Social Science Research: Quantitative and Qualitative Methods



Type of instruction




Part of degree program


Recommended in

Semester 1

Typically offered in

Autumn semester

Course description

Aim of the course

The course aims to introduce students to the basic concepts of social science research as well as acquaint them with quantitative and qualitative methods. They will learn how to design research, how to conceptualize and operationalize their research question, and how to collect and analyze data. The course presents the most important empirical research strategies and methods, and the problems of cultural/intercultural research as well.

Learning outcome, competences

  • Knowledge of qualitative and quantitative research strategies
  • Knowledge of formal criteria of scientific publications
  • Knowledge of managing scholarly resource databases
  • Processing and critically evaluating scholarly literature


  • Critical-evaluative approach when reading and preparing scientific publications


  • Formulating relevant and precise research questions and write research proposals
  • Selecting appropriate research strategies and methods fitting the research questions
  • Use basic quantitative and qualitative methods
  • Capability of writing texts with scientific, elaborated language

Content of the course
Topics of the course

General introduction; the attributes of scientific thinking and empirical research. What is social research? Paradigms and theories. Collecting literature, conceptualization, literature review. Operationalization and measurement. Kvantitative methods: measuring attitudes, indexes, scales, survey. The experimental and observational methods. Kvalitative methods: content analysis, in-depth semi-structured interview, focus group, case studies, social representation and associative methods. Grounded theory. Ethical issues of research. The formal requirements of scientific publication.

Learning activities, learning methods

Interactive lecture, learning by doing.

Evaluation of outcomes
Learning requirements, mode of evaluation, criteria of evaluation:


  • active participation in the class
  • reading literature

mode of evaluation:

  • written exam based on lecture materials and readings (essays)

criteria of evaluation:

  • The essays contain the keywords of topic
  • Coherence and complexity of the essays
  • Understanding the topics and connections between different topics, concepts discussed in the course, the capacity to place them in a broader background

Compulsory reading list

  • Atkinson, R. (1998). The Life Story Interview. Qualitative Research Methods, 44, Thousand Oaks, London, New Delhi: Sage.
  • Babbie, E. (2010). The Practice of Social Research. Wadsworth Cengage Learning. International Edition.
  • Corbin, J.; Strauss, A. (1994). Grounded theory methodology. An overview. In Denzin, N.; Lincoln, Y. (Eds.) Handbook of qualitative research. London: Sage.
  • Glaser, B., G.; Strauss, A., L.(1999). The discovery of grounded theory: strategies for qualitative research. Hawthorne, N.Y.: Aldine de Gruyter.
  • Jorgensen, D., L. (1989). Participant observation : a methodology for human studies. Newbury Park, Calif.: Sage.
  • Krueger, R. A. (1994). Focus groups : a practical guide for applied research. Thousand Oaks, Cal.: Sage.
  • Kvale, S. (2007). Doing interviews. Los Angeles: SAGE Publications.
  • Matsumoto, R., van de Vijver, F.J.R.(2010). Cross-cultural research methods in psychology. Cambridge University Press.
  • Richards, L. (2005). Handling qualitative data : a practical guide. London: Sage.
  • Seale, C.; Gobo, G.; Gubrium, J.F.; Silverman, D. (Eds.) (2003). Qualitative research practice. London: Sage.
  • Thompson, P. (1982). Life Histories and the Analysis of Social Change. In Küllős I.(szerk.) Az életrajzi módszer. (Tanulmánygyûjtemény) Documentatio Ethnographica 9. Budapest: MTA Kutatócsoport. 29–45.
  • Yin, R., K. (2009). Case study research : design and methods. Los Angeles, Calif.: Sage.