5400 Methods of Empirical Social Research
Maciej Filipek, MSc (WU), Univ.Prof. Dr. Thomas Plümper
Contact details
Weekly hours
Language of instruction
02/06/23 to 02/14/23
Registration via LPIS
Notes to the course
Day Date Time Room
Thursday 03/02/23 12:15 PM - 03:15 PM Online-Einheit
Thursday 03/09/23 12:15 PM - 03:15 PM Online-Einheit
Thursday 03/16/23 12:15 PM - 03:15 PM Online-Einheit
Thursday 03/23/23 12:15 PM - 03:15 PM Online-Einheit
Thursday 04/13/23 03:30 PM - 07:30 PM Online-Einheit
Thursday 04/20/23 03:30 PM - 07:30 PM Online-Einheit
Thursday 04/27/23 03:30 PM - 07:30 PM Online-Einheit
Thursday 05/04/23 03:30 PM - 07:30 PM Online-Einheit
Thursday 05/11/23 03:30 PM - 07:30 PM Online-Einheit
Thursday 05/25/23 03:30 PM - 07:30 PM Online-Einheit
Thursday 06/01/23 03:30 PM - 06:30 PM Online-Einheit
Thursday 06/15/23 03:30 PM - 06:30 PM Online-Einheit
Thursday 06/22/23 03:30 PM - 06:30 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

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


Prerequisites for participation and waiting lists

Requirements: Course language is English. As readings and slides are in English, students need at least good passive language skills to follow the course. Basic methodological knowledge is highly welcome but not required for this course.


Course enrollment is on the basis of "first-come, first-served” principle. If you have registered but cannot participate in the course, please de-register via LPIS during the registration period so that your course is available to students on the waiting list. If there is a waiting list for enrollment in the course, students at the waiting list will be notified after the end of the enrollment period, and will be allocated to available places. Students will be ranked by their study progress not by their rank on the waiting list. This procedure, however, is not to be understood as a place guarantee.


Please log in with your WU account to use all functionalities of read!t. For off-campus access to our licensed electronic resources, remember to activate your VPN connection connection. In case you encounter any technical problems or have questions regarding read!t, please feel free to contact the library at

Last edited: 2023-02-09