Research Methodology and Ethics, Master of Disaster Management

Course content

The course introduces the principal study designs, methodological approaches and ethical considerations in disaster research; with a focus on research development.

Specifically, the course covers:

  • Critical literature review for identification of relevant knowledge gaps, research problems and questions.
  • Quantitative methods for primary and secondary data collection - including definition of outcomes and variables; target population; sampling; sample size calculation; and questionnaire design. Central issues on data management, validation, and analyses using statistical software (e.g. SPSS) are also covered.
  • Qualitative methods for primary data collection including focus group discussions; key informant interviews; and participant observation. Data management validation and analyses including field note analyses are also covered.
  • Mixed methods approaches in terms of the rationale for use, common procedures, and limitations.
  • Basic principles and statutes on research ethics focusing on the specific challenges within disaster research.

Master of Disaster Management - compulsory

Learning outcome

On completion of the course, students should be able to:


  • Critically appraise relevant scientific research methodologies and their application in disaster management.



  • Retrieve and critically review scientific literature and information from peer-reviewed and grey literature sources.
  • Identify research problems and formulate relevant research questions within the field of disaster management and define and delimit study objectives.
  • Choose study designs and identify appropriate methods for data collection and analysis.
  • Discuss possible ethical considerations and limitations.
  • Critically interpret and discuss research findings in relation to existing evidence within the field.



  • Formulate a consistent and clear synopsis in preparation for a small-scale research project.
  • Communicate research findings according to the IMRAD structure for scientific literature.


The course is a blended learning course with an initial two-week face-to-face component and a concluding one-week e-learning module. Learning activities will include a combination of interactive lectures, think-pair-share exercises, individual and group work on case studies, and plenary discussions. The e-learning module will make use of WIKIs for team assignments, Adobe Presenter sessions, online discussion forums and quizzes.

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Course Assignment (5-page Synopsis)
All aids allowed
Marking scale
passed/not passed
Censorship form
No external censorship
One internal examiner
Criteria for exam assessment


To achieve the grade, PASSED, the student must be able to:


  • Identify and critically evaluate the relevance and validity of scientific literature and data within the field of disaster management.



  • Describe relevant research problems and formulate specific research questions and objectives to be addressed within the framework of a master thesis research project.
  • Determine appropriate study designs and critically discuss relevant quantitative and/or qualitative data collection and analysis methods that align with these designs.



  • Apply knowledge of general concepts for ensuring good academic and research practice including the key concept in research ethics.
  • Synthesise all of the above into a consistent synopsis adhering to the conventional structures for scientific literature.

Part time Master and Diploma courses

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 27
  • Class Exercises
  • 42
  • Exam
  • 16
  • Preparation
  • 123
  • English
  • 208