Kies de Nederlandse taal
Course module: 202100274
The Craft of Public Administration Research
Course info
Course module202100274
Credits (ECTS)10
Course typeStudy Unit
Language of instructionEnglish
Contact persondr. M.R.R. Ossewaarde
PreviousNext 1
S. Couwenberg
dr. C. Fischer
dr. A. Henschke
Contactperson for the course
dr. M.R.R. Ossewaarde
dr. M.R.R. Ossewaarde
Academic year2022
Starting block
1A/  2A
Application procedureYou apply via OSIRIS Student
Registration using OSIRISYes
  • to identify and explain the differences between the various research traditions for carrying out public administration research
  • to explain how public administration research develops in an academic environment that is part of a larger societal context
  • to narrate the relationship between different research traditions in social science/governance sciences and the distribution and usage of power in a context of different societal transformations that mark Europe
  • to understand and evaluate academic articles in which empirical research questions are answered
  • to critically interpret research ethics and scientific integrity guidelines by identifying and clarifying conceptual ambiguities
  • to describe and to interpret the role of social science perspectives, societal context, ethical considerations and research methods in the research processes of public administration scholars
  • to comprehend what the proposed bachelor thesis signifies for public administration research, for practitioners of the professional field, and for society at large
  • to complete a supervised project (the project consists of writing a research proposal for the bachelor thesis that is to be written in module 12)
Social science in general, and public administration research or governance sciences in particular, takes place within a wider context that is marked by societal and technological transformations. Development in the realm of public administration research go hand in hand with changes in the academic and political and wider cultural context. Such changes are first of all changes in the university, which in Europe has traditionally been the central site for being academic and for doing scientific research as a form of intellectual craftsmanship. Changes in the academic context of governance sciences are brought about by new technologies, new dominant ideologies, new policies (especially new science policies but also by new policies understood as key research objects for public administration research), and new political developments or political administrative responses to societal and technological challenges. Public administration research is not an autonomous force but is, at least partly, organized (and certainly financed) by political-administrative actors; for instance, by nation-states or the EU.

                The purpose of this module is to generate reflection on the embeddedness of public administration research in general (and the writing of a bachelor thesis in particular), in wider societal and technological contexts. Intellectual awareness of this embeddedness is understood as the initial phase in developing a research proposal and for being a public administration scholar. The embeddedness of public administration research in societal and technological contexts is discussed. In Knowledge and Power students develop understanding of the complex relationships between public administration knowledge, technology and power. Central topics include the academic sphere in relationship to other value spheres; for what purpose public administration knowledge is produced; what counts as 'science' (as contrasted with power, opinion, ideology, magic, superstition, dogmatism, utopianism, myth, media or data); what is the role of research traditions or intellectual currents (such as classicism, romanticism, the enlightenment movement, naturalism, phenomenology and post-colonialism) in the making of social science (and in the shaping of an academic environment); what is Bildung and what is enlightenment; how do theory (modelling the world) and practice (shaping the world) relate in public administration research; how are developments in governance sciences intertwined with wider societal transformations (like migration) and political changes; and how do actors in the political-administrative world 'use' and produce public administration research for shaping worlds..

                In Research and Ethics, students develop understanding of the role of ethics in the craft of public administration research. Doing research, the argument goes, requires ethical consciousness and reflexivity. In this module component, philosophical foundations of social science and discuss a variety of paradigms in social science that, as in the social sciences more generally, prevail in governance sciences. Social science may be distinguished from philosophy (particularly political philosophy and ethics), but cannot be fully separated from philosophy because the various research traditions in social science are built on particular philosophical foundations. Also, doing public administration research includes particular ethical considerations. Moreover, the role of ethics and reflexivity in the craft of scientific research is discussed, which is to say that doing scientific research always implies the making of ethical considerations. And the role of ethical integrity and ethical integrity codes in the craft of scientific research is a topic for discussion – and this includes teachings on the ends of scientific research. In the context of ethical integrity, when students intend to start research with human beings, they need to have their research proposal assessed for ethical review of the Ethics Committee BMS. This committee is organized for ensuring ethically responsible research practice.

In Public Administration Research Methods, some   basic   research   designs,   methods   and approaches that are typically used in empirical public administration research are explained and applied. More specifically you will learn how to find, evaluate and use articles answering empirical research questions using a diverse set of research methods.
                Ultimately, these three module components are designed to offer students the conceptual input to better understand what their own public administration research, in the form of a bachelor thesis, signifies in a wider academic, ethical, political and professional context and to encourage them to think about what their research means for their future profession and for society at large. The Project for this module is for each individual student the making of a research proposal within a supervised bachelor circle. The three other module components provide the academic preconditions, including in-depth understanding of the (discussions on the) craft of public administration research and its wider societal context and political and ethical implications, for writing a research proposal for a bachelor thesis that is to be actually realized in module 12. Writing a research proposal for the bachelor thesis is a precondition for participating in module 12, in which the actual bachelor thesis is written.
Module 11
Module 12
Participating study
Bachelor Management, Society and Technology
Required materials
Recommended materials
Instructional modes
Presence dutyYes

Presence dutyYes

Presence dutyYes

Project unsupervised
Presence dutyYes

Presence dutyYes

Knowledge and Power

Research and Ethics

Research Traditions in Public Administration

Methodology Workshop

Kies de Nederlandse taal