Guías Académicas




Curso 2023/2024

1. Subject Information

(Date last modified: 09-01-24 9:47)
Second semester
Derecho Público General
Virtual platform

Campus Virtual de la Universidad de Salamanca

Professor Information

Danilo Serani
Fac. Derecho
Office hours
Please send an email for convening office hours
Web address

2. Association of the subject matter within the study plan

Curricular area to which the subject matter pertains.

Formación Básica (Basic Training)

Purpose of the subject within the curricular area and study plan.


Professional profile.

Undergraduate students.

3. Prerequisites


4. Learning objectives

The course “Methods and Techniques” aims at introducing students to the main subjects related to research. They will be informed about what means of performing research, what are the methods available in the social sciences, and the techniques employed to perform scientific work. The course also introduces many new concepts such as data analysis, inductive and deductive research, data collecting and validation, as well as serves as an introduction to some basic methods and techniques such as comparative and case analysis, or statistical and content analysis. During the course, students will perform practical sessions to assess their knowledge of the subjects discussed and practice with some real data and scenarios. At the end of the course, students will be capable of making a clear distinction between qualitative and quantitative methods, different types of data, and determining what is the best method(s) and technique(s) for a given research problem.

5. Contents


The following themes will be discussed during our lectures:

1. The big words: Research, Concepts, Methods, and Techniques

2. How to ask a question?

3. Ways of learning in science: inductive and deductive thinking

4. Description, Exploration, and Causation

5. Concepts as Paradigms

6. Methods as Strategies

7. Techniques as Tools

8. The fuel to it all: empirical evidence

9. Types of Data

10. Data collection and measurement validity

11. Methods in detail: the comparative method

12. Methods in detail: case study and process tracing

13. Techniques in detail: statistical analysis

14. Techniques in detail: content and discourse analysis


1. Selecting the best way of collect data for a research design

2. Recognizing different types of data

3. Examining the validity of measurements

4. Comparing apples to apples or apples to oranges

5. Selecting a research method for my research and defining the best technique to analyze my data

6. Competences acquired

Basic / General.

The course will promote the following skills:

  1. Understanding what data analysis is
  2. Developing basic analytical capacities
  3. Critical thinking about research
  4. Being able to locate and generate useful information for the analysis


The specific skills fostered are the following:

  1. The capacity to classify information and measurement types
  2. Ability to differentiate between quantitative and qualitative methods
  3. Ability to recognize the adequate method and technique for the analysis
  4. Basic training in the R statistical package


  1. Critical thought and data analysis
  2. Structured reading of scientific texts
  3. Autonomy in finding bibliographical resources
  4. Autonomy in performing research work

7. Teaching methods

Asignatura de Plan a Extinguir. No tiene docencia pero el alumnado podrá convenir tutorías en función de las necesidades.

8. Anticipated distribution of the use of the different teaching methods

9. Resources

Reference books.

This is just a basic reading list. The complete bibliography will be posted on the webpage of the course at the beginning of the second semester:


Adcock, Robert, and David Collier. 2001. “Measurement Validity: A Shared Standard for Qualitative and Quantitative Research.” American Political Science Review 95 (3): 529–46.

Box-Steffensmeier, Janet M., Henry E. Brady, and David Collier, eds. 2010. The Oxford Handbook of Political Methodology. 1 edition. Oxford New York: Oxford University Press.

Carmines, Edward G., and Richard A. Zeller. 1979. Reliability and Validity Assessment. Vol. 17. Quantitative Applications in the Social Sciences. London: Sage Publications.

Coppedge, Michael. 2012. Democratization and Research Methods. Cambridge ; New York: Cambridge University Press.

Few, Stephen. 2012. Show Me the Numbers: Designing Tables and Graphs to Enlighten. Second edition. Burlingame, Calif: Analytics Press.

Few, Stephen. 2015. Signal: Understanding What Matters in a World of Noise. Burlingame, California: Analytics Press.

George, Alexander L., and Andrew Bennett. 2007. Case Studies and Theory Development in the Social Sciences. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Gerring, John. 1999. “What Makes a Concept Good? A Criterial Framework for Understanding Concept Formation in the Social Sciences.” Polity 31 (3): 357–93.

Gerring, John. 2007. Case Study Research: Principles and Practices. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Gerring, John. 2012. Social Science Methodology: A Unified Framework. 2 edition. Cambridge ; New York: Cambridge University Press.

Goertz, Gary, and James Mahoney. 2012. A Tale of Two Cultures: Qualitative and Quantitative Research in the Social Sciences. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press.

Goertz, Gary. 2006. Social Science Concepts: A User’s Guide. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Kabacoff, Robert. 2015. R in Action: Data Analysis and Graphics with R. Second edition. Shelter Island: Manning Publications.

King, Gary, and Sidney Verba. 1994. Designing Social Inquiry: Scientific Inference in Qualitative Research. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.

Levine, David, and David Stephan. 2009. Even You Can Learn Statistics: A Guide for Everyone Who Has Ever Been Afraid of Statistics. 2 edition. Upper Saddle River, N.J: FT Press.

Lupi, Giorgia, Stefanie Posavec, and Maria Popova. 2016. Dear Data. New York: Princeton Architectural Press.

Nisbet, Robert, and Paul Edward Gottfried. 2001. Sociology as an Art Form. 0002–Revised edition ed. New Brunswick, N.J: Transaction Publishers.

Ragin, Charles C. 2014. The Comparative Method: Moving Beyond Qualitative and Quantitative Strategies. First Edition, With a New Introduction edition. Oakland: University of California Press.

10. Assessment

General considerations.

The evaluation aims at verifying the advancements of students during the entire semester.

Assessment criteria.

Reading and comprehension of basic concepts and paradigms on research methods and techniques.

Continuous evaluation through individual assignments performed during the entire semester.

Critical thinking and the capacity to apply the acquired knowledge to practical situations and cases.

Assessment tools.

The final grade will be the sum of :

All the practices carried out during the course (70%).

A final research report on the application of any of the methods or techniques learned during the course (30%).

Assessment recommendations.

Carefully read the slides and the recommended bibliography, follow the course closely trying to

achieve the objectives in each unit, practice at home and ask for an appointment if something is

not clear

Guidelines in the case of failing the subject.

The requirements will be the same for the second round of evaluations.

11. Weekly teaching organization