Course code SDP415

SDP415 Vitenskapsteori i studier av miljø, samfunnsutvikling og planlegging

English course information

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Viser emneinfo for studieåret 2022 - 2023.

Emneansvarlige: Matthew Asa Cashmore
Medvirkende: Rani Lill Anjum, Timothy Kevin Richardson
Studiepoeng: 5
Ansvarlig fakultet: Fakultet for landskap og samfunn
Frekvens: Årlig. Kansellert høst 2022.
Undervises på språk: EN
(NO=norsk, EN=Engelsk)
Begrensning antall plasser:
Undervises i periode:
Emnet starter i høstparallellen, 21 -25 november
Første gang: Studieår 2018-2019
Siste gang: 2022H
Fortrinnsrett: PhD-studenter som hører til Fakultet for landskap og samfunn.
Undervises hvor?: Campus Ås
Emnets innhold:

How does your philosophical orientation affect your research? And how can an understanding of philosophy of science improve your research? This introductory course helps PhD candidates answer these questions.

During the course we explore a number of philosophical perspectives on science - that is, systems of generalised views of the world that guide action - and consider how they influence scientific practices. Through this examination, we address questions of ontology, epistemology and ethics, but in an applied manner by questioning how philosophy affects interpretations of the purpose(s) of research, research design, methodology and methods. We also address the topic of interdisciplinary research practices as a foundation of many contemporary scientific endeavours.

The precise philosophical positions that are covered in the course are partly determined based on the background and academic interests of the enrolled PhD candidates. In previous years, they have included perspectives from critical realism, critical theory, post-structuralism, constructivism and interpretivism.

The course ends with a poster workshop through which we seek to further clarify and debate our individual philosophical beliefs and their consequences for what you deem to constitute ‘good’ science in your PhD research.


The principal learning outcomes that you will realise through this course are as follows:

  • Recognise points of difference and intersections between philosophical perspectives
  • Understand what is deemed worthwhile and ‘good’ science under different philosophical perspectives
  • Identify the philosophical values guiding your own and others scientific inquiries
  • Appraise the philosophical basis for research design decisions that we make and how they affect research outcomes
The course will involve lectures/presentations, seminar activities, small and full group discussions, a poster workshop, and self-guided study.

A detailed reading list that includes literature on the particular philosophical perspective that we will cover in the course will be supplied to you prior to the start of the course. There are two introductory references that should be read before attending the course:

  • Moon, K. & Blackman, D. (2014) A guide to understanding social science research for natural scientists. Conservation Biology, 28 (5), 1167-1177,
  • Chapter 2 in Bryman, A. (2016) Social research methods (fifth edition). Oxford University Press, Oxford. 

Two textbooks that cover this subject which I recommend are:

  • Howell, K. E. (2013) An introduction to the philosophy of methodology. Sage, London.
  • Blaikie, N. & Priest, J. (2017) Social research: paradigms in action. Polity Press, Cambridge.

There are also some useful online resources available. The following informal lecture provides a highly watchable introduction to the subject:

Forutsatte forkunnskaper:
Masterutdanning i planlegging, landskapsarkitektur, arealforvaltning, folkehelsevitenskap eller annet relevant fag. Kurset må inngå som del av et godkjent eksisternde PhD program.
Anbefalte forkunnskaper:
Obligatorisk aktivitet:
Innsending av paper, deltakelse på minimum 80 % av seminarene
Combined assessment: In order to pass the course, you must have attended and participated actively in at least 80% of the taught sessions, including the final poster workshop; presented a poster summarising your philosophical orientation; and, submitted, and had approved by the course leader, a paper of 2000-3000 words. The paper will explore the philosophical orientation that you envisage, or are, applying in your PhD research.
Normert arbeidsmengde:
Five full days of workshops including lectures, seminars, discussions (35 hrs). In addition, 90 hrs of preparation, reading and independent work.
Deltagene skal ha opptak på et PhD program
35 timer
Eksamensdetaljer: :