Core Course 4: 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; 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

This course is offered to MDMa full programme students only. 

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.


This course consists of a variety of teaching/learning methods (blended learning) ranging from class-based lectures, journal clubs, group work and student led presentations as well as individual preparation and study time. All in-class sessions are moderated by faculty staff members. Students are expected to contribute actively through oral and written presentations as well as constructive feedback to colleagues during sessions.

The teaching/learning methods could be listed as follows:
• Lectures - Imparting knowledge, concepts, theories and models
• Journal clubs – discussion of relevant papers with emphasis on analytical skills and knowledge gain
• Group work – guided with a set of questions or an (software) exercise based on specific case
• Presentations – of group or individual student assignments

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)

Written exam feedback is given in the case of the grade, FAIL.

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Type of assessment details
Course Assignment (5 page Synopsis)
A synopsis is a brief outline of the student's proposed thesis.
The required length of the synopsis is 5 pages, excluding the cover page and reference list (1 page = approximately 2,400 keystrokes, font size 12 pt. line space 1.5).
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
  • Lectures
  • 42
  • Class Instruction
  • 16
  • Preparation
  • 103
  • Exercises
  • 31
  • Exam
  • 16
  • English
  • 208


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Part Time Master
Full Degree Master
4 weeks

Fees are published on the course page:

The fees cover course registration, course materials, and examination. Fees may be subject to change. 

1 week in November (13-17 Nov 2023) and
3 weeks in January (8-26 Jan 2024)
12-35 participants
Study Board for the Professionel Master´s Degree Programmes at The Faculty og Health and Medical Science
Contracting department
  • Department of Public Health
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
Course Coordinators
  • Bishal Gyawali   (9-676e6c7e667c66716e45787a736933707a336970)
  • Anne Bach Nielsen   (17-6e7b7b723b6f6e70753b7b76727980727b4d80827b713b78823b7178)
Saved on the 27-04-2023

Are you BA- or KA-student?

Are you bachelor- or kandidat-student, then find the course in the course catalog for students:

Courseinformation of students