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About us Faculty of Law Research Centres of Expertise Groningen Centre for Empirical Legal Research

Barbara Brink

As a student of Cultural Anthropology and Sociology, I learned to conduct research using both qualitative and quantitative methods. Even though the emphasis during my studies was on quantitative research, using a positivist approach, my preference goes to an interpretive approach for exploratory and evaluative research, using qualitative methods. For my PhD thesis I studied the influence of local authorities on EU urban policy, using a social constructivist perspective. I based my empirical research on interviews with actors with an active role in the policy development and the analysis of relevant policy documents. After my defence, I worked at Rotterdam’s audit office, where I participated in evaluation studies of local policies, where we used similar methods. Recently, I started researching social security policies and the Dutch social security system. As part of the project ‘The future of the universal welfare state: between social assistance and a guaranteed minimum income,' financed by Institute GAK, I conduct an in depth study of the purpose of social assistance and social tax credits. Also here I mostly use documents as primary sources.

Besides being engaged in research by doing research myself, I have lectured on empirical research methods to undergraduate students and supervised master students of the degrees Law and Public administration (Juridische Bestuurskunde) and Governance and Law in Digital Society during their final thesis, for which they conduct empirical research. After having coordinated the associated thesis programme for Law and Public Administration for nine years, I now only coordinate this programme for Governance and Law in Digital Society.

At the moment I act as contact person for students that deal with ethical issues with their empirical research, as a member of the Research Ethics Review Committee.

Most recent publications:

Bouwmeester, M., Brink, B. & Vonk, G. (2020). ‘De toegevoegde waarde van de inkomensafhankelijke toeslagen in het stelsel van fiscaliteit en sociale zekerheid’, Maandblad Belasting Beschouwingen. 89, p. 311-320 10 p.

Brink, B. & Vonk, G. (2020) ‘Naoorlogs universalisme in het huidige socialezekerheidsdebat’, Beleid en Maatschappij. 47, 2, p. 149-168 20 p.

Last modified:07 December 2020 4.32 p.m.