This course offers the applied part to the lecture “Introduction to Empirical Social Research”. The course is designed to assist students in deepening their knowledge and skills acquired in the lecture.
In this course, students will learn the basic logic of research designs and discuss a selection of statistical and causal analysis of real world phenomena frequently used in empirical social research. We will concentrate on 'clever research designs'. The course thus focuses on the following interrelated issues:
the nature of scientific uncertainty, the logic of available research designs, the strengths and weakness of these research designs, the limits to knowledge that scientific research provides.
The aim of this course is to impart basic knowledge of empirical social research. During the course, students carry out many small activities, which help to understand the essentials of empirical social research.
After successfully participating at this course, students will have an overview of different empirical research methods in social sciences and understand the strengths and weaknesses of each approach. This course also aims to foster critical thinking such that students learn to evaluate empirical research and their validity. After passing the course, students will have gained the necessary skills to act both as informed “consumers” of empirical articles and as “producers” of small-scale research projects.
Students will acquire the skills needed to
- distinguish different empirical research methods used in social research,
- understand the scope of quantitative and qualitative research methods, and
- evaluate the methodological approach of contemporary research articles.
Attendance in this course is compulsory in line with standard rules for absence in practice courses (VUE). More detailed information on absenteeism will be explained in the first unit.
Students are required to attend the first constitutive session of the seminar.
The course relies on a mix of learning techniques including lectures, classroom discussions, practical exercises, and student presentations.
Overall course performance will be evaluated based on two components:
- Several brief activities such as in-class assignments, reflections on classroom discussions, summaries of preparatory readings, etc. (60 points).
- A written essay (40 points).
At the end of this course, points are converted to grades based on the following scale:
0-50: Nicht Genügend; 50,1-62,5 Genügend; 62,6-75 Befriedigend; 75,1-87,5 Gut; 87,6-100 Sehr Gut.
The course does not require specific prior substantive knowledge.
Office hours upon request. Please contact the instructor by email at