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2017/2018  KAN-CSIEO2024U  Making Social Science Matter

English Title
Making Social Science Matter

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Mandatory
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Quarter
Start time of the course Fourth Quarter, Spring
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Social Sciences
Course coordinator
  • Robin Holt - MPP
Main academic disciplines
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Philosophy and ethics
  • Methodology and philosophy of science
Last updated on 26-06-2017

Relevant links

Learning objectives
To achieve the grade 12, students should meet the following learning objectives with no or only minor mistakes or errors:
  • Understand the important of problem centred and engaged research
  • Understand key debates in social science between on matters of fact and matters of concern
  • Understand the relationship and tensions between social science practice and business and management research, notably entrepreneurship and innovation research.
  • Understand how case study can be used in entrepreneurship and innivation research.
  • Be familiar with debates about the purpose and relevance of business and management research and the processes of knowledge creation and dissemination into entrepreneurial practice
  • Understand how to study entrepreneurship and innovation in relation to space, history and power
Making Social Science Matter:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Oral exam based on written product

In order to participate in the oral exam, the written product must be handed in before the oral exam; by the set deadline. The grade is based on an overall assessment of the written product and the individual oral performance.
Individual or group exam Oral group exam based on written group product
Number of people in the group 2-5
Size of written product Max. 45 pages
In groups with 2 students max. 15 pages, 3 students max. 20 pages, 4-5 students max. 25 pages
Assignment type Project
Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
15 min. per student, including examiners' discussion of grade, and informing plus explaining the grade
Preparation time No preparation
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) Internal examiner and external examiner
Exam period Summer
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
If a student is ill during the regular oral exam, he/she will be able to re-use the project at the make-up exam. If a student is ill during the writing of the project and did not contribute to the project, the make-up exam can be written individually or in groups (provided that other students are taking the make-up/re-exam). If the student did not pass the regular exam, he/she must make a new revised project (confer advice from the examiner) and hand it in on a new deadline specified by the secretariat
Description of the exam procedure

Duration of oral exam:

2 persons group: 20 min

3 persons group: 30 min

4-5 persons group: 40 min

Course content and structure

Course content and structure

This course is grounded on a sustained reading of the books Making Social Science Matter by Bent Flyvbjerg and Disclosing New Worlds by Charles Spinosa, Hubert Dreyfus and Fernando Flores.


Fyvbjerg argues that rather than simply generate knowledge, social science should consider what constitutes a good society and discover how knowledge might better contribute to this.


Consideration will also be given throughout to the nature of method in social science research, with an emphasis on business and management research. Emerging from the work of ethnographers such as Bruno Latour, there are questions about the nature and role of ‘method’ in the creation of social scientific results. In addition consideration will be given to theories of entrepreneurial and innovative activity that enocurage researchers to get in amid the phenomena they are researching, notably the book Disclosing New Worlds. Here Flores and his co-authors talk about entrepreneurship as being the discosure of new spaces.


All of the authors discussed suggest that scientific work is embedded in wider discursive  and material backgrounds which legitimise particular realities, rather being than a process of ‘discovering’ what is ‘out there’. The same goes for entrepreneurial work. Shifting from the focus on the discovery towards the accomplishment and dislcosure of what is ‘out there’ raises questions about the nature of truth and the role of creativity in this process.


Part of the course will involve students working on their own primary research of entrepreneurial ventures. Students will be asked to identify, inquire into, and produce knowledge about a space in which entrepreneurial activity has led to the disclosure of a new way of doing things. To assist in this work they will be introduced to the methods of case study (from Flyvbjerg) and the spatial analysis advocated by Henri Lefebvre. In this way they will gain first hand appreciation of how social science workd in an entrepreneurial context, and in working can be made to matter.

Teaching methods
The teaching and learning strategy of the module is based around providing students with the basic knowledge and skills necessary to conduct research in business and management settings, with specific emphasis on entrepreneurship and innovation. Sessions will involve discussions, studio work and lectures pertaining to key aspects of business and management as a social science and its broader relationship to the humanities. The combined use of theoretical and practical sessions will contribute to preparing students to conduct research in business and management settings.

Emphasis will be given to researching entrepreneurial phenomena, so learning hands on how research can engage productively with the field. Case method research methods will feature prominently.
Feedback during the teaching period
Presentations of assignments during the course. Feedback from both teachers and other student groups. This fosters a sense of collaborative endeavour in inquiry and delivering knowledge. It also allows students to develop critical skills in considering, summarising and presenting what they consider key or critical in the knowledge they have produced.

Written feedback via email. Both teachers provide feedback in the form of responses to specific questions reagrding the assignments.

Meetings arranged with groups as they produce their reports. This takes the form of meetings in the field over two days where appointments can be booked with both teachers and the meeting occurs real tome as the student is conducting research.

Meetings can also be booked back at CBS to discuss specific points arising in the writing up of the report.

Student workload
Course activities (including preparation) 156 hours
Exam (including exam preparation) 50 hours
Expected literature

Flyvbjerg, B (2001) Making Social Science Matter. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press


Flyvbjerg, B., Landman, T., Schram, S (eds) (2012) Real Social Science. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Schatzki, T (2002) 'Social science in society' Inquiry, 45, 119-138 (critique of Flyvberg)


Charles Spinosa, Fernando Flores, Hubert Dreyfus (1997) 'Disclosing New Worlds', MIT Press


Henri Lefebvre "The Production of Space "(1991) Oxford: Blackwell.

Last updated on 26-06-2017