Research design

Short description

This course is designed for PhD candidates in the Doctoral Programme in Governance. The PhD candidates have to finalise their dissertation prospectus during the first year and to plan their attendance of conferences and workshops. The goal of this course is to support the PhD candidates in this academic development. In addition, we will address many aspects that are relevant to the organisation of a PhD project. We will discuss the difficulty of generating testable research questions and hypotheses, identifying research gaps and selecting the right research design. We also address the planning of an academic career, including the selection of the 'right' publication outlets, conference presentations, employment options inside and outside of academia, etc.

Target group

1st-year PhD researchers in the Doctoral Programme in Governance.


How this course works

The course gives an introduction to research designs in public policy analysis. In particular, it provides a platform for the PhD candidates to work on and discuss the first milestones of their PhD projects. 

The course is organised in lectures. However, there will also be different formats, depending on the theme. For example, there will be a career breakfast and a publication breakfast. 



  • Michaela Kreyenfeld is professor of Sociology at the Hertie School in Berlin. Before coming to the Hertie School, she led the research group "Life Course, Social Policy, and the Family" at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock. Between 2005 and 2012, she was a Junior Professor of Demography at Rostock University. Her main interest is quantitative social policy research.

  • Sébastien Mena is Professor of Organisation and Governance at the Hertie School. He researches the role of business in society, in particular for sustainability and democracy, relying for the most part on organisational theories and qualitative research designs. He previously held academic positions at City, University of London (UK), the University of Alberta (Canada) and the University of Lausanne (Switzerland).