2023-2024 / METO0820-1

Initiation to Social Science Methodology, Theory


30h Th

Number of credits

 Bachelor in law3 crédits 
 Bachelor in political sciences : general3 crédits 
 Master in management (120 ECTS)5 crédits 


Nicolas Jacquet, Didier Vrancken

Language(s) of instruction

French language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the second semester


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

This course introduces the basic principles of social science research.
It is organized around 5 points:

  • General points on the scientific approach in social sciences.
  • Definition and development of the various acts and stages of social science research.
  • The relationship concept / indicators.
  • Elements of formalization.
  • Illustration of a typical research: Durkheim's suicide theory.

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

Make students sensitive to the methods of the sociological reasoning.

The course is structured around three fundamental acts and around 7 stages which help the student to enter gradually the research procedure and, at the end of the year, to have a general outline of the way a research in social sciences takes place. Only the first 5 steps of the method (the starting question, the exploration, the problematic, the construction of the analysis model and the observation) will be developed in detail during the course.

At the end of this course, students will be able to:

- recognize the different stages of research in political and social sciences

- understand the different principles,

- keep in mind its definitions and the general approach

- submit social, political and cultural facts to criticism and have the methodological tools to exercise their critical sense

- apply the principles and reasoning developed in the course to practical cases and to the future research they will carry out throughout their studies


Prerequisite knowledge and skills

No co and pre-requisite knowledge.

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

The course is built around its main support : the book "Manuel de recherche en sciences sociales" of Quivy, Marquet and Van Campenhoudt.

Learning methods are based on ex-cathedra lectures, external interventions, formative and evaluative exercises, and interactions with students.

Mode of delivery (face to face, distance learning, hybrid learning)

  • Face-to-face with podcast/Unicast.
  • Second half of the year.

Recommended or required readings

"Manuel de recherche en sciences sociales", Luc Van Campenhoudt, Jacques Marquet and Raymond Quivy (Paris, Dunod, 2017, 5th ed.) + a syllabus of secondary texts + powerpoints

Exam(s) in session

Any session

- In-person

written exam ( multiple-choice questionnaire )

Additional information:

1st session and 2nd session: written examination

Work placement(s)

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course

Sessions will take place on Monday (from 8 to 10 AM)


Teacher: D. VRANCKEN - Faculté des Sciences sociales Place des Orateurs, 3 (Bât. B31 - Quartier Agora) - 4000 LIEGE Phone: 04/366 31 76 Email: Didier.Vrancken@uliege.be
Secretariat : secretariat.fass@uliege.be
N. JACQUET - Phone: 04/366 30 91 Email: njacquet@uliege.be

Association of one or more MOOCs

Items online

Appendices to the introductory course in social science methodology
Appendices to the introductory course in social science methodology