Course code SDP405

SDP405 Framing the PhD

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Showing course contents for the educational year starting in 2019 .

Course responsible: Timothy Kevin Richardson
ECTS credits: 5
Faculty: Faculty of Landscape and Society
Teaching language: EN
(NO=norsk, EN=Engelsk)
Limits of class size:
Teaching exam periods:
The course is run in the Autumn block and in 2019 will be held on 25th-26th September, and 28th-30th October.
Course frequency: Annually, in the autumn semester
First time: 2018H
Preferential right:
PhD candidates enrolled at the Faculty of Landscape and Society
Course contents:

Intended audience: The course is aimed at first year PhD candidates in the Faculty of Landscape and Society.

Course description: This is a course in research design, which is the meta-design of a research project. The starting point for this course is the participant´s own research proposal. The aim of the course is to give participants a solid background for developing a research design for their PhD research. During the course, participants will rework and improve their research proposals. We will work with all parts of research design, with a significant emphasis on identification of research problems and questions, and the implications for research design. The contact part of the course is organised in two blocks during the autumn semester, five full days in total, plus an individual tutorial. The workshops will be used to discuss different aspects of research design. Experienced researchers from across the faculty will give presentations on how they have handled particular challenges in research design. PhD candidates who are further on with their research will also contribute. One part of the course will concern research ethics. The output of the course will be a revised PhD research proposal, accompanied by a reflective paper.

Learning outcome:
The aim of the course is to develop a thorough understanding of research design. Participants should be familiar with different challenges for research design, and the strengths and weaknesses of alternative research designs. The student should have a good idea of what constitutes quality in research design, and be aware of different kinds of ethical challenges arising in research, and ways of handling them. 
Learning activities:
The course will be based on an interactive workshop format, with lectures, full group and small group discussions and exercises. We will also work with partners and self-study.
Teaching support:
Teacher-led seminars. Workshop based supervision and feedback from teachers and fellow students. Individual tutorials will take place between the two course blocks. 

The course reading is selected to cover different research designs that will be useful for the PhD candidates that attend the course. It will cover research strategies that fit well with different theory of science approaches, as well as different kinds of methodology.

Key text: Farthing, S. (2016) Research design in urban planning: a student`s guide. London: Sage.

Indicative reading:

Biggs, M. & Karlsson, H. (2011). The Routledge companion to research in the arts. London: Routledge.

Blakie, N. (2000) Designing social research. Cambridge: Polity Press.  

Creswell, J.W. (2009) Research design: qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods approaches. London: Sage. (chapter 6: The purpose statement).   

Deming, M.E. and Swaffield, S. (2011) Landscape architecture research: inquiry, strategy, design. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley and sons. 

Edmonds, W.A., Kennedy, T.D. (2016) An Applied Guide to Research Designs: Quantitative, Qualitative, and Mixed Methods. London: Sage.

Flyvbjerg, B. (2001) Making social science matter: why social inquiry fails and how it can succeed again. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.  

Goodson, P. (2013) Becoming an academic writer: 50 exercises for paced, productive and powerful writing, London: Sage.

Maggetti, M., Gilardi, F. & Radaelli, C.M. (2013) Designing Research in the Social Sciences. Sage.  della Porta, D. and Keating, M. (eds.) (2008) Approaches and methodologies in the social sciences: a pluralist perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

O`Leary, Z. (2006) Researching Real-World Problems: A Guide to Methods of Inquiry. London: Sage.

Muratovksi, G. (2016) Research for designers: a guide to methods and practice. London: Sage. 

Reason, P. and Bradbury, H. (eds.) (2008)The Sage Handbook of Action Research: Participative Inquiry and Practice. London: Sage.

Enrolled as PhD candidate
Recommended prerequisites:

Participants must submit the current version of their PhD research proposal (preferably in English) at least one week before the course starts. The proposal should include an abstract. 

Preparatory reading: Participants should read all abstracts submitted to the course. They could also have made themselves familiar with the content of the reading list.

Participants will also be allocated project descriptions to analyse and give feedback to fellow participants, as critical friends.

Mandatory activity:
70% attendance, including participation in individual and group exercises, and giving feedback to others.

The assessment is based on:

1. Active participation in the course sessions

2. A research project proposal submitted after the end of the course

3. A reflective report of up to 1000 words on how the candidate has improved their research design during the course

Submission dates for parts 2 and 3: 13th December 2019.

Nominal workload:
Five full days of workshops including lectures, seminars, discussions (33 hrs). One tutorial (2 hours). In addition, 115 hrs of preparation, reading and independent work.
Entrance requirements:
Participants must be part of a PhD programme
Reduction of credits:
Complete overlap with ILP405
Type of course:

Five full days of lectures, seminars, discussions, plus an individual tutorial (35 hrs).

Indicative programme for workshop days

Theme 1: We get to know each other. Participants´ backgrounds, projects and goals for the PhD will be shared and discussed. Short presentations by students, exercises and inspiration.

Theme 2: Research questions. How do we develop good research questions (and related framing of scientific problems) and research aims?

Theme 3: Research designs by experienced researchers. Several researchers will come and talk about different aspects of research design, in relation to their own research projects. There will be room for discussions in plenary.

Theme 4: Presentations by students. All students present their own research designs. We assign discussants, and discuss them in depth.

Theme 5: Ask a PhD student. Several experienced PhD students present the main challenges in their research design, and how they have solved them. Plenary discussions.

Theme 6: Research ethics. Lecture(s) on research ethics  followed by an open discussion in the group. exercise on ethical challenges particular to participants' research designs. Exercises in smaller groups and well as plenary discussion.

Longitudinal work: During the semester, the participants are expected to work on their PhD research designs.

The external censor will read and assess all the submitted coursework.
Examination details: Continuous exam: Bestått / Ikke bestått