Thesis Circles 2016-2017

Student research in work groups—doing your thesis and finishing your studies in a research team

Thesis circles are thematic work groups for students who share an interest in common topics or/and methods. Together they work on their individual theses, methodological or thematic information is shared, research skills are trained together, feedback from supervisors is shared and data analysed in team settings.

At present, Peter Stegmaier runs two Thesis Circles:

Thesis Circles

Governance in Action
(with Prof. Ariana Need)
Module 12 Bachelor Programme EPA

The Qualitative Research Experience

In this circle, we will address issues of governance, policy-making, and public management from a mundane perspective which will allow us too see the everyday street-level practice, the actual working for policy. Thesis topics that aim at discovering the EPA issues on the level of situated social interaction and with regards to the practitioners’ methods are welcome. Issues related to health care are particularly welcome.

We will use explorative and interpretive methods of research to investigate the social practices and relations, as well as coalitions and conflicts, struggles and routines of “street-level bureaucrats”. We will also observe the sense-making and powering. We will trace actors and activities, their fights for the definition of a situation or of problem issues, from agenda-setting to implementation, and understand how the materialities and technologies that co-constitute their daily work, too.

How to research society and humans if we assume that both are not to be measured like physical phenomena, but characterised through more or less distinct life-worlds and multiple realities and where the inhabitants of which always already have made sense of their own, before a research comes and interprets what is going on?

The basic attitude of this course is that we intend to carry out curious research: to discover changing or new aspects of social life, to better understand social life-worlds of which we always thought we would know all about, generate hypotheses and concepts instead of just applying them—by systematically taking into account the perspective of those studied. This is meant with researching exploratively and interpretatively. This is all the more important as in our society we increasingly find a complexity and confusion of ways of life and of ways how policy/politics is made which are not really familiar to us.

Student Researchers


Former “Circle” Students

Marita Bulten MSc
Former student researcher in the Discontinuation Governance project

Daniela K. Müller MSc
Research Assistant at the Institute of Automotive Management and Industrial Production

Niels Oudelaar MSc
Former student researcher in the Discontinuation Governance project

Franziska Raspe MSc
Parliamentary Assistant at the European Parliament

A. Katharina Schulte MSc
Former student researcher in the Discontinuation Governance project

Evert J. Swarts BSc
Student MSc Sustainable Development at Utrecht University, Earth System Governance track
Former student researcher in the Discontinuation Governance project

Vincent R. Visser MSc
Information Management Trainee at PBLQ
Former student researcher in the Discontinuation Governance project