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Research Methods


Admission requirements



Sound research design skills are critical for business students’ long term success, either for designing and executing their own research to solve various business problems or for engaging with academics and consultants to gain insights for business development. The goal of this course is to provide students with an overview of research design, for business research in particular and social research in general. The course covers the logic of scientific research and research design across a variety of quantitative and qualitative methods, in order to develop a general understanding of the problems of research design and the specifics of implementing various research methods.

The course consists of lectures, student presentations, discussions, and assignments. Students are expected to come to class having completed the readings. Class lecture and discussion aim at gaining a deeper understanding of the arguments and problems that each week’s readings are addressing.

Topics covered

  • Logic of science

  • Principles of research design

  • Theory and hypothesis

  • Measurement

  • Sampling

  • Different modes of observations
    o Experiments
    o Survey
    o Field research
    o Unobtrusive research

Course objectives

This course provides students with skills and knowledge which are necessary in the research process and the application of qualitative and quantitative research methods in order to solve the business problems. At the end of this course students will be able to develop an academic research/project proposal as a basis for a thesis by:

  • Acquiring skills in raising interesting and relevant research questions;

  • Conducting an in-depth literature review;

  • Rigorously design a research project, covering the complete process from conceptualization to operationalization;

  • Critically implementing various qualitative and qualitative research methods;

  • Rigorously developing a survey questionnaire.


The schedule can be found on the Leiden University student website

Detailed table of contents can be found in blackboard.

Mode of instruction

Lecture, student discussion and presentation

Course Load

10 3 hour lectures
Preparation and assignments

Assessment method

Individual assignment 1: Research question and hypotheses (5%)
Individual assignment 2: List of relevant articles (5%)
Individual assignment 3: Survey questionnaire (15%)
Individual assignment 4: Research proposal (50%)
Group presentation (15%)
Class participation (10%)



Reading list

Earl Babbie, (2016). The practice of social research (14e). Cengage Learning. ISBN-10: 1-305-10494-3, ISBN-13: 978-1-305-10494-5.

Additional reading on Blackboard.


You have to sign up for classes and examinations (including resits) in uSis. Check this link for more information and activity codes.

There is only limited capacity for external students. Please contact the programme Co-ordinator


Programme Co-ordinator: ms. Esme Caubo