taught courses & supervised projects
the point of a university seminar is not to learn and know; it is to think, to question, and to understand.
intensive course introduction to research methodology
taught for
the international school for humanities and social sciences
at the university of amsterdam
from winter semester 2007/08 till winter semester 2008/09
content & aims
in order to understand, analyze and make sense of such diverse things as changes in public trust in institutions, the development of policy discourses, and the comparative level of unemployment, crime or education in different countries, research is paramount. typically, to wonder about the particularities of, the variances in and the specific nature of social reality is the beginning of asking a research question. this course aims at providing knowledge of and experience in the different methods of social scientific research, of reading, collecting and analyzing data, the use of the prime statistical tool in the social sciences, spss, and the basics of uni-variate and bi-/multi-variate statistical analysis. on the basis of the knowledge acquired in this course, students will be able to critically assess the validity and reliability of published research, to develop a research design, and to collect, analyze and present data.
this is a very intensive seminar, which can only be effective through maximum preparation and full and active participation of the students. attendance is compulsory.
participants will learn how to design research projects; become acquainted with different methods of data collection, processing and analysis; and be able to understand and critically assess the value, reliability and meaning of published research.
course setup
introduction to the course
from theory to research design
how to ask a research question
politics and ethics of social science research
introduction to uni- and bi-variate analysis
numbers, data and analysis
overview of data collection methods
operational definitions
spss tutorial 1: data sets & data preparation
quantitative research i: questionnaires and surveys, sampling
univariate statistics i: frequencies, proportions and percentages, graphics for display, measures of central tendency and dispersion
spss tutorial 2: descriptive statistics & diagrams
qualitative research i: interviewing and focus groups
qualitative research ii: ethnography and field observations
library tour & introduction to the digital library
univariate statistics ii: the normal curve
univariate statistics iii: statistical inference and hypothesis testing
spss tutorial 3: z-values, probabilities, & significance
bivariate statistics i: correlation & measures of association
bivariate statistics ii: simple linear regression analysis
spss tutorial 4: correlation & simple regression
qualitative research iii: discourse analysis
qualitative research iv: semiology
research designs: experimentation & case studies
multivariate statistics i: multiple regression analysis
multivariate statistics ii: analysis of variance
spss tutorial 5: multiple regression & analysis of variance
feedback session i: discussion of general issues
feedback session ii: discussion of individual proposals
caqdas tutorial: computer-assisted qualitative data analysis
class conference: presentation of final research proposals