YRM-20306 Research Methodology in Environmental Science


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Individual Paper0
Independent study0
Course coordinator(s)MSc V Emonds
dr. PA Tamas
Lecturer(s)MSc V Emonds
dr. PA Tamas
Examiner(s)dr. JK Kampen
dr. PA Tamas
MSc V Emonds

Language of instruction:



Note: This course can not be combined in an individual programme with YRM-21306 Research Methodology for Human Environment Interactions.

In this course students study research design and methodology for interdisciplinary inquiry in the environmental sciences. The knowledge that students gain on a theoretical level is applied in developing components of several designs for a practical and relevant research challenge. After laying out the fundamentals and characteristics of scientific methodology, we discuss how to choose a research topic, formulate research objectives, specify questions and then operationalize their key concepts into concrete variables and measurement strategies. Using examples from the environmental sciences, through which we improve students’ ability to read articles critically, we discuss three research designs (experimental, cross-sectional, longitudinal), various sampling strategies and data collection methods.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- explain the difference between a conceptual and a technical research design;
- describe the defining features of an experimental, cross-sectional, and longitudinal design;
- discuss the operationalization of one- and multidimensional concepts;
- understand reasons and strategies for random and non-random sampling;
- describe the pros and cons of the taught methods of data collection;
- understand the conditions that must be met for causal claims;
- discuss the reliability and validity of measurements;
- contribute to interdisciplinary research designs for the environmental sciences;
- critically read scientific literature.


- workshops in which both lecturing and interactive learning take place in small groups;
- writing a plan in which three types of research designs are elaborated;
- commenting on peers’ work.


- exam (50%);

- final research plan of the group and comments on peers’ (50%)

To pass this course, both the exam and the research plan have to be graded at least a 5.5.


Kumar, R. (2014). Research Methodology: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners. Sage Publications Ltd., ISBN 978-1-4462-6996-1.

Restricted Optional for: MESEnvironmental SciencesMSc1MO, 2MO
MUEUrban Environmental ManagementMSc1MO, 2MO