Scientific Theory and Methods (TOL170)

This course provides an introduction to social science research theory and methodology. The course also focuses on the relationship that exists between ethics, design and the practical understanding of knowledge acquisition. The course consists of three main areas: scientific theory and ethics, as well as quantitative and qualitative research methods.

Course description for study year 2024-2025. Please note that changes may occur.


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Semester tution start


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The course will provide students with a basic introduction to scientific theory, qualitative and quantitative methodology, and research ethics. Only a few of the students taking this course will continue on to a profession in research. However, later in their professional lives and in leisure activities, many will need to know how to establish a good understanding of social phenomena in the organisations we are a part of and how common such phenomena are. Therefore, the course looks at different ways of understanding the world we are a part of. In scientific theory and ethics, emphasis is placed on what characterises scientific work and the basis of the understanding that is developed during the course of the research process. Different research traditions in qualitative and quantitative methods will be discussed. Emphasis is placed on enabling students to critically choose, analyse and use research methods in their work. Issues concerning validity, reliability and research ethics are discussed. Key aspects of being a researcher are also problematised. At the end of the course, students will have acquired competence in developing a design to carry out their own research project with relevant methodology where they demonstrate understanding in relation to research ethics.

Learning outcome

After successfully completing the course, students will have the following learning outcomes defined in knowledge, skills and general competence:

After successfully completing the course, students will have knowledge about:

  • Requirements for scientific work
  • Ethical issues related to research and development work
  • The internal interaction between the topic / issue, research question, methodological tools and dissemination method
  • Different types of qualitative and quantitative methods

After successfully completing the course, students will have skills in:

  • Critically evaluating their own and others’ research based on research ethics criteria
  • Being able to develop topics, research qyestions, data collection and analyses
  • The ability to carry out simple projects according to method-based procedures
  • Being able to read and analyse academic texts in a reflective and insightful manner
  • Source criticism - evaluation of sources of information
  • Describing, analysing and assessing strong and weak aspects of research-generated knowledge, including their own work

After successfully completing the course, students will have general competence in:

  • Critically evaluating their own and others’ research based on research ethics criteria
  • Developing a design for their own bachelor’s thesis
  • An understanding of why different professional groups and traditions have developed alternative knowledge and opinions

Required prerequisite knowledge



Form of assessment Weight Duration Marks Aid
Written exam 1/1 5 Hours Letter grades None permitted

Written exam can be answered in Norwegian or English.Digital written exam.

Coursework requirements

Compulsory assignment (individual or in groups)

Course teacher(s)

Course coordinator:

Olena Mykolajivna Koval

Head of Department:

Tore Markeset

Method of work

Course teaching is carried out in the form of lectures and group work. The course requires independence where students participate in teaching and work on developing a design for their bachelor’s thesis.

Open for

Customs and Border Management - Bachelor's Degree Programme

Course assessment

There must be an early dialogue between the course supervisor, the student union representative and the students. The purpose is feedback from the students for changes and adjustments in the course for the current semester.In addition, a digital subject evaluation must be carried out at least every three years. Its purpose is to gather the students experiences with the course.


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