Courses

Year 1 Period 1

Core themes and modern classics 1: public policy and governance (compulsory)

This course is the first one in the research master’s program. The course starts with some of the most important classic themes and books in public administration and public policy. This provides you with a common core of key themes and issues in the field as a stepping stone into the program. This substantive academic goal is connected to developing important academic skills; i.e. writing, summarizing, criticizing and discussing.

The course centers around three key themes that connect the worlds of political science and public administration: problems of steering, bureaucracy and developments in the welfare state. During the first part of the course, you read three important books related to these three core themes. As students come from many different bachelor’s programs, the seminar uses some classics which are mostly not used in bachelor’s programs. The books will be discussed in seminar-style sessions.

During the second part of the course, the contemporary relevance of these classic themes of public administration and public policy are explored. You will read three recent dissertations, related to the three core themes. These dissertations also highlight different methodological approaches currently practiced in the field. The authors of these three books will be our guests.

This course is highly interactive. You will participate in a group, practicing academic skills relevant for an informed, academic discussion:

  • Chair the discussion;
  • Rehearse the line of argument in the book, and defend the author against criticisms raised by the group;
  • Be a discussant. Discuss, and if necessary, criticize research methods employed in the book, discuss the theoretical perspectives, comment on the research design, discover possible flaws in the book, compare the book with others. Discuss directions for future research inspired by the book, comment on the findings, and reflect on policy consequences.

During the second part of the course you will learn how to write a book review. You first write a draft review about one of the dissertations. The teachers will provide comments on the draft review so as to improve writing skills. The rewritten draft reviews will be graded. In addition you will write a book review on one of the other dissertations.

Philosophy of science (compulsory)

Researchers in Public Administration and Organization Theory need a firm background in the philosophy of science since the character of knowledge and the nature of knowledge creation is debated even more in the social sciences than in the natural sciences. This course aims to introduce you to core concepts in the philosophy of science: at the end of the course you should be capable of formulating fundamental philosophical questions concerning research in Public Administration and Organization Theory and you should be able to present answers to these questions for your own research projects. We presuppose a basic knowledge of research methodology and core themes in Public Administration and Organization Theory. The course helps you to reflect on your philosophical position in previous empirical research and to formulate a position for future work which helps you to make conscious decisions concerning the aims of research in terms of knowledge creation.

The course consists of four elements:

  1. discussion of scientific literature,
  2. meetings with selected academics,
  3. a Socratic dialogue and
  4. drafting a final paper.

The four types of meetings implicate different roles for students and professors:

  • Discussion of literature. Students read the books and prepare the discussion by formulating questions and criticisms. They first tryt o understand the texts by dicussing them among themselves. The professor only intervenes later in the discussions to raise additional issues.
  • Meetings with academics. Students prepare the meetings and assume responsibility for the meetings with the academics. The professor is present but play a limited role in the conversation.
  • Socratic dialogue. The professor leads the dialogue. The student can provide cases and participate in the dialogue.
  • Drafting final papers. Students develop final papers and receive individual feedback from other students and from the professors. The professor will indicate clearly what he expects from the papers and help students to develop good papers.

In your final papers, you introduce a question relevant to the domain of the philosophy of science and discuss this question on the basis of the literature, the meeting with scientists and your own bachelor thesis.

Year 1 Period 2

Core themes and modern classics 2: Public organizations and professionals (compulsory)

Core themes and modern classics 2 studies public management and organizational science by analyzing the role of public organizations and the public professionals working within these organizations. Hence, while core themes 1 focused on broad public governance and policy issues, core themes 2 dives deeper into the distinctiveness of public organizations (macro-level), element in individual organizations (meso-level) and the way professionals/employees in these organizations interact with among else citizens (micro-level). It is composed of three related parts (macro, meso and micro). These parts are strongly connected, as will also be discussed during the course. In all these parts, the publicness aspect is always an issue, even when discussing the topics that are generally considered to be less contextual (such as organizational behavior).

The first part of the course analyses the classic and contemporary work on Public Organizations and their distinctiveness. This involves both formal (organizational structure) and less formal distinctions (strategic management) at the organizational or macro-level. Topics that are discussed concern publicness and the value of bureaucracy. In order to so, Weber and his classical treatise of bureaucracy will be confronted with more recent perspectives. Also, the mechanisms behind this distinctiveness will be treated within the course of this part, in particular institutional theory (both continuity and change) – linking back institutional values and logics of the previous point – and the effect of culture and climate. The macro-level discussion will be concluded with a discussion on strategic management in the public sector.

The second part of the course will address the meso-level, elements that can be found within individual organizations. Strategic human resources literature will be used as a linking pin between the macro and the meso-level. Next to this, leadership and its outcomes in terms of relationships will be discussed. While the former is often framed in a positive way, also concepts having a more negative connotation (and consequent effect on organizational outcomes) will be discussed. It particular, we will address the idea of red tape (the ‘formal approach’), as well as the idea of organizational politics (‘the informal approach’). It is self-evident that in these sessions, we will refer back to the knowledge generated from the first part, but that we as well look ahead to the more individual concepts of the third part, as this meso-level provide a linking pin between the macro- and the micro level.

The third part of the course will address individual characteristics and processes that are crucial for understanding how organizations operate. Again, these will build on previously touched-up issues and they will be clearly embedded within the context the public sector in a broad sense. A first topic is framed in a more positive way as it is mostly linked to preferable outcomes. This topic concerns motivation of public employees. Topics like self-determination theory and public service motivation will be treated here. Next to this, also more negative aspects of individuals within organizations are discussed. These concern policy alienation and individual coping strategies and consequent outcomes. Within the framework of the micro-level part, a balanced approach to outcomes is discussed. This refers to the idea that outcomes of organizations at the individual level should be equally divided between organizational benefits (various type of individual performance and other outcomes) and employee outcomes (job satisfaction, reduced stress and burnout level and general increased well-being). Furthermore, we will discuss how professionals interact with citizens, and the role of race and discretion herein.

The literature will be discussed in plenary sessions. In these sessions, a lecture by professors or guest will provide an overview and will go deeper into the specific elements of the literature.

You will be actively involved, via presentations, ‘serious games’ and debates. You will deliver two group assignments (in groups of three students), all addressing particular elements of a research proposal (1: introduction and research question, 2: theoretical framework and 3. research design/methodology). You will also deliver one individual assignment (a research proposal on a core micro topic regarding public organizations and professionals).

Designing research questions (compulsory)

This course is aimed at developing your knowledge, understanding and skills with respect to drafting relevant research questions in various environments.
After all, it starts and ends with what ‘relevance’ entails. For a given value of this elusive ‘relevance’, the guise of the research and the questions upon which it is based will depend on various factors.

First there are the ontological, epistemological and methodological positions from which a research question departs. Depending on one’s position, particular types of research are employed to answer various questions, and certain questions only match certain types of knowledge.
Second, there is also the institutional environment in which research is carried out. Research can be considered to be a powerful institutions that is able to shape research questions and the way they are pursued. A research question is therefore also a function of its institutional environment and the associated ‘Zeitgeist’.
Finally, the shape and purpose of a research question is also subject to the availability of data and methods.

These elements are the focus of the course and both theoretical perspectives – for example institutional theory (Mahoney 2000) – and practical tools – such as Booth’s (2003) TQR – will be provided and discussed to help you gain understanding of the factors influencing research question and help you draft your own research questions.
The course will distinguish between on the one hand plenary sessions in which general insights are provided or guest-speakers will provide their own take on particular elements of the course and on the other hand smaller work group sessions in which peer or supervisor feedback will be provided on your work in progress.

You will be assessed based on two papers: one is a group work paper in which the influencing factors of a particular type of empirical research outside academia are identified and one individual paper in which you will develop your own research question and in which you will need to argue for and reflect upon its relevance.

As this is a practically oriented course, we expect you to come prepared to class; not just by having read the literature on beforehand, but also in terms of doing some of the ‘creative work’ by developing arguments for or against certain questions on beforehand. In particular in the workgroup sessions, the latter will be used as a basis for further discussion and development of ideas.

Year 1 Period 3

Tutorial (compulsory)

In this tutorial each participating student will select his/her tutor.
There will be 3-4 meetings between student and tutor during the period.
The first meeting is based on a reading of introductory literature selected by the tutor. The program of the following meetings is partly determined by your own selection of literature. You can suggest literature to the tutor, which must be agreed upon by him or her.
The tutor may prescribe (additional) literature.

You prepare each text for discussion with the tutor along the following (suggested) lines:

  1. What is (are) the main question(s) posed by the article?
  2. What is (are) the main claims/points/hypotheses that are advanced?
  3. What is (are) the main finding(s) within the literature?
  4. Overall assessment: what is according to the student the value of the article in the light of the themes discussed in the tutorial and his/her paper?
  5. Questions for clarification (if any)

You will write a literature review, which discusses the articles in the context of a clearly formulated research question, and discuss the paper wit your tutor. The tutor may provide suggestions for a revised version and will provide a grade for the paper.

Applied quantitative research in public administration and organizational science (compulsory)

This course will give a broad introduction into today’s most important quantitative research methods in the field of public administration and organization science. Specifically, students will learn how these methods can be used in an applied setting. How can governments, public organizations, NGOs, and think-tanks use these methods to evaluate the impact of policy interventions, study the determinants of public sector performance and solve real-world problems?

The six lectures will provide students with the basics about several important quantitative methods. The first two lectures will focus on multiple regression analysis, including regression assumptions and complex causal relationships (i.e., mediation and moderation). In lecture 3 and 4, we will turn to impact-evaluation methods that allow us to assess the effect of policy interventions when randomization of treatment and control groups is not possible. Specifically, we will cover differences-in-difference, matching and regression discontinuity designs, first covering the theory behind the aforementioned techniques, followed by exploration of their use in empirical and applied research. Lecture 5 addresses agent-based-modelling. By means of computer simulations these models show how micro-level decision-making produces macro-level outcomes like traffic jams and neighborhood segregation. Again, we will focus on how these simulations can inform policy-making. Finally, lecture 6 wraps it up. Then we will also discuss the requirements for the final paper and you will receive feedback on your research plan.

Because of the applied nature of this course, we will focus on how the aforementioned techniques are used in a real-world setting. We will do so by evaluating extant applied research (e.g.: publications by government bodies, empirical scientific articles), by focusing on real-life cases, and by involving lecturers with experience in applied quantitative research. Dr. Ingrams will be presenting his research for the Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM), a body that files progress reports on the implementation of open government principles by member countries. Dr. Verba will present applied work from several areas of public administration and policy, including: innovation policy, health systems management, land use regulation, and international development. Dr. Bosma also has extensive experience in doing research commissioned by the public and private sector. Finally, students will carry out their own applied research. Based on an existing dataset (e.g.: data gathered by a national bureau of statistics), they will study a real-world policy problem by means of one of the methods taught during the course. The paper will conclude with policy advice.

The structure of the weekly meetings is as follows. A lecture will be given on the methodological topics of that day. These lecturers will not just focus on technical issues, but also highlight how the techniques are used in an applied setting. Each meeting concludes with a lab session. During the lab sessions, students will be taught how to carry out the analyses in the statistical analysis program called STATA. It is therefore highly recommended that students carry out their group assignments and final paper in STATA. While STATA is available on the student computers at Tilburg University, those wishing to work from home will have to buy a license. A 6 month student version can be purchased online for 45 dollars (https://www.stata.com/order/new/edu/gradplans/student-pricing/nodl/).

In order to have fruitful discussions, you are expected to come to class well-prepared and to actively participate.

Year 1 Period 4

Applied research track (compulsory)

That Public Administration historically and ethically has self-consciously identified as an applied (and, incidentally multi-disciplinary) academic endeavour is a fact that is easy to miss or ignore for new generations of young PA scholars. Contemporary academic reward structures have conduced strongly towards a detached, ‘scientific’, scholarly-journals focused research ethos and skills set. This course aims to provide students with a broader perspective and alternative experience of what it can also mean to be a public administration scholar. Students will learn to grapple with classic and contemporary discussions about the relation between knowledge and politics, the ‘two worlds’ of academia and government, rigour versus relevance, instrumental/pragmatic versus critical/reflexive ways of being ‘relevant’, and the recent calls for more ‘public’ social scences (including Public Administration/Organisation Science).

They will not merely learn this vicariously through the reading and discussing of texts, but first and foremost in the doing: the bulk of the course is devoted to designing, conducting and reporting commissioned research for/with client or partner organizations outside the university. The course convener solicits a range of projects – demands for policy-relevant knowledge - from public sector organisations. The students will self-match to projects, and then devise and conduct these projects in conjunction with these clients, whilst receiving academic guidance from the course convener and/or relevant colleagues in PAOS’ participating institutions. The students communicate with the commissioning organization to transform its practical questions into knowledge questions, to manage expectations and clarify roles and boundaries, and to ‘carve out’ a viable project (with expected outcomes, project planning etc.). The projects can entail various forms of data collection and analysis; students are encouraged to utilize mixed methods designs if at all possible.

At a mundane, but vital, level, students learn to work together in a project management context where time is at a premium and yet there is real external demand and real external accountability for their work. They learn to take up their role as applied researchers, manage stakeholder relationships strategically conduct the research in close collaboration with the commissioning organization and report on their progress. And they learn throughout to think about and operate with a view to achieving impact with the research that they have been asked to undertake.

The course begins with a few introductory meetings devoted to setting the larger context as described above and match you to the available projects. Once this has been achieved, the research teams will engage with their clients, and go through the various stages of the (applied) research cycle. Throughout there will be team-level supervision meetings and regular full-class meetings where teams can share experiences and engage in peer-reflection. The course convener will during these sessions relate the teams’ concrete experiences (some of which may be problematic) to the larger logic, methodology and challenges of applied/relevance-focused social science research.

The final research output can take the form of a traditional study report but, depending on client needs and ensuing client-team negotiations, also of one or several presentations, debate, a (set of) poster(s), audio-visual reporting etc. The chosen format should fit the assigned research and the demands of the commissioning organization. The results are to be presented to the commissioning organization. This organization will provide feedback to you; the supervisor determines the final grade after consulting the clients about their experiences with the research teams, taking on board both process and output considerations.

​In addition to the team research report and presentation, you are to write an individual reflection report. They are to reflect on your personal experience of working in an applied context, your research team’s internal and external dynamics and your individual role in these processes.

Methods workshop I: high control designs, general part (compulsory)

The first methods workshop in the research master curriculum is devoted to ‘high-control’ research designs and the methods typically employed by researchers working in this tradition. High control designs are those where researchers are able to purposefully script what, who and when they study. Researchers may wish to follow this path for several reasons, including the desire to ‘zoom in’ on particular hypotheses and models and test their explanatory power in a rigorous fashion or the desire to generalize the findings of the study to a specific and larger population.

High-control designs and methods: introduction
In a short introductory module, you will compare and contrast two prominent specimens of high-control designs: the survey and the experiment. After this general introduction you choose one of two specialization workshops available: survey design or experimental design.At the end of the course, students from both tracks rejoin to present their work in a final general session and discuss what you have learned about surveys and experiments.

Option 1: Survey designs (USG7551S)
In this workshop you will acquire knowledge of the principles and practices of survey research. You will study the theory underpinning survey methodology, and critically evaluate examples of survey studies in public administration and organizational research. You will ‘get your hands dirty’ by actively designing/replicating, conducting and analyzing (a part of) a survey study of your own.
The survey specialization workshop consists of three components:

  1. Obtaining a basic understanding of psychometric theory to conduct sound survey research;
  2. Obtaining a basic understanding of sampling theory to conduct sound survey research;
  3. Obtaining practical survey skills by designing, collecting and analyzing simulated and empirical survey data.

Option 2: Experimental designs (USG7551E)
After this workshop you have knowledge about the theoretical foundations of experiments, their particular methodological features, design considerations, applications and constraints. You will also gain practical knowledge by designing and possibly carrying out an experiment yourselves.
The experimental specialization workshop consists of three components:

  1. Basics, theories and types. In this first part you learn the basic principles of experimental research methods by studying the theory underpinning them. Also you will learn about the main types of experiments and their drawbacks and benefits.
  2. Experimental public administration and organizational science. The second component zooms in on good practices of experiments in core themes of public administration and/or organizational science to determine strengths and weaknesses of experiments in their application in our field of research.
  3. Designing and possibly conducting an own experiment. You will actively put your knowledge into practice by designing, analyzing and possibly conducting an experiment yourselves.

Workshop survey designs (compulsory)

In this workshop you will acquire knowledge of the principles and practices of survey research. You will study the theory underpinning survey methodology, and critically evaluate examples of survey studies in public administration and organizational research. You will ‘get your hands dirty’ by actively designing/replicating, conducting and analyzing (a part of) a survey study of your own.

In particular, you will learn to apply and reflect on the following concepts: survey types and different designs, sampling strategies, and statistical inferences, latent variables, reliability, validity and methods to deal with missing data and abbreviated answer patterns.
Also, we touch upon some state-of-the-art methods to design sound survey instruments. Along the way, you get to work with SPSS, and various (online) survey tools.

The course consists of:

  1. Classical lectures in which we explain the core concepts;
  2. Computer workshops in which you learn to apply these core concepts;
  3. Feedback sessions in which you get (individual) feedback on your research note (cf. the assignment)
  4. Besides, you are given homework to get a better understanding of the concepts covered in the workshop.

Workshop experimental designs (compulsory)

After this workshop you have knowledge about the theoretical foundations of experiments, their particular methodological features, design considerations, applications and constraints. You will also gain practical knowledge by designing and possibly carrying out an experiment yourselves.

The experimental specialization workshop consists of three components:1. Basics, theories and types. In this first part you learn the basic principles of experimental research methods by studying the theory underpinning them. Also you will learn about the main types of experiments and their drawbacks and benefits.2. Experimental public administration and organizational science. The second component zooms in on good practices of experiments in core themes of public administration and/or organizational science to determine strengths and weaknesses of experiments in their application in our field of research.3.Designing and possibly conducting an own experiment. You will actively put your knowledge into practice by designing, analyzing and possibly conducting an experiment yourselves. We will use various types of meetings. 1) Discussion sessions of the literature.You read the literature and prepare your questions beforehand. During the meeting you first discuss these questions in small groups and then plenary with the professor. 2) Individual feedback sessions of paperYou are encouraged to develop your idea for an experiment at an early stage during the course. You received individual feedback from the professor about your initial idea and can ask specific questions about your paper right before the phase of data collection. 3) Peer feedback session of paperStudents discuss each other’s draft papers in conference-like setting. Discussants are assigned to each paper and after an initial discussion the rest of the group can comment as well. 4) Guest lectures of practitioners and academicsOther academics who are specialized on various types of experiments (survey experiments, lab experiments) will present their work and share their insights. In addition, to show the practical value of experimentation, the workshop also includes a lecture by a practitioner addressing the question: how can experiments be of value for public policy and administration practice?

Year 2 Period 1

Core themes and modern classics 3: Transforming public governance (compulsory)

Broad social shifts occur that can be grasped as a shift from modernity to late modernity. These changes challenge existing values and organisational arrangements and have a fundamental impact on how decision-making and policy implementation is organized and how organizations function. We start the course by introducing an important argument by Robert Putnam. In ‘Bowling Alone’ Putnam argued that the depth and extent of social capital has declined. These social changes have an impact upon government and democratic institutions. Similar changes occur in organizations involved in government and in the inter-organizational relations between government actors. Giddens and other sociologists have argued that a shift occurs from ‘modernity’ to ‘late modernity.’ In late modernity, the balance between actors and institutions changes. A ‘new risk society’ emerges in which risk is no longer exogenous, but instead ‘manufactured.’ This shift has strong implications for policy, governance and the organization of policy implementation. In all these domains, we observe a growing emphasis upon ‘activation’ and ‘responsabilisation.’ The allocation of responsibilities changes. Responsibilities are increasingly shared between government and other actors and also the nature of intra- and inter-organizational relations changes. In response to that, a large number of new ideas on governance and organization emerge in the public administration and organization literature, including e.g. Osborne’s New Public Governance. We also see a strong proliferation of these themes in Dutch universities. In the course, we will be discussing the relation between social changes and changes in governance and organisation. The ideas on these transformations of the public sector are not without debate, however. Jessop, e.g., considers them rather naïve and Byrkjeflot and Du Gay consider them undesirable. We will also be discussing the debate that occurs in the literature.

During this course, you prepare presentations and conduct debates on the literature and its application.

​The test consists of two parts, a literature exam and a paper in which the literature is applied to a social change you select yourself.

Methods Workshop 2: Low Control designs and methods: an Introduction (compulsory)

In the second methods workshop of this master programme the focus switches towards low control research designs. Low control designs have in common that they study one or a few cases or settings in depth.
Interpretative research leans towards an inductive way of reasoning and focuses on sense making, and may include for instance the participant observation of actions of key players and stakeholders in bureaucratic processes and the stories they tell about those actions at close range and in real time. One can study processes of ‘meaning-making’ and cultural change in a public organization by engaging in content analysis of speeches, emails and documents, or by in-depth interviewing across the organization and observation at meetings, for example. Explanatory case study research shares a largely positivist epistemology with high control designs. Comparative case studies seek inferences by leveraging on differences and similarities of cases, while within case analysis either aim at (competitive) theory testing through within case observations or the identification of causal processes through process tracing.

In this introductory module of the course, you will be exposed to the fundamental characteristics of these two varieties of low-control designs, the various rationales for pursuing them, as well as the methods of data collection and analysis typically associated with them.
After this introduction you choose one of the workshops:

  • Workshop Explanatory case studies (USG7552C)
  • Workshop Field research (USG7552F)

Methods Workshop 2: Low Control Designs: Workshop Explanatory case studies

This workshop builds on the introductional part of the course about low control designs (USG7552). We will zoom in on explanatory case studies, a family of approaches that has informed important work in public administration and organizational sciences, such as Allison ‘Cuban Missile Crisis, Immergut’s study on the development of health policies, Sagan’s ‘Limits of Safety’, and Pressman and Wildavsky on Implementation.

The family of approaches focus on the intensive study of one or a few cases with the aim of explanation, either though co-variation, the comparison with theoretically derived expectations or the tracing of (causal) processes. We will discuss various methodological contributions to this lively field of thought, discuss and evaluate real world research examples utilizing these approaches, and practice the design of own explanatory case studies.

Methods Workshop 2: Low Control designs and methods: Workshop Field Research

​This workshop builds on the introductional part of the course about low control designs (USG7552I).
Whereas the case study and comparative designs are mainly of the reconstructive/archival variety, where observation occurs after the events, field research involves ‘in the moment’ observation of unfolding phenomena in their natural setting. It is typically divided into naturalistic (or “nonparticipant”) observation, and participant observation. Naturalistic (or nonparticipant) observation has no intervention by a researcher. It is simply studying behaviors that occur naturally in natural contexts, unlike the artificial environment of a controlled laboratory setting. In participant observation, the researcher intervenes in the environment. Most commonly, this refers to inserting himself/herself as a member of a group, aimed at observing behavior that otherwise would not be accessible. Fieldwork, however, can also entail more or less planned activities, such as informal interviews, taking guided tours organized by participants, journaling about the encounters experienced in the field, and working with available objects, photographs and other artifacts.

In several meetings students will employ different ways of collecting data through small assignments. Students will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each method, the implications of the chosen theoretical framework on data collection and ethical issues that can arise while conducting qualitative research. In other parts of the course students will enter the field. The course emphasizes students collecting and analyzing data singly and in groups. It is learning by doing. Assignments will need students to gain access to an organization and engage in shadowing and collecting stories. The collected data will be analyzed and presented for discussion in class.

Year 2 Period 2

Craft of research workshop: Analysis and persuasion, general part (compulsory)

In this fourth and final course of the programme, introducing research methods, the focus will be on the back end of the research process: making sense of the data gathered, crafting coherent and persuasive stories, and communicating those stories in an effective and responsible fashion. This part of the craft of research holds different (but comparable) challenges for researchers working mainly with numerical data and research working mainly with qualitative data.

In a series of three workshops, you will learn about aspects of research that you will all have to deal with: ethics, visualizing, and the academic review procedure.
Increasingly, researchers have to think through the ethical side of their work and defend it to an ethical committee. In this workshop, a confidential advisor of people in complaint procedures come to share her experiences. Secondly, research can be visualized in many ways. You will get a short training in visualizing your work in a poster form. Finally, research goes through review procedures, informal and formal ones. In this workshop, editors of scientific journals share their experiences about the review process.

After this general part, you choose one of the following modules to complete the course:

  • From numbers to stories (USG7652N)
  • From texts to stories (USG7652T)

Craft of research workshop: Analysis and persuasion: From numbers to stories (compulsory)

For those researchers whose basic data-collection product is numbers, the challenge in moving from data gathering to analysis and reporting is to give substantive meaning to those numbers. To get there, they have at their disposal a wide variety of statistical and/or mathematical techniques, which serve to produce interpretations as well as to test the validity and reliability of those interpretations. Once researchers have conducted the statistical analysis, they need to find appropriate ways of communicating the findings that emerge from the analysis to both specialized and lay audiences. The communication can involve visual representations of numbers in parsimonious and creative ways but also well-crafted stories that give meaning to the numbers that are at the heart of the analysis.

The module consists of 8 sessions where we delve into (1) the importance of replication; (2) derive new theoretical expectations; obtain advanced knowledge and comprehension of (3) factor analysis; (4) regression analysis; and (5) logistic regression analysis. We then (6) carefully inspect the data we are going to use in our statistical and/or mathematical analysis; (7) discuss our replications with the authors and (8) visualize the results of our analysis in a research poster.

Your task during this course is to replicate and extend an article of one of the teachers of this course and present the results of the analysis in the form of an individual academic paper and a research poster.
We will ask you to prepare for class and participate actively.

During this module, you prepare and receive feedback on parts of your final assignment. Meetings are always interactive where you present your work and fellow students and teachers provide feedback.

Craft of research workshop: Analysis and persuasion: From notes, texts, recordings and pictures to stories (compulsory)

When doing fieldwork, researchers can generate all sorts of qualitative data. There may be fieldnotes, interview recordings, pictures, policy documents and other materials to work with. There are various ways to analyze these rich data. Through an iterative process, procedural systematicity and an attitude of doubt, these all aim to build knowledge claims about the ways actors in the field make sense of their worlds. Importantly, building such knowledge claims itself is a kind of sense-making.
In this module you will learn about the principles of qualitative analysis and the ways in which qualitative analyses should be done. In addition, you will work with data throughout the module. We will be condensing, coding and comparing qualitative data. You will learn to do specific analyses, like narrative analysis. Furthermore, we will creatively display data in accessible form (table, figure, and more) and you will become more experienced in writing up a qualitative analysis and methods statements.
Finally, qualitative researchers have developed particular quality standards that help them to establish the quality of qualitative research.

The meetings of the course are interactive, allowing the participants to both get a better understanding of what is known about qualitative data analysis and to delve into issues they find important. The meetings include discussions of:

The theory of qualitative data analysis through texts on qualitative research methods,
exemplary studies from the field of Public Administration and Organization Science that help to understand the quality of qualitative studies (what is convincing, what is trustworthy, etc.), and
(practical) aspects of doing analysis through (in total) six assignments you make.

During the meetings you are expected to work on your skills as a critical, analytic researcher. Consequently, you are expected to discover, fail, comment, reflect and repeat.
The grading of this module will be based on group assignments and an individual paper.

Year 2 Period 3 and 4

Research and Master Thesis Track (compulsory)

The Research Master Thesis Track comprises the final project and takes part in the Spring semester of Year 2. It consists of data collection and analysis, culminating in the writing of a thesis. Students will defend their final project in a public session.
The coordinators will send possible projects to the students and discuss the various options and subjects for doing a thesis. They will agree on the first supervisor and the second supervisor. These will supervise the process. Additional meetings with the coordinators will be organized by the group of students.
The grade for your final project is based on 1) the quality of the thesis (90%) and 2) the public presentation and defense of your thesis (10%). Each student must present the final thesis to a forum of supervisors. Family, friends and fellow RESMA students may be invited. The individual supervisor decides on the grading in consultation with the second assessor (who is one of the local coordinators).
There are no standard requirements with regard to the number of pages, as the type of thesis varies with the type of research. The general rule is: quality is more important than quantity. The more concise you report your theoretical and empirical findings, conclusions – and policy recommendations - the better. As a reference point it may help to know that the thesis in the academic master programmes is required to stay within the 50-75 pages range. It may be shorter and we strongly recommend students to be concise in their writing. body { font-size: 9pt;

In addition:

Year 1, Semester 2, Period 3

  • Electives (4 EC)

Year 2, Semester 1, Period 2

  • Electives (8 EC)