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2022/2023  KAN-CSIEO2024U  Making Social Science Matter

English Title
Making Social Science Matter

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Mandatory (also offered as elective)
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
  • Claus Springborg - Department of Business Humanities and Law
Main academic disciplines
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Philosophy and ethics
  • Methodology and philosophy of science
Teaching methods
  • Blended learning
Last updated on 20-02-2023

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 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 Oral group exam based on written group product
Number of people in the group 2-5
Size of written product Max. 25 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
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
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: 30 min

3 persons group: 45 min

4-5 persons group: 60 min

Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

Course content and structure

This course is opens with a reading of the book Making Social Science Matter by Bent Flyvbjerg, specifically his call to immerse social science research in the experiences of people in everyday life. Rather than let theoru dmonate, it is there to serve an empirical understanding.


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.


In this spirit the course introduces Bruno Latour's distinction between matters of fact and matters of concern.


The course focuses on a single framing, the case study, undertaken using  qualitative methods.


In the spirit of getting close to everyday life, emphasis is placed on those methodologies and approaches that allow for an immersive, if still critical understanding.


As befits the OIE programme, the everyday life of concern is that of entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation.


Shifting from the standard focus of social science which presumes to discover what is 'out there', this course looks at knowledge as an accomplishment realized in the performance of research itself: in other words the researcher creates meaning as they go along.


Part of the course will involve students working on their own research of entrepreneurial ventures.


The course introduces students to different immersive ways in which case study work can be undertaken. Specifially, it covers:


- variants of affect theory, as emboided for example in the work of Kathleen Stewart.


- spatial analysis (notably the work of Henri Lefebvre and Dorren Massey)


- using visuals and visual analysis


- temporality


The methods discussed reflect the entrepreneurial and creative nature of the OIE programme.




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)


Gregg and Seigworth. The Affect Theory Reader. Duke University Press. 2010


Lauren Berlant and Kathleen Stewart. The Hundreds. Duke University Press.


Doreen Massey. For Space. London: Sage. 2005.


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


Johnsen R, Berg Johansen C, Toyoki S. Serving time: Organization and the affective dimension of time. Organization. 2019;26(1):3-19. doi:10.1177/1350508418763997


Beyes, T. and Holt, R. (2020). The topographical imagination: Space and Organization Theory. Organization Theory.   https:/​/​doi.org/​10.1177/​2631787720913880


Clarke, J. and Holt, R. (2019) Images of entrepreneurship: Using drawing to explore entrepreneurial experience. Journal of Business Venturing Insights. 11. https:/​/​doi.org/​10.1016/​j.jbvi.2019.e00129



Last updated on 20-02-2023