PhD Course

Empirical Design

Course Description: The workshop empirical research design is an open discussion workshop, in which participants work together on mini research design problems. The supervisor gives just a short introduction, then small groups of four or five participants have to develop and specify in, say, an hour time a design for investigating a given research question. The designs proposed in this way have to be presented to the other participants, who criticise and compare them with their own solution. This approach usually results in lively if not fierce discussions, and people get confronted with questions and solutions originating from quite different disciplines than their own. Research problems presented for solution tend to be widely different, in such a way that various research methods (observation, survey, interviews, experiments, participation, …) are suggesting themselves.

After having spent a few meetings this way, we gradually switch over to presenting and discussing the research design of the participants themselves, even if they are at present in an early, very provisional, or embryonic stage. One of the others is asked as discussant, and has to prepare critical questions and supportive suggestions, in order to open the general discussion. Participants are supposed to be present at all meetings.

Experience has shown that this workshop is interesting and useful to every researcher, irrespective of his or her methodology background or lack of it. Relevant fields are, among others: criminology, law, sociology (of law), psychology (of law), anthropology (of law), law and economics, public administration, … Participation sharpens insight into empirical research design questions and it offers opportunity to discuss informally ins and outs of research design with people from varying academic disciplines. Don’t be afraid if you have started only a week ago! Talking about research design is just as fruitful for newbies as for experts! I like to emphasize that also law PhDs are welcome, if they feel interested in empirical research.

Prior Requirements: No conditions on earlier training apply.

Course Coordinator: H. Elffers

Extra Information: Please include in e-mail your research project (½ A4) and your methodology background or lack of it. Use ERD2023 in the subject line of your e-mail. Upon registration you get a small syllabus.