YRM-20306 Research Methods in Environmental Science


Credits 6.00

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

Language of instruction:



The final goal of the course is that students learn to develop a research proposal for a research project. Starting from a practical problem that needs to be solved, the students first learn to formulate a research objective and appropriate research questions. Then they learn to set up the research project according to the following research designs: the experiment, the survey and the case study. By the end of the course the students have to hand in a complete and detailed research proposal.
The focus in this course will not only be on research design; we will also pay attention to research methods. This includes a discussion of methods of random and non-random sampling (including case selection), methods of data collection (interviewing, observation and content analysis) and methods of quantitative as well as qualitative data analysis.
This course is specifically intended for students with a background in the environmental sciences. The examples discussed will be taken from the environmental sciences.

Learning outcomes:

At the end of the course, students are able to demonstrate their knowledge of:
- the importance of formulating a research issue and a research objective;
- the difference between a conceptual en and a technical research design;
- the research strategies experiment, survey and case study;
- the strategies for random and non-random sampling;
- data generation: by means of questionnaires/interviews, observation and content analysis;
- the basics of data analysis in quantitative and qualitative research.
At the end of the course, students are able to:
- formulate an adequate research objective and an adequate set of research questions;
- formulate a proper technical research design for an experiment, a survey, and a case study;
- make one- and multidimensional concepts operational.


- workshops in which both lecturing and interactive learning take place in small groups; - writing a research proposal.


The course will be examined by both a written exam and the developed research proposal. The final mark for this course will be based on the written examination score (50%) and the score for the research proposal (50%). Both the written exam and the research proposal will have to be valued at least a 5.5.


Kumar, R (2005) Research Methodology, A step-by-step guide for beginners. Sage 2 nd editionn. Additional literature: to be announced.

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