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2019/2020  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 - Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy (MPP)
Main academic disciplines
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Philosophy and ethics
  • Methodology and philosophy of science
Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face teaching
Last updated on 22-04-2020

Relevant links

Learning objectives
  • Identify and discuss different approaches to what constitutes ‘good’ research in organization and business studies with specific reference to entrepreneurship.
  • Apply and evaluate the theoretical concepts associated with entrepreneurship theory introduced in class.
  • Explore and resolve the tensions involved in applying academic theories to practical experience.
  • Apply and experiment with qualitative methods to inquire after an entrepreneurial form.
  • Reflect on working with one another through empirical study and the use of theoretical concepts.
  • Discuss and analyze empirical findings with concepts in ways that address the problems and passions of those engaged in creating new organizational forms.
Making Social Science Matter:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Size of written product Max. 10 pages
Assignment type Written assignment
Duration Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) Internal examiner and external examiner
Exam period Summer
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

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.

Description of the 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 22-04-2020