Knowledge Production and Evaluation

Course content

The course introduces students to core discussions within the sociology of knowledge and expertise and equips them with the tools needed to analyse and assess complex risks. A central goal of the course is to familiarise students with the fundamental issues of knowledge production and expertise and how to evaluate quantitative and qualitative knowledge in specific issue areas. The course also gives students the tools to subsequently evaluate the performance of actors and agencies dealing with these complex and compound problems. It trains the students’ ability to estimate the validity and reliability of knowledge-based interventions into a concrete political field.


Major social scientific traditions and their implications for practical, political and analytical choices are discussed, with a special focus on complex controversies concerning risk and security issues. This will provide an overview of the usage, application and evaluation of different methodologies implied in the use of theories and choices of method. Lastly, the course introduces students to the newest research software, providing the tools for processing of larger sets of data.


Altogether, the course consists of 3 main components:

1. Social science ontology, epistemology and methodology with a specific focus on formulating and using models in risk analysis and strategy-making.

2. Evaluation and processing of quantitative and qualitative data.

3. An exercise: in this exercise, students are tasked with communicating findings in the relevant way in the relevant setting, as well as showing the ability to evaluate knowledge interventions and reflect upon their political and strategic impact. Based on a case about a security or risk-related problem, the students will be tasked with presenting acquired knowledge with a focus on methods and presentation. This will require the students to present a problem-set in the form of a memo to a superior. Secondly, students should present the problem-set in the form of an opinion editorial. 


Security Risk Management
Only open for students from MSc in Security Risk Management

Learning outcome


Students will be familiarised with the fundamental issues of knowledge production. They will be able to identify, describe, examine, tabulate and interpret knowledge using different methodological and analytical strategies. They will moreover know what it means to make a reliable, valid, precise and relevant assessment and evaluation.



Students will be able to classify, compare and modify different elements in the research process, evaluate methodologies and analytical results, as well as identify and track connections between different methodologies and their implicit possible consequences for data processing and analytical results. Furthermore, students will be able to apply and demonstrate their acquired knowledge in an application process, writing different types of output relevant for risk assessment and strategy formulation, including memos and policy-recommendations.



Students will be able to discover, process and innovate knowledge and strategies for the management of complex threat environments. They will know how to work as evaluators under changing conditions, thus being able to decide, select and recommend possible interventions. They will, lastly, be able to explain and support their conclusions using scientific argumentation. 

The course is a combination of classroom lectures, guest lectures by practitioners and ongoing discussions with students. The course includes an exercise based on a real-life working situation and focusing on communicating findings. Students must present a problem-set in the form of a memo to a superior and an opinion editorial.

Course literature is a syllabus of 900 pages set by the lecturer and approved by the Board of Studies. If the syllabus includes literature that has been read previously during another course, the student must list additional literature in a supplementary literature list so that, in total, 900 pages of new literature are specified. The student must sign a solemn declaration of compliance with the rule about supplementary literature. 

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
The exam is a written portfolio exam in the form of a written assignment based on a set of questions. In the middle of the semester, students are presented with a set of qualitative and quantitative data and a set of problems that must be answered including the use of the dataset.
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Criteria for exam assessment

Criteria for achieving the goals:

  • Grade 12 is given for an outstanding performance: the student lives up to the course's goal description in an independent and convincing manner with no or few and minor shortcomings
  • Grade 7 is given for a good performance: the student is confidently able to live up to the goal description, albeit with several shortcomings
  • Grade 02 is given for an adequate performance: the minimum acceptable performance in which the student is only able to live up to the goal description in an insecure and incomplete manner
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • Preparation
  • 168
  • Exam
  • 79
  • English
  • 275


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 semester


Read morer here -> Uddannelser -> Åbent Universitet

Study Board for Security Risk Management
Contracting department
  • Department of Political Science
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Social Sciences
Course Coordinator
  • Ben Rosamond   (2-70804e7774813c79833c7279)

Jonathan Luke Austin

Saved on the 18-05-2021

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