Jump to content

PHDH903 Research design and methods

Course description for academic year 2022/2023

Contents and structure

The course provides an in-depth understanding of the epistemological basis for qualitative and quantitative methods, and how the methods are relevant to research in the health sciences. Challenges related to interdisciplinary and interdisciplinary research will be emphasized; qualitative and quantitative methods (mixed methods) will be presentet and discussed.

Key research designs with different methodological approaches and combinations of these (triangulation) are reviewed, including methods for data collection / production and analysis. Common qualitative, statistical and epidemiological methods of analysis are related to central research designs. The role of the researcher and issues that affect the quality of research are also discussed in the course; in the qualitative methodological approach the course focuses on credibility, validity and transferability, while research quality in quantitative methodology focuses on validity, reliability and generalizability.

Learning Outcome

After completing the course, the student will have the following total learning outcome:

Knowledge: The student ...

  • Has extensive knowledge of cross-scientific research design and methods
  • Has a good understanding of how various research designs and methods can contribute to a better understanding of examined phenomena, and how the role of the researcher influences this
  • Can apply and assess the appropriateness of qualitative and quantitative research design and research methods and research design which uses a kombination of qualitative and quantitative metods (mixed methods)

Skills: The student ...

  • Can formulate research issues, issues and hypotheses which can be used in research
  • Can justify the choice of research design and methods
  • Can use a variety of research design and methods
  • Knows how to critically consider strengnths and weakneses / shortcommings related to research design and methods

General competence: The student ...

  • Has the expertise to analyze specific challenges related to health, function and participation by using cross-scientific research approaches
  • Can critically consider the design of researcher rolls and methodological choices in research projects and publications
  • Can develop good strategies for own research projects

Entry requirements

Master's degree with 120 ECTS credits or equivalent in relevant academic fields.

Number of participants: The course requires a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 20 participants. Furthermore, the number of PhD students participating must be 50% or more of the total number of participants.

Recommended previous knowledge

Knowledge in scientific theory and ethics, equivalent of the MAMET500 course at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, is recommended. 

Teaching methods

The course combines seminars and online working methods. Work methods include lectures, teamwork and guidance. Part of the learning resources, including instructional videos and exercises, will be conducted online. A digital learning platform is used in the course.

The exam starts at the same time as the course. Each student bases themselves on their own PhD project and writes an essay about a) the research design chosen for their project, as well as b) an alternative research design which could have been used in the project. The essay shall be developed throughout the course, and presented to fellow stuendets and teachers in a seminar during the last day of the course. Fellow students and teachers give feedback on the content of each presentation. 

The final essay will be handed in 14 days after the last seminar.

see the dates for the course on our PhD programme's webpages

Compulsory learning activities



Task In the form of an essay on research design and methods that are relevant for the student's PhD project. The written paper must be a maximum of 3500-4000 words, reference list excluded.

Grading Pass / fail

If failing to pass, a second exam date allows for an improved version of the essay to be handed in.

Examination support material

Not applicable

More about examination support material