About this online course


Engineering is no longer limited to working in a single domain; nowadays engineers increasingly work in multidisciplinary fields. After this course you will be able to carry out all stages of multidisciplinary research using appropriate research methods.

The use of data to understand phenomena and evaluate designs and interventions in different disciplines is increasingly evident. As a result, engineers and other applied scientists frequently find themselves needing to collaborate in multidisciplinary fields when carrying out research to remain innovative.

This course will help you to become a successful multidisciplinary researcher in industry, non-profit, or academia, and be more efficient and successful as you will know where the pitfalls are! This course explains the fundamentals on how to plan and carry out state-of-the-art qualitative and quantitative research in different phases of an innovation or research project.

The course has been designed by a team of experienced, multidisciplinary researchers in education, engineering and research methodologies and will also feature experts in the field of research methodologies as guest lecturers. In the course you will be working towards creating a project plan for your research, giving you a head-start in your research project.

The interuniversity, interdisciplinary Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Center for Education and Learning is a leader in multidisciplinary technological research and innovation projects. Learning from leading experts in the field you will learn to apply the best practices in your own context.

What you'll learn:

You are able to:

  • describe what multi-disciplinary research is and its associated challenges and opportunities in different disciplines.
  • set up each phase of scientific research: the literature study, the theoretical and conceptual frameworks, the experimental and study design, the choice of research methods and data collection, the data analyses and the interpretation, validation and verification of the results and discussions of the outcome.
  • understand and select the appropriate methods for a research question in terms of qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods including formative and summative evaluations studies.
  • explain and the importance of research ethics, data management and guidelines for human research ethics in your research design and practice.
  • write a research plan for a multi-disciplinary case, including formulating a research objective and research questions, research set up, planning and reflection.


Course Syllabus

Week 1: Introduction to research

  • What constitutes multidisciplinary scientific research and how is it used
  • Structure of research: Scientific method and engineering design cycle
  • Language of research
  • What to research and how to find out more
  • What is a research objective and a research question
  • How to formulate a research objective and a research question?

Week 2: Phases and methods of scientific research

  • Research questions and hypotheses
  • Desktop research, literature study
  • Theoretical modeling and conceptual frameworks
  • Experimental/Study design
  • Data collection
  • Evaluation, validation and verification
  • Research ethics and human resource research ethics

Week 3: Research method selection and study design

Understand and select the appropriate method for a research question in terms of:

  • Qualitative methods
  • Quantitative methods
  • Mixed method approaches
  • Formative and summative evaluation studies

Week 4: Data collection and analysis

  • Data Collection and Data Management
  • Data analysis (qualitative and quantitative)
  • Data interpretation
  • How to validate and verify data

Week 5: Research management, documentation and publishing

  • How to report research results
  • Reporting multidisciplinary work
  • Reporting in different disciplines
  • Project management
  • Scientific publishing including open science

Week 6: Verified Certificate Only: Research plan writing

  • Writing project plan based on a multidisciplinary research case where students can choose from which discipline they approach the problem.


Unless otherwise specified, the Course Materials of this course are Copyright Delft University of Technology and are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


This is a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) that runs on EdX.


This course is aimed at new and aspiring researchers with a background in Engineering and other STEM related disciplines who are working or going to work in multidisciplinary environments who want to learn more about this type of research. There are no prerequisites.

  • Starts: May 07, 2024
  • Free | Earn certificate for $99
  • Group fee: contact us
  • Length: Self-Paced
  • Effort: 4 - 6 hours per week / 6 weeks

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