Philosophy of Science and Research Methods (MEE140)
Social science gives rise to a broad range of axiological, ontological, epistemological, and methodological issues. The general aim of the philosophy of social science is to address these issues in a way that promotes social research. In keeping with this, the course gives an introduction to central questions in the philosophy of science focused on showing their relevance for research design and practice.
Course description for study year 2023-2024. Please note that changes may occur.
1. Research design and evaluation: Topics here include tools for evaluating the scientific quality of research publications; the nature of scientific constructs and conceptual models; forms of scientific analysis and measurement; and the difference between quantitative and qualitative methodologies.
2. Philosophy of science: Topics here include the nature of science and the question of how to demarcate science from non-science; the nature of scientific reasoning; and the nature of scientific rationality. Included are also the following questions: how to specify the difference between social science and natural science; how to characterize social reality and of what it might mean to claim that social phenomena are socially constructed; and what role do the values in social science play, and what are the consequences of this role for issues of scientific objectivity.
Upon completion of the course, students should have acquired the following knowledge, skills, and general competence:
Knowledge of central issues and approaches relating to research evaluation, design and practice in social science.
Knowledge of central issues and approaches in the philosophy of science in general, and the philosophy of social science in particular.
Knowledge of how the two sets of issues and approaches relate to one another.
Ability to present and discuss issues relating to research evaluation, design and practice in an informed and independent way.
Ability to present and discuss issues in the philosophy of science in general and the philosophy of social science in general in an informed and independent way.
Ability to present and discuss the relation between the two sets of issues in an informed and independent way.
Competence in acquiring knowledge of issues of academic importance, as well as in analyzing and discussing them in independent ways.
Competence in seeing connections between different areas of academic discourse, and in bringing these to bear on one's own work in academically fruitful ways.
Required prerequisite knowledge
Exam at home
The required length of the exam essay is 3 000 words (+/- 10%). Title page, notes and references not included.Students on Master in Energy, Environment, and Society shall submit all work in English.Students on a Norwegian program may choose to submit in English, bokmål or nynorsk.
Group assignment in philosophy of science, Participation in group assignment in the philosophy of science.
The assignments of the two work-requirements are to be answered by randomly determined groups.
There must be an early dialogue between the course coordinator, the student 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 course evaluation must be carried out at least every three years. Its purpose is to gather the students experiences with the course.