HETEK4100 Theory of Science, Ethics and Research Methods Course description

Course name in Norwegian
Vitenskapsteori, etikk og vitenskapelig metode
Study programme
Master´s Programme in Health and Technology - Specialisation in Biomedicine
Master´s Programme in Pharmacy
Master´s Programme in Health and Technology - Specialisation in Radiography
Year of study
FALL 2024
Course history


The course comprises fundamental aspects and methodologies of philosophy of science, which are used in the planning, execution and dissemination of research projects in general. Focus is also on particular issues relating to health science and medical research, research ethics and relevant legislation.

Required preliminary courses

Students must have been admitted to the Master’s Programme in Health and Technology or the Master’s Programme in Pharmacy.

Learning outcomes

After completing the course, the student should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


The student

  • can discuss the importance of the most important traditions in philosophy of science that have formed our view of what science is and should be
  • can assess key methodological approaches to epidemiological and health science research
  • can discuss the content and significance of international conventions and underlying documents that are relevant for health science research and research ethics
  • can critically evaluate and discuss the value of user participation and both specialised and general research dissemination
  • can assess the possibility of innovation and entrepreneurship in health science researc


The student

  • can describe and discuss new main directions in philosophy of science
  • can apply knowledge about study design in project planning
  • can reflect on and discuss rights and obligations that apply to project management and the role of the researcher
  • can identify relevant methods in qualitative and quantitative research and method development
  • can discuss relevant research ethics issues in health science research
  • can apply, discuss and refer to laws and guidelines on research ethics and medical and health science research

General competence

The student

  • can critically assess the quality and relevance of scholarly articles
  • can summarise, present and convey health science knowledge
  • can identify relevant study designs in the planning of research projects
  • can work in an evidence-based manner in their own field and contribute to interdisciplinary research projects
  • can assess whether a research project requires different forms of agreements, registrations and approvals

Teaching and learning methods

The course will use varied, student-active work methods. The teaching will primarily be digital, but supplemented by seminars on campus during the course.

Work and teaching methods include digital lectures, digital group assignments, self-study and in-depth and reflection assignments at seminars on relevant topics. The students will give oral presentations at the seminars and receive feedback on their group work from fellow students and the lecturer.

Course requirements

The following must have been approved in order for the student to take the exam:

  • oral presentation in groups of 3-4 students

If the course is taught in English, the presentation must be given in English.


Written home exam over the course of 4 days in groups of 3-4 students, up to 3,500 words.

The paper can be written in English or a Scandinavian language.

Permitted exam materials and equipment

All aids are permitted as long as the rules for source referencing are complied with.

Grading scale

Grade scale A-F


All answers are assessed by one examiner. An external examiner is used regularly, at a minimum of every third completion of the course. When selecting answers for external evaluation, a minimum of 10 percent of the answers shall be included, with no fewer than 5 answers. The external examiner’s assessment of the selected answers shall benefit all students.

Overlapping courses

  • 10 credits overlap with MAVIT4050 Theory of Science and Research Methods
  • 10 credits overlap with MABIO4000 Theory of Science, Ethics and Research Methods