Students gain knowledge of the field of political science through research. Thus, research and education are interlinked in various ways throughout the Political Science Bachelor's programme. In the very first year, Political Science students go out into the streets, interview politicians or immerse themselves in the archives. Through a combination of these activities and more systematic teaching and research methods and techniques, students develop the tools they need in order to examine and understand political and social realities with increasing effectiveness.
What constitutes a good research question? Which types of questions can and cannot be researched? Which methods are suited to which types of questions? You will also be introduced to the research projects and specialisms of your lecturers, in order to help you understand how experienced political scientists carry out their research. How does US foreign policy work? What sort of power structures can we identify in the city of Amsterdam? What is China's role on the global political stage? Which measures are currently being taken in the global fight against climate change? What is the most effective way to research such questions?
Amongst other highlights, the second year includes the In-Depth Research Methods Project. Students – who by this time will have completed their courses on research methods – will form small groups and work with a lecturer to study a subject that best reflects their interests. This will involve the application of at least two different research methods, including quantitative methods and interviews, participatory observation and content analysis, for example. Topics that have been researched over the past year include the effects of segregation in the education system, populism, biofuel policy, parliamentary debates on the Israeli-Palestine conflict and the role of political parties' youth wings.
The Bachelor's programme culminates in a Bachelor's project. This project will combine everything you have learned so far in the area of research and includes your largest individual project until that point, the Bachelor's thesis. Here, too, you will work in groups of students with a shared interest in a specific subject. However, you will be expected to operate a lot more independently in comparison with previous years. Although you may make use of your lecturer's research expertise and will receive a great deal of feedback, the Bachelor's thesis marks the crowning individual achievement of your studies so far. This year's Bachelor's projects focused on subjects including the role of the internet in the political lives of young people, political freedom and populism in an international perspective.