018 t/m 26-02-2018 11:00 13:00 PDLC/1A33
05-03-2018 11:00 13:00 PDLC/1A32
12-03-2018 11:00 13:00 PDLC/1A33
19-03-2018 11:00 13:00 PDLC/SB11
26-03-2018 11:00 13:00 PDLC/5A37


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