RSS01.A1 ​​Concepts and Conceptualization: Building Blocks of Social Science​

Concepts are fundamental building blocks of social science research. They are our ‘basic units of thinking’, provide insights into shared social realities, inform our theoretical arguments and guide our case selection strategies. However, they are also contested, difficult to construct, elucidate, operationalize or measure, and subject to change over time and space.

This course provides participants with an introduction to the role of concepts in theories, methods, and research design. It does so from a pluralist vantage point and provides insights into both classical concept formation approaches as well as ‘experience-near’ concepts. It addresses fundamental issues of the ontology, semantics and formation of concepts in social science research. Building on key social science concepts as well as participant’s topical interests, we will discuss different types of concepts and concept structures as well as how to judge the validity or credibility of concepts. To do so the course takes an applied perspective and makes use of participative and experiential learning tools to engage participant’s imagination and creativity

The course is structured as follows: each day will start off with a two hour lecture in the morning, followed by a participant-centred session in the afternoon, which applies the theme of the day to participant’s own research projects. To make the most of the course, participants are expected to submit a pre-course assignment based on their own topical interests and to hand in one additional assignment during the course.

Detailed program (pdf, 92 kB)


19 June 2023 - 23 June 2023
Course Fee

Regular: €995
Students & PhD's: €645

Early Bird Regular: €895 (application deadline* April 1st) 
Early Bird Students & PhD's: €580,50 (application deadline* April 1st)

Scholarships and discounts Find more information here
Application deadline

May 1st

*Your application is only completed when the course fee has been paid

Course leader Saskia P. Ruth-Lovell
Level of participant
  • Master
  • PhD
  • PostDoc
  • Professional
Admission requirements No specific prior methodological knowledge is required, apart from at least MA-level social science training. The course is PhD-level.
Admission documents
  • To get the student/PhD discount you need to upload a copy of your Student card or other proof of registration
  • If you are not a student/PhD, you can upload an empty document under 'Student Card'.
Mode of Study On Campus
ECTS 2 or 4 Find more information here
Location Radboud University