Understanding research, 7.5 credits

Understanding research, 7.5 hp


Main field of study

Adult Learning

Course level

Second cycle

Course type

Programme course


Helena Colliander

Course coordinator

Helena Colliander

Director of studies or equivalent

Martin Lundberg
ECV = Elective / Compulsory / Voluntary
Course offered for Semester Weeks Language Campus ECV
L7MLG Adult Learning and Global Change, Master's Programme 3 (Autumn 2023) 202345-202404 English Distance C

Main field of study

Adult Learning

Course level

Second cycle

Advancement level


Course offered for

  • Master's Programme in Adult Learning and Global Change

Entry requirements

The course is a part of the Intercontinental Master’s Programme Adult learning and Global Change.

Intended learning outcomes

The course will enable students to

  • Understand the logic of main methodological approaches and methods in research with relevance to the study of adult learning
  • Develop their research literacy, i.e. the skills required to interrogate research texts critically and the ability to evaluate them according to their kind
  • Apply the achieved knowledge preparatory for further studies and independent project work
  • Develop their ability to interact with people engaged in different learning contexts regarding questions about research quality

Course content

This course focuses on research. One main area is about how to read research texts to understand and evaluate them critically. The course is based on the assumption that research is perspective-dependent. Thus, the understanding of a variety of research approaches and their underpinning is fundamental. Different approaches are represented in the course by articles focusing on different contexts of adult learning. These articles constitute the ground for critical analysis and interrogation by the students. Students will also apply their knowledge in research approaches by producing a research plan.

Teaching and working methods

The rationale for the teaching and working methods in the course is that understanding is promoted through elaboration of experiences, which are further subjected to theoretical analysis and discussed in interaction with peers in a global learning community. Course activities take place online. A full participation involves completing the required readings, engaging in discussions and other group activities, as well as completing the assignments on time. 


The examination comprises of three different parts: 

Based on their readings, the students should regularly and actively, participate in online-discussions and submit written assignments. To pass the course, all required tasks described below must be completed

First, the students are requested to analyse and interrogate critically examples of research, i.e. articles that represent different aspects of adult learning as well as different research perspectives. Students are requried to write an essay in smaller groups where they discuss and compare the logic of the approaches in the examples (Assignment1). 

The second part of the examination comprise of a paper on how to investigate a chosen problem: Each student should write a research proposal and discuss within of the range of research approaches. The research plan should include an introduction where the students explores the chosen problem and state aim and research questions, a litterature review and a research design. The students will deepen their knowledge in a chosen method and show how to apply it in the research plan (Assignment 2). 

Thirdly, regular and active participation in online discussions throughout the course is mandatory. 

Applies to all courses regardless of grading scale.

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

If the course has a three-graded grading scale (U - VG), following applies:

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

The following applies to courses that include a compulsory component:

  • 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.



Other information

Course revised 2020-04-02; Dnr LiU-2020-01361

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 carried out in such a way that both men´s and women´s experience and knowledge is made visible and developed.

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.

About teaching and examination language

The teaching language is presented in the Overview tab for each course. The examination language relates to the teaching language as follows: 

  • If teaching language is Swedish, the course as a whole or in large parts, is taught in Swedish. Please note that although teaching language is Swedish, parts of the course could be given in English. Examination language is Swedish.
  • If teaching language is Swedish/English, the course as a whole will be taught in English if students without prior knowledge of the Swedish language participate. Examination language is Swedish or English (depending on teaching language).
  • If teaching language is English, the course as a whole is taught in English. Examination language is English.


Institutionen för beteendevetenskap och lärande
Code Name Scope Grading scale
LÄ03 Examination 7.5 credits EC


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