YRM-20306 Research Methods in Environmental Science


Studiepunten 6.00

Literature study
Course coordinator(s)dr. J Barrett
Lecturer(s)dr. J Barrett
dr. JK Kampen
Examiner(s)dr. J Barrett
dr. JK Kampen

Language of instruction:



This course focuses on issues of research designs and research methods that pertain in particular to the environmental sciences. The knowledge and insights that students gain on a theoretical level will be applied in developing a proper design for different types of research projects.
Using examples from the environmental sciences, three research designs will be discussed: the experimental, the cross-sectional, and the longitudinal research design. In relation to these designs, this course deals with several research methods. They include methods of random and non-random sampling, methods of data collection (primary and secondary data) and approaches to data analysis.
The research designs and research methods will be integrated in a research plan that students develop in several assignments. Starting from a practical problem that is of relevance to the environmental sciences, students formulate a research objective and appropriate research questions. Next they formulate a research project according to the experimental, the cross-sectional, and the longitudinal research design. For each of these designs the students have to hand in an elaborated plan by the end of the course.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- explain the differences 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;
- clarify what random and non-random sampling is about;
- describe the pros and cons of different data collection methods;
- reflect critically on the assessment of causality;
- discuss the reliability and validity of measurements;
- craft elaborated research designs in the environmental sciences.


- 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.


Exam (50%), final research plan (50%). To pass this course, both the exam and the research plan have to be graded at least a 5.5.


To be announced.

Keuze voor: MFNForest and Nature ConservationMSc1MO
MESEnvironmental SciencesMSc1MO, 2MO
MGIGeo-Information ScienceMSc1MO, 2MO
MUEUrban Environmental ManagementMSc1MO, 2MO
MAMAquaculture and Marine Resource ManagementMScC: Marine Governance1MO