Interdisciplinary Field Research

Course content

This course gives students an opportunity to prepare, implement and report on field research in interdisciplinary groups. The course emphasizes qualitative and quantitative methods commonly used in the social sciences. Students will experience the difficulties, trade-offs, limitations and possible benefits of applying various methods in real world situations.

The main objective of this course is for students to gain experience of the research process in its entirety: from identifying and formulating a research question; preparing a research design; planning and implementing data collection, analyzing data and writing an academic report. The course gives students the possibility to appreciate how different approaches to data collection affect the findings obtained, and to reflect upon the material gained (or not gained) from the specific methods used. Additionally, an important aim is to create awareness of research ethics.

The course includes preparing a (small scale) research project and two weeks of field research in a context of relevance to themes of global development. With point of departure in a specific field site and logistical setup, students work in groups refining their research design and applying relevant methods in order to collect the data necessary to answer their research questions. Based on the field work, the groups write a report on the findings of their research, which form part of the exam along with an individual essay reflecting on the methods used and empirical findings.

Learning outcome

The learning outcomes of the course relate both to design and implementation of research in a complex and messy field situation and to knowledge and reflection upon social science methods and ethics.

 

Knowledge
• identify, define and justify a set of research questions  
• describe and define central concepts of relevance to social science data collection and interpretation

 

Skills
• design a research plan for field study, incorporating relevant methods 
• collect, process and analyze relevant data during and after fieldwork 
• clearly communicate research findings

 

Competencies
• critically discuss the different kinds of data and forms of knowledge obtained by alternative data collection and analytical methods, including how these methods shape research findings 
• reflect on ethical concerns in relation to empirical research

The course will be undertaken on a full-time basis over 8 weeks. This will involve 3 weeks of preparation with methods training and research preparation, including the formulation of a research design; 2 weeks of field work; and 3 weeks of report writing and a final evaluation. Throughout the course, students work in groups to design, undertake and report on their own piece of field research. Students will receive feedback on their work-in-progress throughout the course in supervision sessions. Before fieldwork students receive feedback on their proposals, during the field trip they receive feedback on their methodological approach, and after field work, they receive feedback on their drafts for their research reports.

ECTS
15 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 20
Written group reports with individual contributions marked out and an individual oral examination. The two parts of the exam (report and oral) are given approximately equal weight in the final mark.
Aid
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assessment

Se learning outcomes

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 40
  • Seminar
  • 20
  • Field Work
  • 100
  • Exam Preparation
  • 120
  • Preparation
  • 120
  • Exam
  • 20
  • English
  • 420