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2022/2023  BA-BPOLO1283U  Research Design and Qualitative Methods

English Title
Research Design and Qualitative Methods

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Mandatory (also offered as elective)
Level Bachelor
Duration One Semester
Start time of the course Spring
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Study board
Study Board for BSc/MSc i International Business and Politics, BSc
Course coordinator
  • Ayca Uygur Wessel - Department of International Economics, Goverment and Business (EGB)
Main academic disciplines
  • Methodology and philosophy of science
Teaching methods
  • Blended learning
Last updated on 24-06-2022

Relevant links

Learning objectives
  • Comprehend, identify and evaluate the basic concepts, terms, and positions around issues of ontology and epistemology.
  • Assess the strengths and limitations of different qualitative methods when applied to a given research problem.
  • Apply qualitative methods to a research problem and account for the relationship between theory, method, data collection, and analysis by producing a research design that is able to link a research question to qualitative methods and empirical data.
  • Demonstrate applied skills and apply methodologically informed analyses to a research question in the field of international business and politics.
  • Critically reflect on how to analyze and report qualitative research and assess its validity and reliability.
Prerequisites for registering for the exam (activities during the teaching period)
Number of compulsory activities which must be approved (see section 13 of the Programme Regulations): 1
Compulsory home assignments
The mandatory assignment is a maximum 3 page 48-hour take-home set assignment. The mandatory assignment must be approved if the students is to participate in the final exam.

There will be an opportunity for feedback on the mandatory assignment.

If the mandatory assignment is not approved or there has been documented illness a second assignment (3 page, 48 hours) will be offered before the ordinary final exam takes place.

Please note that to submit the retake mandatory assignments it is a precondition that the student has made a valid attempt in the set activities, unless it can be documented that the lack of submission/participation was caused by illness or similar circumstances.

More information on prerequisites for participating in the exam: compulsory activities can be found in the BSc IBP Programme Regulations §13.1-5.
Research Design and Qualitative Methods:
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, see also the rules about examination forms in the programme regulations.
Individual or group exam Individual oral exam based on written group product
Number of people in the group 2-5
Size of written product Max. 15 pages
2-3 students max. 10 pages
4-5 students max. 15 pages
Assignment type Project
Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
20 min. per student, including examiners' discussion of grade, and informing plus explaining the grade
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) Internal examiner and external examiner
Exam period Spring
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Re-exam when the ordinary exam is failed is an individual oral exam (20 minutes per student) based on the original report and 3 standard page supplement. The report must also be resubmitted.
If you have not handed in a project in the first exam try, you must hand in a full report plus the additional 3 pages.

Make-up exam when ill with Doctor's certificate at the ordinary exam is an individual oral exam (20 minutes per student) based on the original report. The report must also be resubmitted.

Make-up exam when ill with Doctor's certificate during the writing of the project is the same as the ordinary exam.
Description of the exam procedure

The written group report is based on the supervised mini-research project, which will be conducted during the course. The individual oral exam takes departure from the group report but extends to the curriculum of the course as a whole.

Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

The objective of this course is to provide students with an understanding of how to formulate, conduct, analyze and report qualitative research in the social sciences. The course further discusses how to assess the quality of research and how to approach ethical questions concerning qualitative research.


There are three main components to the course:


1. Philoshophy of science section introduces the students to the most essential key concepts and positions in philosophy of science and strengthens their epistemological and ontological awareness.


2. Research design section helps the students understand the link between research questions, theoretical direction and empirical material, by focusing on cross-sectional, temporal, single and multiple case study designs.


3. Data collection and analysis section develops key skills in the collection and analysis of qualitative data by covering diverse techniques, such as qualitative interviewing, focus groups, text/document analysis and observation.


The course uses blended learning in order to maximize opportunities for both flexible learning and classroom interaction. Whereas the online elements of the course are directed towards content, much of the interactive elements incorporate the direct classroom application of skills, especially with regard to qualitative data collection and analysis. In line with the Nordic Nine principles, the course seeks to substantially develop learners' curiosity and analytic skills when working with different forms of qualitative data.


Nordic Nine 2: "You are analytical with data and curious about ambiguity". Given the requirements from the Ministry on basic philosophy of science content there will also need to an objective that student comprehend the basic concepts, terms, and positions around issues of ontology and epistemology. Given the emphasis on research design the students would be required to produce a research design that is able to link a research question to qualitative methods and empirical data.

Description of the teaching methods
The course is based on 4 components:

• Pre-recorded lectures that introduce the basic content and core concepts
• Interactive lectures that allow for plenary discussion
• Exercise classes that focus on application of research design techniques and qualitative research methods
• Supervised group work that involves designing qualitative research and collecting and analyzing data in a mini-research project
• A workshop, in which students present the results of their projects and receive thorough feedback

The course requires active participation, this means in particular that we expect students to do the readings before the lectures, attend and actively participate in the lectures and show a high degree of willingness to engage in empirical group work.

The course is structured so that lectures and exercises do not overlap with the supervised group project.
Feedback during the teaching period
The course seeks to secure continuous feedback in the following ways:

Feedback on design, data collection and analysis: This type of feedback is first given during the exercise classes. In each exercise class, the instructor hands out a task which involves the direct in-class application of a particular method that has been taught during the preceding lectures, such as interviewing, content and discourse analysis and observation. The students use the Canvas platform to upload and get instant feedback on their work from exercise class teachers and peers.

Feedback on mandatory assignment: We offer individual or group feedback following the marking period.

Supervision of mini-research projects: Two rounds of group supervision is offered before the written report for the final exam is due. During both rounds, supervisors provide oral feedback on research topic/question, research design, methods of data collection and analytical strategies in dialogue form.

Workshop: Each research team participates in a workshop where they upload and make a short presentation of their research and receive extensive feedback from their lecturers/supervisors and peers. The structure of the workshops simulates a ‘research seminar’ with established time slots, where each group acts as a presenter and discussant and the supervisors offer their final comments with room for a plenary discussion at the end.

Oral component of the final exam: At the end of the oral exam, the students are given an individual grade as well as the individual reasoning for that grade. This type of feedback includes information on where their research succeeded the most and where there is room for improvement.
Student workload
Preparation time (readings, group work etc.) 102 hours
Lectures / class exercises / “homework cafés” / workshops etc. 44 hours
Exam (incl. preparation for the exam and actual exam period) 70 hours
Expected literature

There is one main text book that will be used during the course:


  • Tom ClarkLiam FosterLuke Sloan, and Alan Bryman (2021), Bryman's Social Research Methods, Oxford University Press


The textbook is supplemented by other mandatory and further reading material. A comprehensive reading list can be found in the course plan that will be published on CANVAS at the start of the semester.

Last updated on 24-06-2022