TU Delft
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2017/2018 Technology, Policy and Management Master Complex Systems Engineering and Management
Mixed Research Methods for Multi-actor Systems
Module Manager
Name E-mail
Dr.ir. G. Bekebrede    G.Bekebrede@tudelft.nl
Name E-mail
Dr. M.L.C. de Bruijne    M.L.C.deBruijne@tudelft.nl
Dr.ir. E.H.W.J. Cuppen    E.H.W.J.Cuppen@tudelft.nl
Dr.ing. A.J. Klievink    A.J.Klievink@tudelft.nl
Dr. H.K. Lukosch    H.K.Lukosch@tudelft.nl
Responsible for assignments
Name E-mail
Dr.ir. G. Bekebrede    G.Bekebrede@tudelft.nl
Co-responsible for assignments
Name E-mail
Dr. M.L.C. de Bruijne    M.L.C.deBruijne@tudelft.nl
Contact Hours / Week x/x/x/x
Education Period
Start Education
Exam Period
Course Language
Required for
This course prepares you for doing a master thesis where you want to use mixed reseach methods
Course Contents
The course Mixed research methods for multi-actor systems focuses on the combination of two qualitative research methods. The design of multi-actor systems requires an in-depth understanding of the way technologies and innovations are both shaped and received by public and private actors. Next to the actors involved, insights into the role of the institutional context are necessary. Qualitative research methods are powerful tools in the researcher’s toolkit to acquire this vital knowledge as a starting point to advanced and sophisticated designs of multi-actor systems that fit their specific context.
In this course, we will cover a complete inductive research cycle to serve as input for a design process. We will focus on two participative research methods: the Q-method to study the perspectives of actors involved in a design challenge, and Gaming to understand the relationships between actors. By using these methods and by practicing with a number of research instruments that are key to this type of research (e.g. interviews), students will learn when and how to apply these tools. We will also demonstrate how using both methods as part of a mixed-methods research design can greatly strengthen the findings and thus, ultimately, the design of multi-actor systems.
Study Goals
Students who have followed the course are able to:
• Appraise the differences between different qualitative, quantitative and mixed-methods research designs
• Identify a research topic/problem and formulate a specific research question which could be answered via mixed-methods research
• Develop and justify the mixed method approach that fits their research problem and research question (and subsequently (re)align their research problem and/or question)
• Propose the type of simulation/game and assess its fit with their particular research problem
• Conduct a simulation/game and synthesize the data
• Develop and conduct a Q-analysis.
• Synthesize data obtained from the mixed methods
• Evaluate the findings from both research approached and reflect on the (mixed-methods) research approach.
Education Method
Lectures, assignments, executing a Q-analyses, evaluating a game session, writing a report
Literature and Study Materials
• Watts, S. & Stenner, P (2012). Doing Q methodological research: Theory, method and interpretation. London: Sage.
• Lankoski, P., & Björk, S. (2015). Game Research Methods: An Overview. Lulu. com.
• Other reading materials will be available on blackboard
deliverables are required assignments and a research paper. Grade is based on the final research paper
Group work
Research Methods