CPT-36806 Critical Reflection on Research in International Development Practice


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Group work9
Course coordinator(s)dr. ir. H Maat
Lecturer(s)dr. ir. H Maat
drs. LFP Pijnenburg
dr. ir. MJ Voors
dr. IM Buizer
dr. AJK Pols
Examiner(s)dr. ir. H Maat

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

SDC-36306 Perspectives and Themes in International Development Studies


This course fosters critical reflection on the use of research in international development practice. There are many research-related activities in aid programs and development projects. Different research designs and methodological strategies are used in various stages of development intervention, for different purposes, and with different societal audiences in mind. In this course students will learn to reflect critically upon the epistemological, normative, ethical and political aspects of research in international development practice.

Reflective skills are acquired in a comparative way, using different combinations of reflexivity, research designs and examples from development practice. Throughout the course students analyse and evaluate linkages between methodological preferences, different disciplines, perspectives on development and how this all plays out in practice. The course provides a solid basis for students to reflect on science-society interaction, transdisciplinary research and professionals’ roles in international development.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to

- understand and apply different forms of critical reflection to research in development practice;

- articulate concepts that are central but often remain implicit in (discussions about) international development practice and research;

- assess their previous knowledge of research approaches and development perspectives in relation to core themes for critical reflection;

- formulate the strengths and weaknesses (scientifically, ethically) of research approaches in international development practice;

- critically evaluate the use of research designs and research results from different disciplinary traditions in the professional field of international development;

- appraise the different roles of development specialists as researchers and practitioners and the ethical dilemmas that come with combining research and interventions in international development practice.


The course consists of lectures, literature study, tutorials, group discussions and paper writing.


- 3 group assignments (70%);
- written test with open and closed questions (30%).
Each component needs a minimum mark of 5.5 to pass.


The course will make use of scientific articles and professional papers, available electronically.

Compulsory for: MIDInternational Development StudiesMSc4WD