Research methods in social sciences2018

Research methods in social sciences

  • Study programme and level: Master’s Degree Programme Administration- Public sector governance 2nd Cycle
  • 1st year
  • 8 ECTS
  • Course type: Core
  • Lectures: 28
  • Seminar: 14
  • Other forms of study: 118
  • Individual work: 80
  • Lecturer: Jože Benčina, PhD

1. Prerequisits

No prerequisits.

2. Content (Syllabus outline) 

  • Science and Social Sciences Research
  • Research Process
  • Theories in Sceintific Research
  • Research Design
  • Concepts and Contructs, Definition and Measurement
  • Methods for Formation of Primary Data Sources
  • Sources and Use of Secondary Data
  • Qualitative Data Analysis
  • Quantitative Data Analyisi
  • Interpretation of Research Results
  • Research Results Reporting and Publication
  • Research Ethics

3. Readings

Compulsory readings:

  • McNabb, D.E., 2008. Research Methods in Public Administration and Nonprofit Management: Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches 2nd ed., M.E.Sharpe. 1 - 423
  • Robbins, D., 2008. Understanding Research Methods: A Guide for the Public and Nonprofit Manager 1st ed., CRC Press. p. 1 - 82
  • Welsh, S. & Comer, J., 2006. Quantitative Methods for Public Administration: Techniques and Applications 3rd iz., Waveland Pr Inc. p. 1 – 312.

Additional readings

  • Robbins, D., 2008. Understanding Research Methods: A Guide for the Public and Nonprofit Manager 1st ed., CRC Press. p. 83 - 273
  • Miller, G.J. & Yang, K., 2007. Handbook of Research Methods in Public Administration, Second Edition 2nd iz., CRC Press.
  • Brewerton, P.M. & Millward, L.J., 2001. Organizational Research Methods: A Guide for Students and Researchers 1st iz., Sage Publications Ltd.
  • Neuman, W.L., 2002. Social Research Methods: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches 5th iz., Allyn & Bacon.
  • Devjak, S., 2002. Kvantitativne metode za analize v upravi. 1. ponatis. Ljubljana: Visoka upravna šola.
  • Böhret, C.: Wordelmann, P.: Lernmodell Virtuelle Zukunft- Experimentelle Politik im Planspiel, TAU, Forschungsinstitut für öffentliche Verwaltung bei der Hochschule für öffentliche Verwaltung, Speyer 1997.

4. Objectives and competences


  • understands the importance scientific theory as the ground of empirical research process;
  • understands conceptualisation and operationalisation of the concepts in consideration;
  • is capable to gather the data and to proceed qualitative and quantitative analyses of data gathered;
  • make critical interpretation of the research results and report the results in the form of a research report or scientific paper
  • understands project management process and the role of project team and coordination between projects and project teams;

Student is qualified

  • to observe and assess social phenomena critically and to solve complex public problems
  • to plan and to perform research taking into account all necessary elements, to report the research results in the suitable form for publishing in relevant publications
  • to incorporate the problem approach and to assert the intended research work, based on literature research to place the research work into predefined research framework, and apply the results to situations at hand
  • be able to participate in the team work needed for execution of complex research and development projects and to assess team work process.

5. Intended learning outcomes

Students will:

  • recognize and define problem, ask research questions and/or thesis and define research hypotheses,
  • develop research design and research project plan,
  • gather and analyse information and data using suitable methods, analyse phenomena and prove them using adequate methods,
  • make critical reflexion to research results and relate them to the results of earlier researches and practical situation in public sector,
  • prepare comprehensive research report taking into account problem and research framework and report the results in the form  of scientific paper.

6. Learning and teaching methods

  • lecture
  • seminars
  • research
  • project work
  • seminar paper
  • (group) presentation
  • e-learning

7. Assessment

  • written and/or oral exam 50 %
  • seminar or project work and/or oral presentatoin 20 %
  • coursework and active class participation 30 %

8. Lecturer's references

  • BENČINA, Jože, DEVJAK, Srečko (2010). Developing a system of indicators for local community results from the developmental planning point of view. Management (Engl. ed.), vol. 15, no. 54, str. 59-68
  • BENČINA, Jože, DEVJAK, Srečko (2011). Celovito obvladovanje kakovosti pri izvajanju nalog lokalne skupnosti : primer predšolske vzgoje = Total quality management in the implementation of tasks of the local community : the case of pre-school education. Uprava (Ljubl.), jun. 2011, letn. 9, št. 2, str. 37-57.
  • BENČINA, Jože (2011). Fuzzy decision trees as a decision-making framework in the public sector. Yugosl. j. oper. res., 2011, vol. 21, no. 2, str. 205-224.
  • BENČINA, Jože, MRĐA Anja (2013). The Factor Model of Decentralization and Quality of Governance in European Union. International Public Administration Review, Fakulteta za upravo 2013.