Student Pages
Postgraduate course

Qualitative Methods

  • ECTS credits10
  • Teaching semesterAutumn
  • Course codeGOV323
  • Number of semesters1
  • LanguageEnglish
  • Resources

Main content

ECTS Credits


Level of Study


Teaching semester


Objectives and Content

The aim of this course is to discuss basic concepts and methodologies, train students in identifying relationships between theory and data, and enable them to develop such relationships on their own. The course will teach students the relevance of positivist, hermeneutic and discursive approaches to the study of organization and politics with a view to developing a research design of their own. Furthermore, the course aims at presenting specific methods to the students in order to assist them to a wide variety of research methods in connection with the Master thesis writing. As a preparation for conducting their own literature reviews the course will train students in understanding and assessing critically different methods used in other research contributions. A recurring topic will be research design. Thereby, the course aims to illustrate how the various parts of the research process are interconnected. Finally, an aim is to illustrate how methodological choices are related to different traditions in the philosophy of sciences.

The course consists of the following components:

  1. Philosophy of Science and Basic Conceptual Analysis
  2. Research Design
  3. Case as Research Strategy
  4. Textual Analysis and Documentary Data
  5. Qualitative Interviews

Learning Outcomes

A student who has completed the course should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


The student can

  • Discuss basic concepts and methods of the discipline
  • Identify relationships between theory and data
  • Explain the relevance of positivist, hermeneutic and discursive approaches
  • Understand and critically discuss methods in the empirical works of others


The student can

  • Argue for the choice of methods approach on the basis of a research question
  • Apply different methods in empirical analyses
  • Integrate different methods in a research design
  • Construct well grounded research designs
  • Integrate the different parts of a research design

General competence

The student can

  • Apply different perspectives from the philosophy of sciences in order to argue for a specific choice of methods
  • Develop one's own research design
  • Support other sudents in developing research designs

Required Previous Knowledge


Recommended Previous Knowledge

AORG101, AORG104, AORG103 / AORG107 / AORG109, AORG215

Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap

  • AORG323A (10 ECTS)
  • AORG323B (10 ECTS)
  • AORG318 (10 ECTS)
  • AORG320 (10 ECTS)

Access to the Course

The course is open for students who have been accepted to the Master's programme in public administration. Exchange students may be accepted upon application.

Teaching and learning methods

6-8 lectures and 3-4 seminars.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

Presentation of an essay (about 2000 words) to be written on the basis of the syllabus. In addition, each student is required to at least one time comment on another students' written/oral presentation.

The compulsory assignment must be approved in order to take the exam. Approved compulsory assignments are valid in the current and following two semesters.

Forms of Assessment

Written essay, approximately 5000 words (+/- 10%)

Grading Scale

Graded A-F

Assessment Semester

Assessment in teaching semester. Students who have a valid document of absence or fails the exam may take a new exam in the following semester.

Reading List

The reading list will be ready before 1 June for the autumn semester and 1 Decemeber for the spring semester.

Course Evaluation

All courses are evaluated according to UiB's system for quality assurance of education.

Programme Committee

The Programme Committee is responsible for the content, structure and quality of the study programme and courses.

Course Coordinator

Course coordinator and administrative contact person can be found on Mitt UiB.

Course Administrator

Department of Government at the Faculty of Social Sciences has the administrative responsibility for the course and the study programme.

Exam information