SEMINAR: Researching complex questions in European Union Studies

Course content

This course introduces students to quantitative and qualitative methods in political science with a special focus on the EU. European Politics are characterized by highly complex decision-making challenges and research into European Politics similarly requires a broad range of different analytical techniques. The course will cover both qualitative and quantitative research methods.

The course stands out by being a course in research methods that focuses on practical application, with dedicated laboratory sessions, and that puts equal weight on qualitative and quantitative approaches to three key methodological challenges: asking people, analysing text and analysing political processes. The course will therefore be divided into lecture-style sessions and problem solving sessions, during which students will apply the models and methods introduced in the lectures.

The course language is English. This includes lecture, discussions and assignments.


Course Course in the "Specialization in European Union Studies"

This course is only available for students on the specialization


Learning outcome

For students to be able to:

  • Show knowledge of a diverse set of methodological tools and procedures, including case selection, multivariate regression, interview techniques, surveys, qualitative and quantitative text analysis, process-tracing and event history models.
  • Demonstrate the ability to mix methods
  • Understand the logic of causal inference
  • Interpret the analyses in published work
  • Choose research strategies adaptively
  • Apply both qualitative and quantitative methods to current complex research problems in European Politics
  • Present results in a clear and informative way for both  technical and lay audience
  • Reflect on the trade-offs involved in relevant methodological choices
  • Develop sound critical judgment about quantitative and qualitative studies of political problems

The course will be divided into lecture-style sessions and problem solving sessions, during which students will apply the models and methods introduced in the lectures.

The course will be based largely on the following articles and book chapters:

  • Geddes, Barbara. 1990. How the Cases You Choose Affect the Answers You Get. Political Analysis, 2(1): 131-50.
  • Jason Seawright and John Gerring. 2008. Case selection techniques in case study research: A menu of qualitative and quantitative options. Political Research Quarterly, 61(2): 294-308.
  • Gerring, John. 2004. “What is a Case Study and What Is It Good For?” American Political Science Review 98 (2): 341-54.
  • Luetgert, Brooke and Tanja Dannwolf. 2009. Mixing Methods. A Nested Analysis of EU Member State Transposition Patterns. European Union Politics, 10(3): 307-334.
  • Kennedy, Peter. 2008. A Guide to Econometrics. Chapter 3.
  • Thomas Brambor, William Roberts Clark, and Matt Golder. 2006. Understanding Interaction Models: Improving Empirical Analyses. Political Analysis 14(1): 63-82.
  • Fox, John. 2008. Applied Regression Analysis. Chapter 11-14.
  • Leech, Beth L. 2002. “Asking Questions: Techniques for Semistructured Interviews.” PS: Political Science and Politics 35 (4): 665-68.
  • Rossi, Peter H., Wright, James D. and Anderson, Andy B. 2013. Handbook of Survey Research. Selected chapters
  • Brady, Henry B. 2000. "Contributions of Survey Research to Political Science." PS: Political Science and Politics 33 (1): 47-57
  • Grimmer, Justin and Stewart, Brandom M. 2013. "Text as Data: The Promise and Pitfalls of Automatic Content Analysis Methods for Political Science." Political Analysis.
  • George, Alexander L., and Andrew Bennett. 2004. “Process-Tracing and Historical Explanation.” In Case Studies and Theory Development in the Social Sciences. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 205-32.
  • Mills, Melinda. 2011. Introducing Survival and Event History Analysis. Chapter 1-3, 5.


In addition, we will be basing some lab sessions on the following:

Carrubba, Clifford J., Matthew Gabel, and Charles Hankla. 2008. Judicial Behavior under Political Constraints: Evidence from the European Court of Justice. American Political Science Review 102 (4): 435-452

There is formally no prerequisite for this course except an open mind.

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination
Individuel written assignment
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assessment
  • Grade 12 is given for an outstanding performance: the student lives up to the course's goal description in an independent and convincing manner with no or few and minor shortcomings
  • Grade 7 is given for a good performance: the student is confidently able to live up to the goal description, albeit with several shortcomings
  • Grade 02 is given for an adequate performance: the minimum acceptable performance in which the student is only able to live up to the goal description in an insecure and incomplete manner

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • English
  • 28