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Social science research methods MEE115

This course will provide a platform for participants' lifelong learning. It will contribute to the research skills of students through hands-on training in planning and conducting research projects. Methods are drawn from major social science disciplines such as psychology, sociology, political science, and organization studies.


Course description for study year 2021-2022

Facts
Course code

MEE115

Credits (ECTS)

10

Semester tution start

Spring

Number of semesters

1

Exam semester

Spring

Language of instruction

English

Offered by

Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Media and Social Sciences

Learning outcome

It is expected that the students after completing the course will have the following knowledge, skills, and general competencies.

Knowledge

Students who successfully complete the course will:

  • know and understand the principles of doing research in social sciences.
  • have some philosophy of science foundation for the knowledge. 

Skills

Students who successfully complete the course should be able to:

  • participate in the methodology discourse in empirical social sciences.
  • evaluate social science research.
  • design and conduct research, i.e., be able to choose and implement an appropriate research design, including to:

               - develop a problem statement and research questions.

               - choose a research strategy.

               - develop an analytical/theoretical framework.

               - use different qualitative and quantitative methods.

               - develop sound measurements.

               - design an adequate sampling plan.

               - analyze the data and report findings appropriately.

               - have a good understanding of the quality and validity of their findings. 

General competence

Students who successfully complete the course should be able to:

  • critically evaluate their own and others' empirical research.
  • update their knowledge of research methodology.
  • research and write a readable and scientifically sound master thesis.
Content

Research methodology and research methods are at the heart of the course and attached to two major societal challenges: 1) how to study the political, economic, environmental, and social processes involved with the transition towards a sustainable future, and 2), how to study the challenges of societal safety. This includes scientific frameworks that shape research designs, thereby giving practical scientific work direction. Further, this includes specific research methods to gather and analyze data on specific phenomena such as the discussion and/or implementation of specific sustainability, safety, or security measures.

The course consists of three main, intertwined parts:

Part one places great emphasis on research designs, i.e. development/clarification of the problem to be addressed and what aspects should be investigated, choice of theoretical and conceptual background, and the use of qualitative methods (i.e., interviews, text analysis, discourse analyses, data collection and analysis, and report writing). In this part, participants will start exploring their Master thesis project.

In part two, different approaches to case study designs will be explained ("most-similar", "small-N", "medium-N" etc.).

The third part mainly covers quantitative research methods, ways of collecting primary and secondary data, applying standard data handling and analysis systems; analyze and report the findings; interpret the results, and critically evaluate the quality of their work.

Required prerequisite knowledge
MEE140 Philosophy of Science and Research Methods
Exam
Form of assessment Weight Duration Marks Aid
Written exam 1/1 5 Hours A - F Dictionary.

Coursework requirements
Compulsory student assignments
During the semester, the students are to develop a research design for a master thesis. This can be done individually or in groups of maximum three people. 
Course teacher(s)
Course coordinator: Oluf Langhelle
Course teacher: Thomas Michael Sattich
Course teacher: Torvald Øgaard
Head of Department: Oluf Langhelle
Method of work
Lectures, assignments, discussions and group work.
Open for
Energy, Environment and Society - masterstudium Societal safety - Master's degree programme
Course assessment
Student evaluation will be carried out in accordance with the Faculty of Social Science evaluation system.
Literature
Search for literature in Leganto