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Difficult Settings - Preparing for Fieldwork

11 days
950 EUR/full
950 EUR/full
Tuition fee
Apply date
Start date


Passionate scholars from the Faculty of Social Sciences of VU are organising a summer school to share their knowledge of the planning of fieldwork. Difficult Settings - Preparing for Fieldwork is offered at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.


Most qualitative research methods courses offer theoretical framework, research planning, data collection and analysis in one course within one semester. For Master and PhD students in earlier stages who will prepare and conduct qualitative fieldwork, many opportunities, challenges and potential risks are not discussed well enough. It is hardly mentioned and discussed in training and academic conferences so far. This relates for instance to finding and including respondents in your sample, but also dealing with time and delay, and even violence and other forms of sexual harassment, which are all issues that until now are hardly discussed in preparations. The most careful planning can mean little once the researcher encounters the real world.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this Difficult Settings - Preparing for Fieldwork course from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, students  will be able to: 
  • know how to cope with unexpected problems under difficult conditions.
  • be able to reflect on your positionality, including your interactions with participants and boundaries, as a researcher in the field.
  • understand how to better protect yourself as a researcher and your participants from potential negative effects.
  • learn how to be flexible in your recruitment strategies due to the limited contact with people in the field during the global pandemic.

Programme Structure

  • In this course, by openly discussing specific issues, students have the liberty to make a choice in relation to each different situation. 
  • This course can bring to light the gap between textbook theory and methods in practice. 

Key information


  • Full-time
    • 11 days

Start dates & application deadlines

We did our best, but couldn't find the next application deadline and start date information online.
More details

Early Bird Deadline: 15 March




On Campus

Academic requirements

We are not aware of any academic requirements for this programme.

Student insurance

Make sure to cover your health, travel, and stay while studying abroad. Even global coverages can miss important items, so make sure your student insurance ticks all the following:

  • Additional medical costs (i.e. dental)
  • Repatriation, if something happens to you or your family
  • Liability
  • Home contents and baggage
  • Accidents
  • Legal aid

We partnered with Aon to provide you with the best affordable student insurance, for a carefree experience away from home.

Get your student insurance now

Start from €0.53/day, free cancellation any time.

Remember, countries and universities may have specific insurance requirements. To learn more about how student insurance work at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and/or in Netherlands, please visit Student Insurance Portal.

Other requirements

General requirements

Who can join

  •  Master level students who want to embark on a PhD in social science, and PhD candidates in the early stages of their projects who already have knowledge of qualitative research in social sciences and have an interest in interdisciplinary studies. 
  • PhD candidates experiencing obstacles or setbacks in the financial, mental, and other areas that impact their research due to the global COVID pandemic.
  • It is not necessary to provide us with proof of your English. We do expect your English to be sufficient to understand classes and course literature.

Tuition Fee

To alway see correct tuition fees
  • International

    950 EUR/full
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the tuition of 950 EUR for the full programme during 11 days.
  • EU/EEA

    950 EUR/full
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the tuition of 950 EUR for the full programme during 11 days.
  • VU Students/PhD candidates and employees of VU Amsterdam* or an Aurora Network Partner: €650 
  • Students at Partner Universities of VU Amsterdam: €500
  • Students and PhD candidates at non-partner universities of VU Amsterdam : €950
  • Professionals: €1150 

Living costs for Amsterdam

1000 - 1500 EUR /month
Living costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


If you have been accepted to VU Amsterdam Summer School and have paid the tuition fee, but due to unforeseen circumstances need to cancel, the following refunds will be given:

  • Cancellation before 1 May: 100% of total fee will be refunded
  • Cancellation before 1 June: 50% of total fee will be refunded
  • Cancellation after 1 June: no refund will be given
Costs such as travel arrangement will not be refunded. We therefore suggest to wait with booking your travel arrangements until May.

Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

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Difficult Settings - Preparing for Fieldwork
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam


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