SIW4220 Qualitative Methods and Research Design Emneplan

Engelsk emnenavn
Qualitative Methods and Research Design
Master Programme in Applied Social Sciences - Study Option International Social Welfare and Health Policy / Master's Programme in Applied Social Sciences – Study Option Nordic Social Policy and Global Sustainable Development
10 stp.


This course will use collaborative and portfolio methods to provide training in the use of qualitative research methods and design. We give particular attention to methodological reflection, comparative analysis and the links between research questions and research design.

We will practice the primary steps of the qualitative research process, and reflect on the process of carrying out these steps, in order to understand the strengths and limitations of various designs.

Language of instruction is English.




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


The student has

  • thorough knowledge of the research process 
  • advanced knowledge of qualitative research designs: their appropriate use as well as strengths and limitations
  • advanced conceptual tools to be applied in discussing, evaluating, and exploring social phenomena


The student can

  • relate research processes to scientific theory and ethical principles
  • apply research methods in a reflective manner and appropriately choose methods that are relevant for different kinds of research questions
  • use relevant methods for producing, analysing and interpreting diverse types of empirical data (e.g. literature, interviews, and field observations)
  • evaluate research based on qualitative methodologies in terms of methodological quality and appropriateness

General competence

The student

  • has knowledge of general research ethics
  • has the ability to reflect critically on the ethical dimensions of data collection, analysis and presentation of data
  • has the ability to think critically concerning the development, design and execution of research

Arbeids- og undervisningsformer

The course consists of lectures, seminar group- and individual exercises.

Course meetings are divided into lecture and seminar portions. In the seminar, student project groups and/or individual students work with practical exercises. The seminars will be supervised on demand. Students will complete practical exercises in each seminar, which will be collected in a "project portfolio". Portfolio work will receive feedback from the instructor and at specified times throughout the semester and a selection of the work will comprise a portion of the final exam.

Arbeidskrav og obligatoriske aktiviteter

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

  • Coursework 1: Participation in at least 80% of the seminars
  • Coursework 2: An oral presentation, presented by the student project group, as well as peer feedback to another group's work. The presentation can be anything from a presentation of results from that group's work, to presenting the most interesting group discussion or reflection on course related topics.

Attendance during the group presentation is mandatory, and presentations and feedback must be approved by the course lecturer. Students who are not present or who have not provided input to the group or have not participated in providing feedback to a peer group, or have presentations that are not approved, will have to submit an alternative qualification to be able to sit for the examination.

Lack of an approved course work requirement will disqualify the student from taking part in the final examination.

Vurdering og eksamen

The exam in the course is a semester course paper. The exam paper must have a scope of 10 pages (+/- 10 per cent). Font and font size: Calibri 12 points. Line spacing: 1.5.

The student will work with the course paper through work on and reflections about the practical exercises through the semester until delivery. The paper’s theme is defined or approved by the course leader.

Hjelpemidler ved eksamen

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


Grade scale A-F. 


The exam papers are assessed by one internal and one external examiner. 

At least 25% of the exam papers will be assessed by two examiners. The grades awarded for the papers assessed by two examiners form the basis for determining the level for all the exam papers.


Erika Gubrium