Course code EDS115

EDS115 Introduction to Research Methods

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Showing course contents for the educational year 2019 - 2020 .

Course responsible: Elisabeth Molteberg
Teachers: Lars Kåre Grimsby, Ian Bryceson, Esben Leifsen
ECTS credits: 10
Faculty: Faculty of Landscape and Society
Teaching language: EN
(NO=norsk, EN=Engelsk)
Limits of class size:
Teaching exam periods:
This course starts in Autumn parallel. This course has teaching/evaluation in Autumn parallel.
Course frequency: Annually
First time: Study year 2006-2007
Preferential right:
Students of B-IEDS.
Course contents:
The course provides a presentation of qualitative and quantitative research strategies and methods relevant to the bachelor program. The aim is to turn the student into a more competent academic by strengthening their understanding of what knowledge is, and how it is generated, and how to apply this understanding to their studies and academic practice in general. We cover qualitative and quantitative sampling, data collection and management, analysis, and reporting results. The philosophical underpinnings of research are discussed, with attention to interdisciplinarity and research ethics. Secondary source use and reference management are also covered. Topics addressed concerning statistics include understanding basic statistics, statistical inquiry, collecting and managing data, sampling, descriptive statistics. This is an introductory course, which does not require a background in mathematics, statistics, or research methods extending beyond general knowledge.
Learning outcome:

The course is built around carrying out a small research project. Through practical experience, discussions, and course readings, students are introduced to qualitative and quantitative research strategies, at all stages of a research process from topic identification to reporting.

Knowledge, competence: The student has a good understanding, with reference to the field of environment and development, of

  • the characteristics of quantitative and qualitative research questions and design, and the similarities and differences in the logic underpinning these strategies
  • the possibilities and limitations of different qualitative and quantitative methods of sampling, data collection, and analysis
  • the quality criteria of qualitative and quantitative research, and how they are linked to good research practices
  • methodological issues related to interdisciplinarity and mixed-strategy research
  • ethical considerations and challenges related to research involving humans

The student is able to reflect on their handling of and engaging with both academic and general information.

Skills: The student is able to

  • formulate a research question and hypothesis on a given topic
  • design and carry out a basic qualitative and quantitative study, selecting suitable methods and justifying choices made
  • find, review and incorporate relevant literature into the study
  • critically reflect on ethical and quality issues related to own and others' studies

The student has capacity for critical reading and interpretation of texts, assessing claims, data and research results.

Learning activities:
The course is oriented towards practice. Course contents are conveyed through lectures combined with group and individual assignment work, with a strong emphasis on discussion and exercises.
Teaching support:
A lot of time is set aside for teacher contact and guidance during classes. Information and other communication through Canvas or e-mail. Appointments for additional teacher contact can be made if needed.
The list of course readings will be made available on Canvas by the start of the course.
Recommended prerequisites:
Mandatory activity:
Mandatory hand-ins/presentations. Attendance is required for 2/3 of classes.
The course grade is based on individual assignments (50% of grade) and final written exam (50%). The exam is divided into a qualitative and a quantitative part, a passing grade must be achieved in both parts  in order to pass the exam. All written assignments, including the exam, are given and submitted in ENGLISH ONLY. Approval of all mandatory group and individual activities is a prerequisite to receiving a course grade. The course grade is released only to students who have handed in their signed plagiarism forms to Noragric (normally done during program introduction course).
Nominal workload:
The total workload for the students is 300 hours.
Entrance requirements:
Minimum requirements for entrance to higher education in Norway (generell studiekompetanse)
Type of course:
48 hours of lectures including student assignment work - two double lectures per week spread over 12 weeks. In addition, a double datalab per week during about half of teaching weeks.
External examiner will be involved in formulation/evaluation of exam assignments.
Allowed examination aids: B1 Calculator handed out, no other aids
Examination details: Continuous exam: A - E / F