RDS-21306 Methods, Techniques and Data Analysis for Field Research A


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Practical extensively supervised16
Problem-based learning16
Course coordinator(s)dr. S Southwold
Lecturer(s)dr. SG Sherwood
dr. S Southwold
dr. ir. RA Schipper
dr. ir. MM van den Berg
Examiner(s)dr. S Southwold
dr. ir. RA Schipper

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

YSS-10906; DEC-20306

Continuation courses:

Field Research Practical (RDS-22306)


This course offers students the opportunity to become acquainted with different qualitative and quantitative methods for exploratory field research. The focus is on development issues that concern development
sociology/anthropology and development economics. Practical problems of doing research in a situation outside one's own society will be stressed.
Major attention is given to:
-the definition and selection of appropriate units of analysis (plot, farm, household, group, village, region);
-the (dis)advantages of different methods for data collection (interviews, questionnaires, observations, discourse analysis, etc.);
-choice of appropriate samples;
-different procedures for data analysis and processing;
-different methods for presentation of field results.
Practical cases and (individual and group) exercises are scheduled to facilitate an active learning process. The organisation of the course will stimulate critical reflection on various approaches for data collection and analysis, and on the relationship between specific research problems and related methods.
Students have a computer practical in which they become acquainted with linear regression analysis of farm household production and income, and of consumption and expenditure, next to linear programming analysis of farm production.

Learning outcomes:

At the end of the course, the student is expected to be able to design, carry out and analyse information derived from primary field research. This will entail:
- using a wide range of qualitative and quantitative methods and techniques introduced in the course;
- defending their reasons for choosing this design showing how the design will check assumptions and data throughout the research process; use appropriate units of analysis and samples; define conceptual and operational definitions;
- using different research techniques (observations, informal, semi-structured and structured questionnaires), recording the data, coding, and analysing it;
- presenting workshop assignments with students from different disciplines;
- demonstrate detailed understanding of the literature through critical analysis presented in the workshops and in the written examination;
- interpretating ethnographic cases with different modes of analysis (event analysis, discourse analysis, life histories, network analysis, actor-oriented analysis) in a written examination;
- understanding quantitative approaches like linear regression and linear programming.


The course makes use of different types of learning activities:
-problem-oriented case studies. Concrete research problems are used to illustrate how different research methods could be used;
-practical exercises and assignments on research techniques: observations, informal interviews, semi-structured interviews;
-analysis of primary research data, using multiple modes of analysis;
-computer analysis of secondary sets of data.


Assignments: 11 %. Written exam: 89%.


Course guide and literature at beginning of course.

Compulsory for: BINInternational Development StudiesBSc6WD
BCLCommunication and Life SciencesBSc6WD