Research Design and Methods, 7.5 credits

Research Design and Methods, 7.5 hp


Main field of study

Political Science

Course level

Second cycle

Course type

Single subject and programme course


Johan Nordensvärd

Course coordinator

Johan Nordensvärd

Director of studies or equivalent

Albin Algotson
ECV = Elective / Compulsory / Voluntary
Course offered for Semester Weeks Language Campus ECV
F7MER International and European Relations, Master's Programme - First and main admission round 2 (Spring 2025) 202519-202523 English Linköping, Valla C
F7MER International and European Relations, Master's Programme - Second admission round (open only for Swedish/EU students) 2 (Spring 2025) 202519-202523 English Linköping, Valla C

Main field of study

Political Science

Course level

Second cycle

Advancement level


Course offered for

  • Master´s Programme in International and European Relations

Entry requirements

Bachelor's degree, equivalent to a Swedish Kandidatexamen, in political science, international relations, economics, history, geography, philosophy, law,  sociology or equivalent

English corresponding to the level of English in Swedish upper secondary education (English 6/B) (Exemption from Swedish 3)

Intended learning outcomes

After completion of the course the student should be able to:

  • recognize, understand and discuss contending positions on ontology and epistemology in the social sciences;
  • display a deeper understanding of research traditions with relevance for the study of International and European relations;
  • indentify and understand the various stages of the research process, in relation to actual examples of research in the relevant fields;
  • design and present an outline of an independent scientific investigation.

Course content

The central themes of the course are:

  • an introduction to the philosophy of science;
  • research traditions in the social sciences;
  • the design of social and political research;
  • conceptual, procedural and ethical considerations in research;
  • advanced academic writing.

Teaching and working methods

The course offers lectures which introduce and develop the content of the course. Lectures are complementary to the literature. Seminars and workshops are important aspects of the learning process and provide opportunities for mutual, critical discussions which develop attitudes and skills. Students are expected to be well prepared for lectures and to have completed assigned preparations for seminars. Students are expected to read and take in the literature independently and/or in self-organized reading groups. Language of instruction is English. Activities which constitute elements of examination are mandatory.


The course is examined through a combination of mandatory seminars and workshops, a home examination, and writing and presenting a thesis proposal. Detailed information about the examination can be found in the course’s study guide.

If special circumstances prevail, and if it is possible with consideration of the nature of the compulsory component, the examiner may decide to replace the compulsory component with another equivalent component.

If the LiU coordinator for students with disabilities has granted a student the right to an adapted examination for a written examination in an examination hall, the student has the right to it.

If the coordinator has recommended for the student an adapted examination or alternative form of examination, the examiner may grant this if the examiner assesses that it is possible, based on consideration of the course objectives.

An examiner may also decide that an adapted examination or alternative form of examination if the examiner assessed that special circumstances prevail, and the examiner assesses that it is possible while maintaining the objectives of the course.

Students failing an exam covering either the entire course or part of the course twice are entitled to have a new examiner appointed for the reexamination.

Students who have passed an examination may not retake it in order to improve their grades.



Other information

Planning and implementation of a course must take its starting point in the wording of the syllabus. The course evaluation included in each course must therefore take up the question how well the course agrees with the syllabus. 

The course is conducted in such a way that there are equal opportunities with regard to sex, transgender identity or expression, ethnicity, religion or other belief, disability, sexual orientation and age.

If special circumstances prevail, the vice-chancellor may in a special decision specify the preconditions for temporary deviations from this course syllabus, and delegate the right to take such decisions.


Institutionen för ekonomisk och industriell utveckling
Code Name Scope Grading scale
THPR Thesis proposal 1.5 credits EC
SHOP Workshop 1 credits EC
SEM2 Seminar 2 0.5 credits EC
SEM1 Seminar 1 0.5 credits EC
EXAM Home Examination 4 credits EC


Alvesson, Mats, Kärreman, Dan, (2011) Qualitative Research and Theory Development : Mystery As Method

ISBN: 9780857023247, 9780857023230

Bryman, Alan, (2012) Social research methods 4. ed. Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2012

ISBN: 9780199588053, 0199588058

or later edition

Della Porta, Donatella, Keating, Michael, (2008) Approaches and methodologies in the social sciences. a pluralist perspective Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, c2008.

ISBN: 9780521883221, 0521883229, 9780521709668, 0521709660

Murray, Rowena., Murray, Rowena., (2006) How to write a thesis 2nd edition

ISBN: 9780335219681, 0335219683


Additional articles.

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