GEO-30806 Research Methodologies in Leisure, Tourism, and Environment


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Individual Paper2
Practical extensively supervised25
Course coordinator(s)dr. L Wagner
Lecturer(s)dr. ir. M Duineveld
dr. ir. MH Jacobs
dr. L Wagner
Examiner(s)dr. ir. MH Jacobs
dr. L Wagner

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

Quantitative and Qualitative Research Techniques YSS-20306


In previous courses, you have had instruction in knowledge and skills pertaining to quantitative and qualitative research methods. Regarding quantitative methods, you should be familiar with the basics of statistics (e.g. what a p-value is, why testing is often necessary), know what statistical procedure to use in which circumstances (e.g. crosstabs with chi-square-test, t-test, ANOVA with F-test, correlation, regression), be able to perform these procedures using SPSS, and be able to interpret the outcomes. For qualitative methods, you should have previously learned guidelines and general practices for interviewing and performing participant observation, have transcribed and organized qualitative data through coding, have attempted analysis of coded data, and have reflected on the ethical implications of the positioning of a qualitative researcher. Learning these skills and approaches in your prior courses has instructed you on how to 'do methods' in research, by learning the functioning and rules for 'what' to do.
Advanced Research Methods and Techniques focusses instead on questions of the rationale for research, or 'why' questions: why do we use certain methods and procedures in certain situations? Why do we design research to focus on one aspect of a context and not another? Why does previous research knowledge matter for designing and implementing new research? Most importantly, how do we constructively assess previous research, in order to investigate old research problems with new questions? Thus, the main focus of this course is on the logical application of the methods you have learned previously to design new research that demonstrates your ability to reflect on the overall theoretical and methodological context of a research project and choose an appropriate approach based on how these are connected to each other.
Choosing methods should ideally neither be based on presupposition ('semi-structured interviewing is always the best method') nor on habit ('we always do it this way'). Instead, it should be based on deliberate contemplation informed by the specifics of the research being undertaken: 'given this specific study's scientific problem, theoretical framework, state of the current knowledge, research questions, time and budget constraints, context of empirical study [etc.], we believe this method, with these specific detailed decisions, will be most useful'[. To be able to explain and justify your decisions about methodology - a key part of creating any research project, whether qualitative or quantitative - will be the focus of this course.
To accomplish this, we will first critique existing research in tourism and leisure, to explore what qualities make up 'good' research. Then, the Quantitative Section with Dr Maarten Jacobs from January 8-18 will consist of lectures about and exercises with questionnaire construction, as questionnaires are the core for most quantitative social science research. The thematic focus for this section will be on emotional holiday experiences. The activities in this section are designed to be complementary to the quantitative skills you have acquired in Periods 1 & 2 by focusing on the logic of creating a data set, prior to the logic of analysing an existing data set you learned previously. (There will be optional opportunities for repetition of these Period 1 & 2 skills for students who would like more time for repetition and exercise in statistical analyses.) The Qualitative Section with Dr Lauren Wagner from January 21-February 1 will focus on building connections between the different parts of qualitative research: context, theory, methodology, method, data, and analysis. To explore these connections, there will be selected guest speakers presenting Masters-level qualitative research in tourism and leisure, to demonstrate some of the problems of design and execution that you might encounter. For each section, you will write a brief research proposal, similar in structure to the Masters Thesis proposal that will demonstrate how you as a researcher are choosing theoretical literature and methodological resources to meet your research goals.

Learning outcomes:

Assess previous research:
- increase understanding in the purpose of research and the qualities of good research;
- critically appraise research reports or articles;
- use available literature as a theoretical, methodological, or contextual basis for further research.
Design research:
- demonstrate previously learned qualitative and quantitative methods in application to research design;
- evaluate and apply understanding of the relationship between choice of methodology and a set of methods and other elements of the research process, such as the research problem, theoretical background, research questions, measurement instrument, data analysis, assumptions made by the researcher, and resource limitations;
- create research questions that demonstrate the application of relevant literature and theory with appropriate methodology;
- create an empirical research project relating to the domain of leisure, recreation or tourism;
- be able to construct a questionnaire for quantitative research;
- identify and structure collection plans according to different types of qualitative methodologies.


Lectures/discussion, interviewing, data analysis, ICT usage, analytical software tutorials, literature study, group exercises .


The assessment consists of four elements. For the quantitative part, research paper (50%), for the qualitative part: participation (10%), homework reflections (20%) and qualitative final assignment (in pairs) (20%) An average mark of 5.5 or higher for all components constitutes a pass.


Various articles that will be uploaded on the blackboard.

Compulsory for: MTOLeisure, Tourism and EnvironmentMSc4WD