0404 Introduction to Empirical Social Research
Univ.Prof. Dr. Thomas Plümper, Matthew Shaikh, MSc (WU), MSc
Contact details
Weekly hours
Language of instruction
09/06/22 to 09/25/22
Registration via LPIS
Notes to the course
Day Date Time Room
Thursday 10/06/22 12:15 PM - 03:15 PM Online-Einheit
Thursday 10/13/22 12:15 PM - 03:15 PM Online-Einheit
Thursday 10/20/22 12:15 PM - 03:15 PM Online-Einheit
Thursday 10/27/22 12:15 PM - 03:15 PM Online-Einheit
Wednesday 11/02/22 03:00 PM - 06:00 PM Online-Einheit
Wednesday 11/09/22 03:00 PM - 06:00 PM Online-Einheit
Wednesday 11/16/22 03:00 PM - 06:00 PM Online-Einheit
Wednesday 11/23/22 03:00 PM - 06:00 PM Online-Einheit


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.

Learning outcomes

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 requirements

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.

Teaching/learning method(s)

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 written assignments such as reflection tasks or readings comprehensions (60 %), and

- A written essay at the end of the semester (40 %).


Grading / Notenschlüssel:

0-50%: Insufficient; 50.1-62.5% Sufficient; 62.6-75% Satisfactory; 75.1-87.5% Good; 87.6-100% Excellent

In order to pass the course, students need to receive a positive evaluation (i.e. more than half of the points) on each of


Recommended previous knowledge and skills

The course does not require specific prior substantive knowledge.

Availability of lecturer(s)

Office hours upon request. Please contact the instructor by email at

Unit details

Unit Date Contents
Last edited: 2022-04-11