Research Methods in Risk, Safety, and Security Studies (RIS660)
This course provides some fundamentals about science, knowledge and research, of importance for understanding the scope and aims of risk and safety science. The course focuses on research methods for studies of risk, safety, and security. Risk and safety research and science make use of both qualitative and quantitative research methods that are founded on different disciplines and scientific specializations. With an emphasis on both conceptual and empirical research, the course will address specific methods, aimed at developing the practical skills of students for planning and conducting research projects, as well as provide principles for addressing research ethics and the quality of research. Given the cross disciplinary nature of applied risk and safety studies, bringing together different scientific approaches is a significant issue, and the course will focus on concepts and frameworks for understanding the role of, and ways of bringing together, different types of research methods.
Course description for study year 2023-2024. Please note that changes may occur.
Semester tution start
Number of semesters
Language of instruction
Course does not start before spring 2024
The focus of the course is the fundamental principles and practical application of research methods necessary for studying risk, safety and security.
The course gives a historical account and introduces some fundamentals of science and knowledge. Topics covered include the subject matter of science, the nature of scientific knowledge, norms and values in science, and different types and sources of knowledge (including empiricism, rationalism, the hypothetico-deductive method known as ‘the scientific method’ and social constructionist approaches).
The course gives an overview of different types of risk, safety and security research and research methods: descriptive versus analytical, applied versus fundamental (generic), quantitative versus qualitative, and conceptual versus empirical.
The course has a broad approach to the question of methodological rigour, with focus on conceptual and empirical research methods, as well as the relationship between them. Conceptual research focuses on developing new knowledge on concepts, principles, approaches, and methods for how to understand, assess, characterize, communicate, and handle risk. Empirical research methods are those that enable the study and analysis of risk, safety, and security in relation to different organizational and societal contexts. This includes developing knowledge about perceptions, human behavior, and the operation of technological systems and social institutions. Different methodologies and their contributions to the field will be presented and discussed, covering both qualitative (e.g., interviews, focus groups, case studies, etc.), and quantitative methods (statistical methods, modeling, simulation).
The course also covers ethics in research as well as general norms, standards and criteria for evaluating research.
The course will include learning activities for developing research skills and practical scientific work, including how to develop/clarify the problem to be researched, development and choice of research design, application of theory, the use of scientific methods for data collection, data analysis, and normative implications of research and academic writing.
Upon completion of the course, students should have acquired the following knowledge, skills and general competence:
- Know and understand the principles for doing research in risk, safety and security
- Have knowledge about the fundamentals about science, knowledge and research
- Recognize and explain different types of risk, safety and security research and research methods
- Have knowledge about conceptual research
- Have knowledge about different types of empirical research, including both qualitative and quantitative methods
- Have knowledge about research ethics and academic writing
- Participate in the methodological discourse in the fields of risk, safety and security
Design and conduct research, including:
- The ability to plan and manage a smaller research project
- The ability to formulate original ideas in the areas of risk, safety and security
- The ability to collaborate/conduct research in groups
- The ability to draw meaning from the data
- The ability to solve problems using evidence
- Evaluate research
Students who successfully complete the course should be able to:
- Critically evaluate their own and others' research
- Update their knowledge of research methodology and methods for studying risk, safety and security
- Be better equipped for completing their master thesis
- Be able to perform academic writing according to recognized norms, such as precision and proper referencing
Required prerequisite knowledge
|Form of assessment||Weight||Duration||Marks||Aid|
|Written exam||1/1||5 Hours||Letter grades||Dictionary|