Research Methods and Skills (RMS)

Start Date
3 September 2018
12 weeks


Course date 2018: 3 September – 23 November 2018
Course date 2019: begin September – end November 2019 (exact dates to be confirmed)

Research competencies and skills are essential for the effective conduct and understanding of research and ultimately for evidence-based decision-making, whether in business, government or civil society. For example, you can think of consumer market research for innovative products or services, impact studies of ICT projects, studies on female entrepreneurship, and studies on corporate greening in the hotel industry. The development of research competencies is particularly relevant for junior academics whose career is increasingly dependent on their research output. When embarking on a DBA program, you also need to have a solid understanding of what constitutes good research, how to design and execute empirical studies and how to present and discuss research results in a convincing and effective manner.

The RMS training program offers a unique program to develop academic skills and a scientific mindset and to facilitate the kick-starting of research activities of DBA candidates, (junior) faculty and decision-makers in government departments, private business firms, NGOs and international development organizations. In developing countries, this program can serve as capacity building for staff in universities, but also research units within businesses, NGOs, ministries and think tanks. In developed countries, this program fills the gap between master graduation, and the start of a DBA research. After completion of this program, you are better equipped to apply for DBA programs, or start your actual DBA research within your own institute.

This program is offered both on campus (12 weeks, starting from mid-September to early December of every year) and blended (i.e. online videos, handouts, moderated online forum discussions, feedback on assignments per email and Skype). The program comprises five modules and takes you through the empirical research cycle step-by-step. Our classes balance theoretical knowledge with experience-based learning. We strongly believe that learning-by-doing will help you develop a unique set of skills to draft and execute your research proposal. With all assignments being geared towards drafting an initial research proposal, the RMS training program truly kick-starts your research journey.

Watch the video below and see the experiences of participants from the recent course :

Reasons to follow this course
1 Gain a comprehensive understanding of the process of research, learning how to move from an initial research idea to designing a solid study to empirically examine the phenomenon of interest
2 Learn about the main qualitative and quantitative research approaches and learn how to apply them
3 Be ready to start a DBA program
4 Learn by putting theory into practice during individual and group assignments
5 Receive coaching and peer-review on your research proposal from lecturers and fellow students
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The program

Research Methods and Skills – on campus
In a full-time 12 weeks program on-campus in Maastricht, you will follow five Subject Modules consecutively. It is thus an intensive period of study with plenary class sessions being combined with individual and group assignments and self-study. Discussions with peers and RMS lecturers about your initial research ideas will help you sharpen and refine these ideas. The coursework and assignments are all geared towards drafting a solid individual 10-page Research Proposal that needs to be presented and defended successfully for a committee of RMS lecturers. The program is delivered in the period from mid-September to early December.

Research Methods and Skills – blended
Participants may also follow the RMS training program blended. This program is identical to the on-campus training program, be it that the class lectures have been replaced by instructive videos and webinars. Participants will receive individual feedback on their assignments during four previously scheduled support periods. However, it will also require a disciplined work ethic to do so in a timely manner.

Click on the picture for the larger version. 

Participants of the blended program must pass the RMS training program within 9 months after the first day they started the program, followed by a period for possible re-sits of assignments up to the maximum of 3 months. In total, thus, RMS blended course work may take 12 months.

Blended RMS Participants are required to attend the on-campus program in Maastricht for a period of at least 2 weeks, during Subject Module 1 (Introduction to Research Methodology). By joining MSM Maastricht for the first Module, participants will be able not only to meet the MSM lecturers, but also fellow (international) students. Class room interactions, peer reviews and group assignments in this Module have proven to be beneficial for students so as to sharpen and refine their initial research ideas and thus kick-start their DBA studies.

The program follows a hands-on approach and teaches participants (1) how to design a sound and feasible research proposal, (2) how to collect reliable quantitative and qualitative data, (3) how to analyze qualitative and quantitative data through valid methods, and (4) how to report on the research results according to academic standards. More specifically, the program comprises five different Subject Modules which are all geared towards the final product of this program: an individual 10-page Research Proposal, presentation and defense.


Click on the picture for the larger version. 

Module 1: Introduction to Research Methodology
The first module focuses on “the basics” of research. It discusses research philosophy, deductive and inductive reasoning, research ethics, the role of literature in the empirical research cycle, literature search & review, presenting a main argument, conceptualizing research (i.e. transforming research question variables into a conceptual model), and the main qualitative and quantitative research strategies in business and management research. The lectures and associated assignments are not only intended to set the stage for the more specialized courses on quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, but are also intended to help sharpen own research ideas in terms of the research question(s), theoretical framework and research strategy. The sessions of this first module are geared towards drafting the problem statement and outlining the theoretical framework of the individual Research Proposal.

Module 2: Qualitative Research Methods
This course will introduce participants to the characteristics of and approaches to designing and conducting qualitative research projects. Participants will gain hands-on experience in various qualitative methods and analytical techniques.

Module 3: Quantitative Data Collection
This module aims to provide a solid introduction to the survey as data collection strategy. The module discusses sampling strategies, instrument development, data collection, data processing, and the strengths and weaknesses of survey designs.

Module 4: Quantitative Data Analysis
The course provides an introduction to quantitative data analysis, starting by introducing basic statistical concepts and continuing with intermediate and advanced-level techniques of econometric analysis, such as multiple regression models and non-linear regression functions.

Module 5: Individual 10-page Research Proposal Development
This module focuses entirely on drafting a solid and feasible individual 10-page Research Proposal as the final product of the RMS training program. This proposal has to be presented and defended before a committee of RMS lecturers.


Subject module Order & Length
Introduction to Research Methodology 2 weeks
Qualitative Research Methods 2 weeks
Quantitative Data Collection 1 week
Research Proposal Development 1 week
Quantitative Data Analysis 4 weeks
Research Proposal Development 2 weeks


  • Hold a Master degree in a relevant field of specialization, like Finance & Accounting, Strategy, Entrepreneurship, Organization, Logistics & Information Systems, Social Sciences, Governance & Management, Economics, Public Policy and Engineering.
    Since our aim is to provide the best training and supervision, we refer to our research website for more detailed information on our topics of interest and specialization.
  • Have an adequate level of spoken and written English. Applicants whose native language is not English or whose previous education has been in a language other than English, must submit evidence of proficiency in the English language by achieving the following scores:IELTS at least 6.5
    TOEFL paper based: at least 570
    TOEFL computer based test: at least 230
    TOEFL internet based: at least 88
  • Provide your first research ideas in the form of a five-page preliminary research proposal, see “Expression of Interest”.

Candidates should use the official MSM online application form.


MSM Deadline for private sponsorship candidates
2018 intake
MSM Deadline for private sponsorship candidates
2019 intake
15 July 2019
Deadline for Nuffic OKP/MSP students 2018 Closed, 2019 T.B.C.

For more information on how to apply for the NUFFIC scholarship programs, click here.


Tuition fee* €  6.750
Application fee (non-refundable) €       75

*Tuition fee does not include travel, housing, food and living expenses.
Participants are required to arrange their own housing facilities. 

Food and living expenses are estimated at € 25/day.

MSM Registered alumni receive a 10% discount on the tuition fee.


For the 12 weeks RMS program, we offer the option to apply for the NUFFIC scholarships.
For more information on how to apply for the NUFFIC scholarship programs, click here.

Please note that in the process of applying for a NUFFIC scholarship, it is critical to be specific on your motivation to apply for the RMS course. That is, when answering the question about the issue/problem you want to address please do not refer to the general lack of research capacity in your country, but think about challenges in an industry, region or organization you want to address. You may want to consult the website of the Dutch embassy in your country to identify the main issues in Dutch development cooperation in your country. In addition, we encourage you to already think about the research approach and research strategy you want to deploy in empirically examining this issue. This will help you answering the question in the NUFFIC application procedure on how the RMS course will help you addressing this issue.

Mr. Kinley Wangchuck, Research Methods and Skills 2015

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