Year 1, semester 1

International Migration: Theories, Types, Trends and Policies

The course deals with the main trends, theories and findings of international migration. Examples of questions that will be discussed in the course are: What is international migration? Which types and trends of migration are present in Western countries? What causes migration, and which factors cause its continuation or change? Which factors affect the various immigration control policies? What are the determinants of attitudes towards immigration policies? What are the main reasons of return migration? Throughout the course, theoretical approaches and empirical studies from different disciplinary traditions are discussed (sociology, economics, demography, psychology), explaining migration at micro-, meso-, and macro-levels of analysis. The emphasis of the course is on theory-driven, comparative research examples, strategies and findings. In addition, current controversies in the field of migration studies will be discussed.

 

Identity and Cultural Diversity

In Part 1 of the course, identity is examined from different theoretical and methodological perspectives. Social psychological and anthropological theories about ethnic identity will be discussed. This is followed by an analysis of multiple and overlapping social identities and the (development of) the ethnic self. In part 2, the emphasis is on current perspectives and debates about cultural diversity. The main arguments for the positions adopted in the debate are considered and it is examined how multiculturalism and other diversity ideologies (e.g., assimilation, interculturalism) relate to ethnic and religious identities and to intergroup relations.

Research Practicum 1

In this course, students integrate the theories of MERM1 and MERM2 with the methods and statistics of MERM3.This will be done by writing a theory-driven empirical paper that focuses on a topic discussed in MERM1 or MERM2. In the first week of the course, groups of two students choose a specific research question, and they get an introduction to the data set. Students start reading the literature and they write a theoretical introduction. In the second week they develop further their theory and hypothesis section, and make a start with their empirical analysis. In week 3, students elaborate on their empirical analysis, testing their hypotheses. Finally, in week 4, the results, conclusions and discussion of the paper have to be completed. Detailed instructions on the paper and the course proceedings will be given at the beginning of the course.

Methods and Statistics 1: Regression analysis and its generalizations

The first part of the course involves data handling, scale construction (mainly classical test theory, factor analysis), and the disciplined cautious use of syntax in statistical software (MERM: SPSS; SaSR: Stata). The second part of the course addresses statistical models, mostly from the class of generalized linear models. Models to be discussed:(1) Linear regression modeling for continuous dependent variables (such as income), focusing on modeling mediation, interactions and nonlinear relations;
(2) Regression models for binary dependent variables (such as whether or not people are employed): logistic and probit regression, emphasizing different types of interpretaions;
(3) Regression models for ordinal dependent variables (e.g., voting intentions measured by a Likert item): ordinal logit.
(4) Regression models for nominal dependent variables with subject-level and/or alternative-level predictors (e.g., the denomination of the school attended by children): multinomial logit and conditional logit models;
(5) Regression models for the time-until-the-occurrence-of-an-event (e.g., the birth of the first child, the divorce of a marriage, promotion in a career): discrete time survival analysis and Cox regression.

The discussion on these regression-type models focuses on the substantive interpretation of these non-lineair models. In addition, we discuss numerous general statistical issues such as statistical estimation methods; Wald testing versus likelihood ratio testing; Hausman-style tests for model specification; marginal effects, etc. Computer practical for MERM (using SPSS) and SaSR (using Stata) are separate.

Year 1, semester 2

Acculturation and Cultural Comparison

Migration is almost invariably tied to acculturation. Acculturation can be described as the whole of processes and changes that take place when different cultural groups come into continuous firsthand contact over an extended period of time (Redfield, Linton, & Herskovits, 1936). Typcially, these contact experiences have much greater consequences for immigrants as compared to natives and the host society. All immigrants are confronted with challenges, stresses and opportunities that lead to changes in their lives and well-being. In this course, we study acculturation in groups that immigrated to western societies (with a particular attention for youth). However, to better understand the acculturation process we will first focus on culture and cultural comparisons. We will discuss different conceptualizations and operationalizations, and examine how culture is involved in basic social and psychological processes. In addition, we will investigate the problems and possibilities of making cross-cultural comparisons. Our treatment of acculturation will start with a focus on immigrants¿ individual acculturation strategies, and we will also examine the importance of the current societal context for the process of acculturation. Finally, we will discuss acculturation outcomes in a variety of domains (education, mental health, criminal behavior).

Immigrant Integration: Inequality and Cohesion

The course reviews key questions, theories and empirical research on the integration of immigrants and their children. Starting from an overview of theoretical developments in the field of immigrant integration, the course covers the most important aspects of the multidimensional integration concept. The course has a strong international focus, examining patterns of integration among immigrant groups in both classical immigration countries (Australia, Canada, United States) and the more-recent immigrant receiving countries in Europe. Two main dimensions of immigrant integration are reviewed in the course. The first part deals with ethnic inequality or the so-called structural integration of immigrants and their children. It examines ethnic differences in labour market outcomes, education and residential segregation. Theories are reviewed that explain the generally disadvantaged position of immigrants and their children in Western countries, but also highlight cases where immigrants outperform their non-immigrant counterparts. The second part of the course is concerned with aspects of the socio-cultural integration of immigrants and their children. This part discusses immigrant religion, language acquisition and use, political integration and social integration.

Research Practicum 2

Students choose a specific research question – based on their interest and availability of data. In the first week they read the literature, develop a conceptual model and explore the data, while writing a theoretical introduction. In the second week, students complete the theory and hypotheses section, and work on their data and methods section. In week 3, students start the actual analyses and present the first results. Finally, in week 4 the analyses are being completed and conclusions and discussion are written. In week 5 students present their research and the final paper is handed in. Detailed instructions on the paper and the course proceedings will be given at the beginning of the course.

Methods and Statistics 2: Structural equation modelling and multilevel analysis

The course is organized in 2 parts in a flexible format of 5 weeks each.

Part 1: Structural equation models (5 weeks).
The SEM framework integrates two types of models. First are simultaneous equations, i.e., an integrated set of regression models allowing the dependent variable (a `consequence') of one equation to be an independent variable (a `cause') in another equation. Second, `factor analytical' models for the reflexive measurement of latent variables will be introduced. These are widely applied for measuring attitudes, intentions, etc. Topics to be discussed: model specification; model fit; decomposition of effects; categorical variables; multiple group analysis; testing for structural and measurement invariance with dependent and independent groups; interactions involving latent variables; SEM for longitudinal data; latent curve models.
Class schedule: twice a week a short lecture, followed by a short computer practical (on te same day)

Part 2: Multi-level models (5 weeks).
These models are often used for the analysis of `hierarchical problems' in which the causes of outcomes (e.g., the performance of pupils in schools) are located at the level of the individual (e.g., own and parental resources) as well as in the context shared by some of the individuals (e.g., characteristics of the class and of the teacher). Data with this structure violate the assumption of `independent observations' made in, e.g., standard regression analysis. Multilevel models can also be used with longitudinal designs (`time points within persons', panel data). We will focus mostly on the versions of the model with a `continuous' response variable, Time permitting the modification to the binary case, designs with more than two levels (e.g., students within classes within schools), cross-classified designs, and multilevel extensions of SEMs (multilevel path models, multilevel factor analysis) will be introduced.
Class schedule: each week, one 3h lecture and one 3h computer practical on different days.

 

Year 2, semester 1

Ethnic Prejudice, Racism and Nationalism

In this course, we investigate different types of ethnic prejudice, both in its manifest forms (violence, discrimination, protests) as well as latent forms of prejudice (racism, nationalism, and negative intergroup attitudes). The course focuses on the perspective of the majority group and, in particular, how the majority group reacts to minority groups in the society. We explore theoretical perspectives from different disciplines such as sociology, social-psychology, and political sciences to understand the causes of ethnic prejudice, racism, and nationalism. Several explanations will be examined, such as social identity theory, realistic group conflict theory, right-wing authoritarianism, social dominance orientation, and political factors. The contribution of each of these causes and how they interplay with one another will be examined across various contexts, both within and outside of Europe. We examine how intergroup tensions and conflicts may be reduced or resolved.
 

Elective Course Migration, Ethnic Relations and Multiculturalism

Students meet with the coordinator to plan their Elective course and they keep the coordinator updated about the components after completing them (e.g. internships, summer schools, courses of other research master programs). Because the elective course is tailored to individual needs, the specific content differs for each student, depending on whether they choose to do an internship and where, follow a summer (or winter) school and which one, and which additional course (if any) they follow. Before starting their elective course, students need to have approval from the coordinator and therefore discuss their options in individual meetings. After completing (a part of) their elective course, students hand in  appropriate documentation (grades assigned in a summer school or course, evaluation by an internship supervisor) and complete a reflection report.
 

Research Seminar 1: Theory and Hypotheses

Weekly meetings of three hours are planned in which students present and review their progress, and comment on and review the work of fellow students.
 Providing constructive peer feedback is an intrinsic and important part of the research seminar. It allow students to develop experiences and skills in the review process which is an important element of being a qualified researcher.

Research Practicum 3

In the first two weeks, students will work in pairs to develop a survey questionnaire that allows testing their hypotheses. Students will operationalize their constructs, present their model and the operationalization in class, and program an online survey. They will also complete an ethics review form about their research project. The first two parts of the final grade are based on the group presentation and on the ethics form (including the questionnaire) that has been completed in pairs. The assessment of presentations will be based on the clarity and preparation of the presentaton as well as the constructive feedback students provide to their fellow students. The ethics form will be graded based on the clarity and accuracy of provided information. Moreover, the operationalization of the constructs into survey questions will be considered.

In the last two weeks of the course, students will individually analyse their data and report the results in a full research paper. In this course, students will thus learn new skills of data collection and they will deepen their understanding of the use of statistics and the theories discussed in MERM 9. The assessment of the final paper will be based on the way students translate theoretical ideas into empirical research, in particular the way in which they conduct and present their empirical analyses and connect them to theoretical ideas in the introduction and discussion sections of their paper.

 
 

Year 2, semester 2

Research Seminar 2: Analysis, Results, Report

The weekly meetings are used to support measurement construction, hypotheses testing and writing the empirical parts (data and methods, results) and the discussion and conclusion part of the thesis. An open atmosphere is demanded to discuss problems students face in their research. Students have to present their work; write drafts of sections, review/discuss presentations and drafts from other students, collect comments during meetings, and chair/organize meetings. With these multiple roles, students learn to reflect on the progress they make in their thesis, to discuss problems they face frankly, to discuss others' work critically, and to formulate and organize constructive feedback. Next to these class meetings, students can made (weekly) appointments with J. Weesie (statistics teachers of MERM03 and MERM07) for more technical assistance.
 

Master's Thesis on Studies of Migration, Ethnic Relations and Multiculturalism

The criteria for the evaluation of the master's thesis are: the thesis (a) is embedded in previous research and literature on the topic of the thesis, (b) includes a theoretical elaboration of the research problem, and (c) includes an empirical test of the implications of the applied theories. The Master's thesis is written under individual supervision by a MERM teacher.