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Research design PHD101

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.

Course description for study year 2020-2021. Please note that changes may occur.



Vekting (SP)


Antall semestre






Tilbys av

Norwegian School of Hotel Management

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 program.
Recommended prerequisites
A course covering Phiosophy of science related topics is highly recommended, e.g., the UiS PHD102 Philosophy of Social science.
Eksamen / vurdering
Vurderingsform Vekting Varighet Karakter Hjelpemiddel
Individual take-home exam 1/1 1 Weeks Pass - Fail

Exam: Individual 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.

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