Core principles of research methodology

Core principles of research methodology course

Teacher: Tony Hak, Associate Professor of Research Methodology, Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam (

Course load: 5 ECTS

Dates: Thursday evenings, 19 September – 28 November, 2013, 6-9pm (not on 24 October)

Location: LB-086

Aims: The goal of this course is to strengthen and deepen the understanding of core methodological issues and choices in empirical research.
General contents:

The contents of this course comprise all phases of an empirical study, from the specification of its aim, through case selection and measurement decisions, to the production of the study’s results, their interpretation and their reporting. The course is structured around current and emerging themes and debates in the methodological literature. Current research routines and their alternatives will be discussed and critically assessed using literature in which competing approaches are presented and justified or criticized. The course provides the participants with up to date methodological knowledge which helps them to critically (re-)consider their decisions regarding methodology.

A tentative overview of the contents of each of the 10 sessions will be discussed in the first session of the course.

Format: “Master class”, i.e., discussions of literature and student work rather than lectures.
Assignments and examination: Participants prepare for each session of the course by writing and submitting an assignment. The aim of the assignments is to support participants in actively developing their understanding of competing approaches (as well as their opinions about them) by means of critically evaluating the implicit and explicit decisions made in published research and in their own research. The final assignment of the course (for grading) will also consist of a critical evaluation of a published research paper or research proposal.

When enrolling for the course, participants submit a one-page summary of the research methodology used in their doctoral research (conducted and/or planned) and a short list of methodological topics or problems they would like to discuss in this course.

As the precise contents of this course will be further specified in discussion with the participants in the first session of the course, only tentative suggestions for reading can be given before the start of the course. Participants in the course will be involved in determining relevant texts in the literature in their own discipline.


Henry E. Brady and David Collier (Eds.) (2004), Rethinking Social Inquiry, Rowman & Littlefield.

Harris Cooper, Larry V. Hedges, and Jeffrey C. Valentine (Eds.) (2009), The Handbook of Research Synthesis and Meta-Analysis (2nd Edition), Russell Sage Foundation.

Geoff Cumming (2012), Understanding the New Statistics, Routledge.

Alexander L. George and Andrew Bennett (2005), Cases Studies and Theory Development in the Social Sciences, MIT Press.

Gary Goertz (2006), Social Science Concepts. A User’s Guide, Princeton University Press.

Rex B. Kline (2009), Becoming a Behavioral Science Researcher, The Guildford Press.

A.T. Panter and Sonya K. Sterba (Eds.) (2011), Handbook of Ethics in Quantitative Methodology, Routledge.

Carsten Q. Schneider and Claudius Wagemann (2012), Set-Theoretic Methods for the Social Sciences, Cambridge University Press.

Deadline for enrolment: Deadline for enrolment in this course is September 12th, 2013.  Ph.D. students who register after this date are therefore requested to contact the EGS3H office to make suitable arrangements.
Non-members of EGS3H: Non-members of EGS3H who wish to enrol for this course need to contact the EGS3H office directly to check availability
Fee Members of EGS3H: The fee for EGS3H members is €450
Fee external participants: The fee for external participants is €750
Number of participants: The minimum number of participants for this course is 8. The maximum number of participants is 15.
How to pay: Enrolment for the course is permanent after receiving the fee.