Empirical Social Research Methods

Methods and Tools T3150 Empirical Social Research Methods
Exam Code 3150
Credit Points 5 ECTS
Term Summer
Module Coordination Prof. Johnnes Hamhaber
Lecturers Prof. Johannes Hamhaber, Dr. Rui Pedroso
Workload (h) 42 Attendance 108 Self-Study


Prerequisites None
Intended Learning Outcome Students are able to design social empirical research campaigns by defining the research objects, the study sample, and selecting the proper approach and methods for data acquisition and analysis. After the course students are in the position to apply such methodology in resources management projects, programmes and related research.

1. Fundamental Principles of Social Sciences Quantitative vs. Qualitative Social Research methods

Role of the researcher and ethics of social science methods

Importance and characteristics of Participatory Methods

Field Work Strategy and planning

  • Paradigmatic approaches to field work (e.g. grounded theory)
  • Selected field work methods, quantitative and qualitative:
    • Systematic observation, participatory observation
    • Interview methods
    • Creative, participatory and group methods

2. Methods for Primary Data Generation.

  • Questionnaire design, coding and normalization
  • Statistical scales
  • Definition of quantitative types of variables and typical questionnaire question structuring
  • Definition of qualitative types of variables – categorical variables and typical questionnaire question structuring. Nominal, ordinal or dichotomous/binary categorical variables
  • Definition of Likert scales – examples
  • Interview design

3. Methods for data processing and analysis

  • Review of descriptive statistics, sampling design, sample size and estimation of population characteristics
  • Multivariate methods for the analysis of quantitative and qualitative data
  • Models for continuous outcomes (quantitative data) – multiple linear regression and fields of application
  • Models for categorical outcomes (qualitative data) – binary, ordinal and multinomial models and fields of application
  • Methods for Text Analysis and Interpretation
  • Text coding and retrieval
  • Text and content analysis approaches

4. Graphical representation of data

Visualization of Qualitative Data Sets and Interpretations

Teaching Method Project-Based Exercises, Field Work Laboratory, Group Work, Lectures and short presentations
Assesment Method Written Exam (35%) for Quantitative Research Methodology, Presentation (65%) in Open Space Format for Qualitative Research Methodology
Recommended Reading

Alasuutari, P., Bockman, L, Brennan, J. 2008: The Sage Handbook of Social research methods. Sage

Levy, P. S., & Lemeshow, S. (2011). Sampling of Populations: Methods and Applications: Fourth Edition. Sampling of Populations: Methods and Applications: Fourth Edition. http://doi.org/10.1002/9780470374597

Lohr S. L. 2010²: Sampling Design and Analysis. Brooks/Cole Cengage LearningCloke, P., Cook, I., Crang, P., et al. 2004: Practising Human Geography. Sage

Mikkelsen, B. 2005²: Methods for Development Work and Research. A New Guide for Practictioners. Sage.

Software, Handbooks and Manuals: MaxQDATM, Stata13SETM, ATLAStiTM, SphinxTM

Wiersma GB (2004) Environmental Monitoring. CRC Press

Version 02.05.2018


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