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Qualitative Empirical Research Methods in Law | Introductory Course for PPP-students

This introductory course aims to provide PPP-students with an understanding of the purpose and appropriate use of the major qualitative research methods. It will help participants to identify research methods that are suitable for their concrete research questions.

Judith van Uden  (PhD Candidate) Katrien Klep  (Assistant Professor) Janine Ubink  (Professor of Law, Governance and Development / Director of Research) Danielle Chevalier  (Assistant Professor) Maryla Klajn  (Postdoc researcher/lecturer) Roosmarijn van Es  (Assistant professor)
Training course

Although qualitative research methods are often identified with the social sciences more generally than with the discipline of law in particular, also lawyers and legal scholars do make use of qualitative research methods. Examples of this type of research are studies that examine people's perception of law and justice, the interactions between different courts, the effects of gender, or legal aid and access to justice. This introductory course will discuss different qualitative methods. It aims to provide students with an understanding of the purpose and appropriate use of the major qualitative research methods and to equip studentswith the skills to decide whether their research topic requires the use of qualitative research methods, to select the most appropriate research methods.

Mode of instruction

The full course consists of six lectures (see schedule). The course starts on Thursday 14 March and lasts until Thursday 18 April. 84 hours (3 ECTS) will be recorded. In all instances, you are expected to actively participate in class and fulfill the assignments. The lectures only take place physically in class.

Course objectives

Upon completing the course, students will be able to:

• Develop a solid research design that suits the research question at hand;
• Distinguish between qualitative interviewing, participant observation, discourse analysis, case study research, and focus groups;
• Reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of each qualitative research strategy in its ability to answer different types of questions;
• Assess in which circumstances it is best to apply different qualitative research strategies;
• Compare the strengths and weaknesses of different qualitative research options and assess the quality of research design choices of scholars.

Compulsory literature

You can find the compulsory literature in the syllabus.


All assignments are to be handed in through brightspace.


Please register via email.


Presence in class is mandatory. If you are unable to attend one of the lectures, please send an email beforehand.

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