Course 'Foundations of Research - 1'

Course ‘Foundations of Research – 1’

Sources & Methods of Source Analysis


Aimed at: Research MA-students and PhD-students in the initial stages of their research.

Period: 3-5 days during the last week (week 5) of January 2020 (depending on the number of participants).

Location: course center, the Dominican House at Huissen (with 2-4 overnight stays)

Course Co-ordinator: Prof. dr. P.C.M. Hoppenbrouwers (Leiden University).

Course load: 3 ECTS

Language of instruction: English

Registration by e-mail (with specification of subject dissertation/thesis or field of interest): before December 8, 2019. E-mail:


The course’s goal is to help PhD students working on dissertation projects and Research MA-students preparing their final theses to optimize their use of primary sources. The course will consist of a series of lectures by invited researchers in specialist fields that coincide with, or are bordering on, types of research that participants are engaged in. Lectures will be paired with short presentations by the participants whose sources come closest to those discussed in that lecture.


The short presentations (max. 30 minutes) must be built around a concrete source (e.g. one particular document or set of documents that is typical for your documentary base), and explain something about its heuristics (How has the source been traced? How is the source available and accessible to you? How was its relevance for your research questions established?), the source criticism that you apply (including questions of reliability, authenticity and textual tradition), the hermeneutics (How is the source interpreted, including method[s] of analysis?) and the informational value (What kind of valuable information the source is expected to generate?). Ideally, the lecturers will use the participants’ presentations as a mounting block to a broader view of the same or of similar types of sources, which hopefully will be interesting to all participants.