Logic of Social Inquiry, 7.5 credits

Den samhällsvetenskapliga forskningens logik, 7.5 hp


Main field of study

Computational Social Science

Course level

Second cycle

Course type

Single subject course


Jacob Habinek

Course coordinator

Jacob Habinek

Director of studies or equivalent

Carl Nordlund

Available for exchange students



Claudia Schmid, international office

Jacob Habinek, course director

Course Coordinator

Jonas Johansson, study adviser

Study Adviser

Madelene Töpfer, course administrator


ECV = Elective / Compulsory / Voluntary
Course offered for Semester Weeks Language Campus ECV
Single subject course (Half-time, Day-time) Autumn 2024 202434-202443 English Norrköping, Norrköping
Single subject course (Half-time, Day-time) Autumn 2024 202434-202443 English Norrköping, Norrköping

Main field of study

Computational Social Science

Course level

Second cycle

Advancement level


Entry requirements

  • 180 ECTS credits passed including 90 ECTS credits within one of the following areas humanities, social-, cultural-, behavioural-, natural-, computer-, or engineering-sciences
  • English corresponding to the level of English in Swedish upper secondary education (Engelska 6)
    Exemption from Swedish

Intended learning outcomes

After completion of the course, the student should at an advanced level be able to:

  • describe and critically examine common modes of social inquiry used within the social sciences;
  • appraise the role of micro-level social processes in explanations of macro-level outcomes, and critique explanations of macro outcomes on this basis;
  • critically assess the strengths and weaknesses of computational social science as compared to other approaches to social research, relating computational approaches to micro- and macro-levels of analysis;
  • identify and formulate research questions that can be answered with the tools of computational social science;
  • critically analyse and integrate knowledge gained through readings and discussions, and express this knowledge in class and in writing,
  • describe the ethical principles regarding the production and presentation of original social research;
  • account for and apply the rules for the treatment of academic references and the principles of source criticism.

Course content

This course provides an advanced introduction to the logic of inquiry and research design in the social sciences. The readings cover issues ranging from the nature of scientific explanations and causal inquiry to the variety of research methodologies available to social scientists.  After introducing and critically examining the most important modes of social inquiry currently in practice, the course focuses on computational social science, its defining characteristics, and how computational approaches can improve our understanding of the complex social processes through which macro-level social outcomes are brought about, and by which they can be explained. 

Teaching and working methods

The teaching consists of lectures, readings, and seminars. Homework and independent studies are a necessary complement to the course.
Language of instruction: English.


The course is examined through written assignments, active participation in seminars, and a written individual final assignment. 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
ESS4 Essay 6 credits EC
ASS3 Assignments 1.5 credits EC


Hedström, Peter, (2005) Dissecting the social : on the principles of analytical sociology. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2005
Martin, John Levi, (2017) Thinking through methods : a social science primer. Chicago ; London : The University of Chicago Press, 2017.
Nelimarkka, Matti, (2023) Computational thinking and social science : combining programming, methodologies and fundamental concepts. Thousand Oaks : SAGE, [2023]
Salganik, Matthew J., Verfasser, (2018) Bit by bit. : Social research in the digital age. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Schelling, Thomas C., 1921-2016., Schelling, Thomas C., 1921-2016., (2006) Micromotives and macrobehavior New York: W. W. Norton.

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