2023-2024 / SOCI2263-1

Research design and methods in migration studies


30h Th

Number of credits

 Master in sociology, professional focus in Immigration Studies (Liege - Barcelone: joint-degree programme)6 crédits 
 Master in sociology, professional focus in Immigration Studies (Barcelone - Liege: joint-degree programme)6 crédits 
 Master in sociology (120 ECTS) (professional focus in Migration and Ethnic Studies)6 crédits 
 Extra courses intended for exchange students (Erasmus, ...) (Faculty of social sciences)6 crédits 


Hassan Bousetta, Jean-Michel Lafleur


Jérémy Mandin, Shannon Damery


Jean-Michel Lafleur

Language(s) of instruction

English language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the first semester, review in January


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

This course is designed to train students to research methods in the field of migration and ethnic studies, and give them the necessary tools to design and conduct small-scale scientific projects according to academic standards in this field. To do so, the course is organized as a series of lectures that guide students step by step through the entire research process from:

- Drafting a Research Question;

- Tracing relevant literature;

- Selecting the research design;

- Searching data sources ;

- Research ethics.

The course is made of a series of lectures given by the course coordinators. Participation in all lectures is requiered. The course is interactive and requires the active engagement of students in class discussions as well as preparatory work before the lectures. Students are also expected to work throughout the semester in view of producing a final essay (in the form of a Research Proposal) on a topic of choice related to migration studies.

A first serie of presentations will address the basics principles of the elaboration of a research project: from the formulation of a research question to the choice of a research strategy. A second serie of presentations will be dedicated to the collection of data and more specifically to the collection of qualitative datas. Students will be familiarized with some research tools such as the observation, the interview, the focus group or the methods related to the collection of visual data.

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

The class aims to equip students with the appropriate tools for designing and conducting a small-scale scientific research project in the field of migration and ethnic studies. Skills learnt during this class can be put to use for the students' master thesis, the treatment of data and publication of research work conducted during their studies, or the preparation of a research proposal for students interested in joining a PhD programme.

This course is designed to help students acquire the following skills:

-Read and discuss scientific literature in migration studies, political science, sociology, and law;

-Cultivate critical thinking;

-Develop and articulate a discourse on a topic in migration studies;

-Write a research proposal that puts in dialogue different scientific perspectives of a selected topic and propose an innovative research study;

-Academic writing;

-Presentation skills;

-Strategies of data collection and management;

-Working independently.

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

Students are expected to have a good active knowledge of the English language (speaking, reading, writing). Having previously followed an introductory course to research methods in social sciences at the BA level is recommended but not required. The lectures are given in English.

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

The course combines lectures in class (in which the active participation of students is encouraged), along with activities done at home (preparatory readings/questions and a (final) research proposal. Presence in the class is mandatory. Should the students won't be able to attend the scheduled lecture, they should inform the class co-ordinator in advance. Unjustified absence will be sanctionned.

For every lecture, students have to :

-Read beforehand the mandatory publication posted on MyULiege under "Supports de cours";

-Answer the preparatory question(s) related to the reading. The question(s) will be posted on the "Supports de cours"  a week in advance of each lecture. The answers to the questions must be kept short and concise (max. 250 words if there will be 2 questions, or max 500 words if there will be one question), and they should be submitted to the course coordinator the day of the class by 9am.

-One or several optional readings will be put online. Reading them before class is not mandatory, nor part of  the evaluation, but they are useful for the development of the students' critical thinking and final research proposal.


During class, students are expected to:

-Participate actively in lectures throughout the semester;

-Submit and present a (final) research proposal.

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

Face-to-face course

Additional information:

Face-to-face course

Additional information:

It is required that the students actively participate in the presential lectures (face-to-face sesssions). Students are also expected to connect online at least once a week on the course's page on myULiege ("support de cours" page) to prepare for the next session (reading the obligatory text and answer the question(s)). Several sessions will include practical exercises in which students are expected to participate actively.

Should the sessions move online, the students will be notified in advance for the platform/connection details.

Course Time: Fridays, 1pm - 3pm

Classroom: To be determined

Recommended or required readings

The mandatory reading and question(s) of every class will be found online, a week in advance of the class. The presentations of every lecture will be uploaded and made available after each session. Also, every week the list of optional readings will be updated.

Exam(s) in session

Any session

- Remote

written exam

Written work / report

Additional information:

Exam(s) in session

Any session

- Remote

written exam

Written work / report

Additional information:

The maximum final grade a student can receive is 20.

The evaluation is based on:

1) Final oral presentation (10% of the grade, 2/20)

By the end of the semester, students are expected to orally present their final work. The latter is part of the evaluation process. Should the students won't be able to attend the scheduled lecture, they should inform the course-coordinator co-ordinator in advance.

2) Weekly deliverable(s) (15% of the grade, 3/20)

Answer the question(s) (max 250 words if 2 questions; max 500 words if 1 question) of the preparatory reading for each lecture, and submit the report to the co-ordinator only (jeremy.mandin@uliege.be) the morning before the class, Friday by 9 am. Failure to submit the answers or late submissions will be reflected in students' grades.

3) (Final) Research Proposal (75% of the grade, 15/20)

At the end of the semester, students are expected to deliver a written assignment. The assignment is a research proposal. Students design week after week their research proposal as if they were to submit it to a funder. In the proposal, students should identify a clear research question to a topic related to migration studies, compile a theoretically informed state of the art, choose their method(s), explain their strategy to collect and analyse their empirical data. The research proposal can also include an original input of the students in the form of empirical material collected by them (e.g. interviews, observations, dataset compilations, etc.) and/or an original analysis of existing material (newspaper articles, agreements, reports etc.).

Students have to submit their research questions (RQs) to the course coordinator (jeremy.mandin@uliege.be) by 13/10/2023, 5 pm. Also, by the same date students, based on their topic, should select a supervisor from CEDEM's list of researchers. The supervisors should be informed in a timely manner, and agree with the topic chosen by the student (the supervisor can help the student by proposing topic ideas). Throughout the semester, it is expected that students will liaise with their supervisor to set the timeline and goals of their research proposal.

The proposals can be between 2,000 and 3,000 words long (excluding front page, footnotes, references/bibliography, and possible annexes). The word limit will be strictly enforced. The research proposals should be written in English. The research proposal should be submitted via email to Jérémy Mandin (jeremy.mandin@uliege.be) and the corresponding supervisor by 01/12/2023, by 5 pm. Proposals submitted after the deadline will be penalised. The oral presentations will take place in the following weeks (to be decided during the course depending of the number of students).

Second session (Resitting the exam): Students must submit a new research proposal of 3.500 to 4.500 words based on a different research question/topic than the one presented in the first session. Students can keep the same supervisor or change their supervisor to be more consistent with the new topic. Any changes that may occur should be communicated to the course co-ordinator and the supervisor (old or new). The guidelines for the research proposal are the same as in the first session, except that the greater length supposes the inclusion of a more detailed and in-depth proposal than the one submitted in the first session (20 points, worth 100% of the final grade). The deadline for this paper submission is 15/08/2024 by 5 pm via email to Jérémy Mandin and the supervisor.

Work placement(s)

Please contact your professors for this matter.

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course

The students would be notified well in advance should there be modifications in the lectures.

The course starts on Wednesday, 22/09/2023. No reading for this session.

For all questions and queries students should contact Jérémy Mandin (jeremy.mandin@uliege.be)


Course leaders:

-Hassan Bousetta (hassan.bousetta@uliege.be) &

-Jean-Michel Lafleur (JM.Lafleur@uliege.be)

Course co-ordinator:

Jérémy Mandin (jeremy.mandin@uliege.be)

Office hours: by appointment (via email to J. Mandin)

Meetings: Meetings could take place at the office R.42 (B31)

Association of one or more MOOCs

The MOOC entitled 'Migrations internationales : Comment les mobilités transforment les sociétés ? (H2)' is associated with this course.