CANCELLED 2019/20: Qualitative Methods

Course content

The knowledge and skills acquired through this course are applicable for academic work at all levels including report writing and thesis work. It is a good choice for students interested in research design, methods, and methodology. It is also a good choice for students who are interested in working with people, projects, and development.  


Examples are drawn mainly from natural resource management and agricultural development in tropical countries.

The course provides general skills in qualitative methods with a view to get the full benefit of thematic courses, report writing, thesis work and post-graduate careers. 
Specifically, the students will acquire knowledge in the following fields:
- Introduction to theory of science and different kinds of knowledge (very basic)
-Knowledge on available qualitative methods. Some knowledge about quantitative methods and mixed methods. Understanding pros and cons of each method and of combining them
- When and how to apply selected techniques for data collection (including interviews, questionnaires, participatory appraisals; participatory observation);
- How to plan for data collection
- how to ensure the quality of qualitative data
- how to analyse qualitative data

The students will, among other things, obtain knowledge on:
- Research processes and design
- Planning and conducting data collection/fieldwork
- Qualitative data collection methods
- Quantitative data collection methods (small scale questionnaire surveys)  
- Data quality
- Some of the approaches to qualitative data analysis.


MSc Programme in Environment and Development
MSc Programme in Sustainable Development in Agriculture (Agris Mundus)

Learning outcome

The main aim of the course is for the students to obtain essential skills in relation to conducting qualitative research, including in tropical countries. The students will demonstrate that they have obtained these skills through their contributions to group project reports and through the oral exams.

The objective is that, at the end of the course, the students can demonstrate that they

1.Can describe the research methods, theoretical aspects of these methods, and other aspects of data collection, which have been introduced during the course, readings, and classes

2. Can formulate a research question and/or a research problem, and can define and make the key concepts operational for an empirical enquiry in the field.
3. Can identify and choose research methods suitable for answering a particular research question/problem given a particular empirical context
4. Can argue convincingly for their choice of methods referring to theory as well as to the given empirical context.
5. Can apply the research methods and concepts introduced in the course
6. Can analyse data and draw conclusions in relation to a given research question/problem and reflect critically on own choice of methods and quality of data.

7. Through the project work, the students will demonstrate that they can work in a team under time pressure

Lectures, group project with practical exercises, case descriptions, theoretical exercises

Useful as introduction: Mikkelsen,B. 2005. Methods for Development Work and Research. A New Guide for Practitioners, SAGE

This course is open to all students who want to improve their skills, competences and knowledge about qualitative data collection methods in agricultural development and natural resource management. Examples will often be taken from a tropical country context, but you can benefit from the course also if you have other interests.

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.

The course is identical to LFKK10258U Qualitative Methods in Agricultural Development.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 20 minutes
The exam will include a discussion of the project report (exam registration requirements) and questions that relate to the rest of the curriculum. No time for preparation.

The 20 minutes of examination include assessment.

Weight: Oral exam counts for 100% of final mark.
Only certain aids allowed

The student can bring max one A4 page of loosely written notes prepared at home. 

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Internal examiners
Criteria for exam assessment

To obtain the grade 12 the student must fullfil the Learning outcome

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Exam
  • 1
  • Preparation
  • 70
  • Lectures
  • 22
  • Project work
  • 100
  • Theory exercises
  • 10
  • Guidance
  • 3
  • English
  • 206