This is the study programme for 2019/2020. It is subject to change.

Research is knowledge production. Research design is the plan (blueprint) that guides research through the process of collecting, analyzing and interpreting observations to generate knowledge. The design strongly influences what statements can be made and the validity of those knowledge claims. The development and choice of appropriate research designs is science, handicraft as well as sometimes an art that must be firmly grounded in theoretical considerations and existing knowledge. In this course, we present major design types and examine the elements of designs and common pitfalls. The aim of the course is to assist students in their design of publishable research, and to reinforce their ability to evaluate, discuss and challenge designs of fellow researchers.
Some designs are presently more relevant to some disciplines than others are. Instead of focusing on a limited subset of designs, we cover a wide range of designs relevant for social sciences. A broader view of the research process should enable students to identify strengths and weaknesses of empirical research in their own and related social science disciplines.

Learning outcome

  • Students should know basic research designs and accompanying sample-, measurement-, coding, analysis- and interpretation issues.

Students should be able to
  • develop research problems and questions,
  • develop robust research designs including sound sample, measurement, analysis and interpretation strategies
  • evaluate the appropriateness and application of a wide selection of designs
  • evaluate the quality of empirical data and the validity of statements based on the designs

General competence:
  • Students should become better producers, evaluators and users of research, and be helped to advance one step further in a sound scientific career.

Required prerequisite knowledge

Participants must be enrolled in a PhD programme.

Recommended previous knowledge

A course covering Phiosophy of science related topics is highly recommended, e.g., the UiS PHD102 Philosophy of Social science.


Weight Duration Marks Aid
Exam: Individual take-home exam to be handed in one month after end of classes. Maximum 4000 words, APA6 standard, The paper should preferably present a design relevant for the candidate's Doctoral thesis. Evaluation: Pass/Fail.

Coursework requirements

In-class presentations.
Active participation in disccussions.

Course teacher(s)

Course coordinator
Torvald Øgaard

Method of work

The course consist of three basic elements (with accompanying student activities):
  1. Introduction to good questions and sustainable answers (individual reading, lectures and discussions).

which questions can and should we ask? Researchable phenomena, problems, questions, hypotheses, models.
which answers (statements) can we provide? Research designs including collecting, analyzing and interpreting observations.
  1. Evaluation of research efforts. We will present and discuss a wide selection of contemporary research (individual reading, presentations by researchers as well as students, group and class discussions).
  2. Presentation and discussion of the participants own designs (presentation of your own design, discussant of fellow students design, discussions).

Course assessment

To secure a good learning environment, participants are encouraged to, and expected to voice joy and concerns in class or directly to teachers.

The UiS standard evaluation form is available after classes.


Blaikie, N. (2010). Designing social research (2. ed.). Cambridge: Polity Press.
American Psychological, Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Journal/author ranking evaluation and ranking:
NSD’s ranking used for calculations of research production in Norway:
Google scholar is quite efficient for early stage searches and evaluations:
This app is efficient for evaluating authors as well as journals:
Theory testing versus application
Calder, B. J., Phillips, L. W., & Tybout, A. W. (1981). Designing Research for Application. Journal of Consumer Research, 8(September), 197-207.
Qualitative designs/inductive research:
Case studies: Yin, R. K. (2014). Case Study Research: Design and Methods. Thousan Oaks, California: Sage.
Narrative research: Andrews, M., Squire, C., & Tamboukou, M. (2013). Doing narrative research: Sage.
Maxwell, J. A. (2013). Qualitative research design: an interactive approach (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Pulications.
Dey, I. (2004). Grounded theory. Qualitative research practice, 80-93.
Lave, C. A., & March, J. G. (1993). An introduction to models in the social sciences. Lanham: University Press of America, Inc. (Chapter 1-3)
Data sources/measurement:
Bradburn, N. M., Sudman, S., & Wansink, B. (2004). Asking Questions. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Sudman, S., Bradburn, N. M., & Schwartz, N. (1996). Thinking about answers: The application of cognitive process to survey methodology. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Hetland, A., Vittersø, J., Fagermo, K., Øvervoll, M., & Dahl, T. I. (2016). Visual excitement: analyzing the effects of three Norwegian tourism films on emotions and behavioral intentions. Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism, 16(4), 528-547.
Bogen, James, "Theory and Observation in Science", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2017 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <>.
Podsakoff, P. M., MacKenzie, S. B., & Podsakoff, N. P. (2012). Sources of Method Bias in Social Science Research and Recommendations on How to Control It. Annual Review of Psychology, 63(1), 539-569. doi:doi:10.1146/annurev-psych-120710-100452
Bagozzi, R. P. (2007). On the Meaning of Formative Measurement and How It Differs From Reflective Measurement: Comment on Howell, Breivik, and Wilcox (2007). Psychological Methods, 12(2), 229-237.
Van Vaerenbergh, Y., & Thomas, T. D. (2013). Response styles in survey research: A literature review of antecedents, consequences, and remedies. International Journal of Public Opinion Research, 25(2), 195-217.
Hayduk, L. A., & Littvay, L. (2012). Should researchers use single indicators, best indicators, or multiple indicators in structural equation models? BMC Medical Research Methodology 2012, 12:159.
Feldman, M. S. (1995). Strategies for interpreting qualitative data. Thousand Oaks Calif.: Sage Publications.
Trustworthiness, reliability and validity
Campbell, D. T., & Fiske, D. W. (1959). Convergent and discriminant validation by the multitrait-multimethod matrix. Psychological Bulletin, 56(2), 81-105.
Churchill, G. W. jr. (1979). A Paradigm for Developing Better Measures of Constructs. Journal of Marketing Research, 16(1), 64-73.
Seale, C. (1999). Quality in qualitative research. Qualitative inquiry, 5(4), 465-478.
Golafshani, N. (2003). Understanding reliability and validity in qualitative research. The qualitative report, 8(4), 597-606.
(Reve, T. (1985). Validitet i økonomisk-administrativ forskning. In Metoder og perspektiver i økonomisk-administrativ forskning (pp. 52-72). Oslo: Universitetsforlaget.)
Cook, T. D., & Campbell, D. T. (1979). Quasi-experimentation: Design & analysis Issues for Field Settings. Boston.: Houghton Mifflin Co.
Calder, B. J., et al. (1981). "Designing Research for Application." Journal of Consumer Research 8 (September): 197-207.
Chan, D. (1998). Functional relations among constructs in the same content domain at different levels of analysis: A typology of composition models. Journal of Applied Psychology, 83(2), 234-246. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.83.2.234
Tsang, E. W., & Kwan, K.-M. (1999). Replication and theory development in organizational science: A critical realist perspective. Academy of Management Review, 24(4), 759-780.
Reviews and metaanalyses:
Higgins JPT, Green S (editors). Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions Version 5.1.0 [updated March 2011]. The Cochrane Collaboration, 2011. Available from
Whittemore, R., & Knafl, K. (2005). The integrative review: updated methodology. Journal of advanced nursing, 52(5), 546-553.
Dieste, O., & Juristo, N. (2011). Systematic review and aggregation of empirical studies on elicitation techniques. Software Engineering, IEEE Transactions on, 37(2), 283-304.
Polit, D. F., & Beck, C. T. (2017). Essentials of nursing research : appraising evidence for nursing practice (9th ed. ed.). Philadelphia, Pa: Wolters Kluwer. (Chapter 7.)
Publication manual of the American Psychological Association. (2010). (6th ed. ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

This is the study programme for 2019/2020. It is subject to change.

Sist oppdatert: 18.01.2020