Graduate School of Social Sciences at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Research Integrity and Responsible Scholarship (P6, June 2021)

This course seeks to contribute to a reflection and discussion on the normative consequences of the abstract ideals of science, and an awareness of standards of good conduct and the responsibility of researchers in the social sciences. This course also helps to ensure that the privacy safeguards built into the law and regulations for ethics review and data management at VU and the Faculty of Social Sciences are taking effect in the practice of social research.

For the social researchers of the future it is of key importance to be aware of the ethics of data and to uphold the rights of research participants. As the stream of Big Data swells, what are the appropriate procedures to ask for consent with participation in social research? When can research be conducted legitimately in the absence of explicit consent? What are the ethical limits to the use of publicly available data? What rights do people have with respect to their data, according to Dutch law and European regulations?

Because of the importance of responsibility and integrity in social science research, and of individual responsibility in determining one’s career path, this course is an essential part of the education of all PhD candidates at the Faculty of Social Sciences at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. An overview of ethics and integrity policies at the Faculty is here.

The code of conduct for academic research in the Netherlands specifies integrity standards for researchers employed at universities. In addition, the deans of social sciences in the Netherlands have adopted policies for ethics review and data availability.

Replication and Preregistration in the Social Sciences (forthcoming)

This course seeks to improve transparency and quality of research. Participants learn to preregister their research, document data collection and analysis in a replication of a study of their own choosing. Though replication is the bedrock of reliable knowledge, few studies in the social sciences are ever replicated, and the data for research publications are typically not provided by the authors. With this course you discover how reliable the knowledge base in the social sciences is, and help to improve it.

More information about the Graduate School for Social Sciences is here.

Research Master Societal Resilience

More information about the two-year master program Societal Resilience is here.

Courses I teach in the program:

Foundations of Societal Resilience (P2, October – December 2020)

In this course, we discuss theories on resilience. Societal resilience is a complex construct because it has a functional definition. Also the term has been applied in many contexts. The wide range of application possibilities makes resilience useful for researchers in different disciplines. We discuss the approaches to resilience in different disciplines. Also the construct raises questions from a meta science perspective. We discuss questions on resilience from the philosophy of science and the sociology of knowledge.

Course manual: https://renebekkers.files.wordpress.com/2021/01/201110_course-manual-y1_p2_foundations-of-societal-resilience.pdf

Causal Inference in Big Data (P5, May 2021)

How can you demonstrate causality in an ocean of Big Data? This is a huge challenge when the data are not created with the purpose of causal inference in mind. This course offers you an inventory of the state-of-the-art tools in research design that allow you to infer causality from observational data, and the conditions in which these inferences do not hold. You get to know which tools are suitable for which purposes.

Course manual:https://renebekkers.files.wordpress.com/2021/03/advanced-methods-ii-tutorial-causal-inference-in-big-data.pdf


Master program Sociology

Inequality, Conflict & Societal Participation (P2, October – December 2020)

In this course you study the influence of inequality, education and political values on societal participation. We will critically examine and reconstruct the arguments from the classic 1997 book “Modernization and Postmodernization”, by Inglehart. We will empirically test some of the arguments using Wave 7 of the World Values Survey.

Master Thesis supervision and internships

If you’re interested in a master thesis or internship at the Center for Philanthropic Studies, write me an email. Here are some thesis projects I have supervised:

Guest lectures

Presenting Your Research

One response to “Teaching

  1. Pingback: Prof Rene Bekkers, VU University, Social sciences | NRIN

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