AOS240 Research in Social Sciences

Credits (ECTS):5

Course responsible:Frode Alfnes

Campus / Online:Taught campus Ås

Teaching language:Norsk

Course frequency:Annually

Nominal workload:125 hours.

Teaching and exam period:This course starts in Autumn parallel. This course has teaching/evaluation in Autumn parallel, .

About this course

The course is organised around three types of empirical research design used in social science research: explorative design (including interviews and focus groups), descriptive design (including surveys) and causal design (inkluding experiments).

The course covers opportunities and limitations with different research designs, how different research questions results in different method choice, and how the choice and implementation of methods determines which conclusions can be drawn.

Learning outcome

After the students have completed the course, they are expected to have acquired the following knowledge, skills and general competence:


The student shall

- have basic knowledge of various forms of research design used in social science research

- have knowledge of the design and conduct of surveys, interviews, focus groups and experiments in social science research

- have knowledge of probability and non-probability samples

- have knowledge of requirements for causal explanations in social sciences

- have knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of different social science methods

- have knowledge of validity and reliability


The student shall

- be able to evaluate what kind of research design is best suited to different issues

- be able to define research questions and testable hypotheses

- be able to understand and use key concepts related to social science methodology

- be able to create web-based questionnaires of good quality

- be able to assess whether causal explanations satisfy common requirements for causal explanations

General competence:

The student shall

- be able to obtain relevant answers to academic issues, through the use of different forms of social science methods

- be able to carry out data collection for a social science master's thesis using surveys, interviews, focus groups or experiments

- be able to critically assess the performance and results of social sciences research

  • Lectures, group work, supervision, and quizzes.
  • The teacher is available for guidance on the group assignments.
  • Combined assessment: Written examination, 2 hours (counts 50% of the total grade). Group assignment (counts 50% of the total grade). Both assessments must be passed to pass the course. The course has combined assessment, and continous exam is therefore not offered. The group assignment must be completed in the same semester as the exam. Students with an approved group assignment from a previous year must complete group assignment again with a new topic.

  • Grades will be set by internal examiners.
  • Three compulsory quizzes must be passed with 2/3 correct answers in order to complete the course.
  • 2 hours per week with classroom lectures
  • Minimum requirements for entrance to higher education in Norway (generell studiekompetanse)