Module description: Research Methods II

Module name

Research Methods II

Credit points

5 ECTS credits


Master Seminar (2 hours/week): 5 ECTS

Mandatory attendance



Prof. Jürgen Kähler PhD

Module Coordinator

Prof. Jürgen Kähler PhD


Topics vary from year to year. There is an emphasis on both methods and applications. Previous topics included:

  • Measuring poverty
  • Aid and growth
  • Modelling growth with time-series data
  • Implications of variables having a unit root
  • Capital account liberalisation and growth
  • The relationship between financial and economic development
  • Determinants of external-debt crises
  • Is the Renminbi undervalued?
  • The influence of external imbalances on exchange rate behaviour
  • The programme evaluation approach to development policy
  • Models, experiments and calibration in development policy analysis
  • Structural methods and the return to education
  • Estimation of dynamic effects with panel data

Learning objectives and skills

Many of the following skills can only be obtained through the active participation of students in class during the seminar. Therefore, their presence during the seminar sessions is a precondition for a successful skill development process.

Students present and critically discuss recent empirical research in development economics. Students will present their assignments in the seminar (ca. 60 minutes). This will develop their skills to extract the core results from quantitative studies and to present them in a coherent and succinct way. The presentation will be followed by a discussion of ca. 30 minutes. In the discussion, students should demonstrate that they have a profound knowledge of the subject that they presented. The discussion also helps students to be convincing and successful in academic discussions. Students demonstrate that they are able to review the relevant literature comprehensively and critically. In particular, they identify the strengths and weaknesses of quantitative studies with respect to aspects such as sample selection, properties of estimators, goodness of fit and diagnostic tests.


Since the seminar builds on the quantitative techniques that are the subject matter of Research Methods I it is strongly recommended that students take the course Research Methods I before enrolling on Research Methods II.

Integration in curriculum

Second semester (summer term)

Module compatibility

Master program “Development Economics and International Studies”: Compulsory module

Method of examination

Written assignment (ca. 15 pages) and presentation (ca. 45-60 minutes)

Grading procedure

  • Written assignment: 66 per cent
  • Presentation 33 per cent

Module frequency

Yearly (summer term)

Resit examinations

Failed exams can be retaken twice.


  • Class time: 30 hours
  • Study time: 120 hours


One semester

Teaching and examination language


Recommended reading

  • M. Söderbom et al., Empirical Development Economics, Routledge, 2015
  • Various working papers or journal articles

Last modified

April 2017