MAMET1F Philosophy of science, ethics and research methods

Course description for academic year 2021/2022

Contents and structure

This is a joint course for master`s programmes offered at the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences at HVL. In this course, students will acquire a thorough understanding of key scientific, philosophical, methodological and ethical issues in health and social sciences. The philosophy of science theory discusses the scientific disciplines` basic assumptions and the types of knowledge that are produced within the various disciplines. Students will acquire insight into qualitative and quantitative methods, and in different quantitative and qualitatively oriented methodologies and research designs. Current issues from their own professional background or other relevant social practices will be themed and discussed to show how different research designs provide different contributions to new knowledge. The course contributes to the development of knowledge in research ethics and ethical issues related to research and work with people.

Learning Outcome

A student who has completed the course should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:

Knowledge: The student...

  • has in-depth knowledge of key philosophy of science traditions and their impact on own professional field
  • has in-depth knowledge of key research ethical issues and concepts relevant to health and social studies
  • has in-depth knowledge of different research methods and designs, including their strengths and weaknesses

Skills: The student...

  • can identify and discuss philosophy of science positions in different types of research
  • can use and evaluate suitable methods of data collection, data analysis and result presentation
  • can analyse and relate critically to the most suitable research designs for different types of research questions

General competence: The student...

  • can critically analyse and reflect over the relationship between the various steps of the research process
  • can analyse and reflect on research ethical issues
  • can analyse and reflect on philosophy of science issues

Teaching methods

The course is online, and requires good internet access and the opportunity to communicate online  synchronously and asynchronously. Learning activities are group work and discussions, individual work, self-study, recorded lectures, quizzes and collaborative learning (peer-reviewing).

The student will receive and submit assignments in Canvas, and s/he will also communicate with both fellow students and teachers via this learning platform. Regular online meetings / video conferences will be held. To attend the meetings, the student needs a microphone, speaker and webcam.

A workload corresponding to 40 hours per week is expected for this full-time study.

Compulsory learning activities

There are six compulsory learning activities, two of which are linked to a qualitative research approach, two to a quantitative research approach and two to philosophy of science. Research ethics is included in all learning activities. The following compulsory learning activities must be approved in order to take the exam:

  1. Study design and selection in qualitative research design. The work consists of a group answer of up to 1200 words and a critical assessment of fellow students' group work
  2. Data collection and analysis in qualitative research design. The work consists of a group answer of up to 1200 words and a critical assessment of fellow students' group work
  3. Study design and selection in quantitative research design. The work consists of a group answer of up to 1200 words and a critical assessment of fellow students' group work
  4. Data collection and analysis in quantitative research design. The work consists of a group answer of up to 1200 words and a critical assessment of fellow students' group work
  5. Rationalism and empiricism. The work consists of a group answer of up to 1200 words and a critical assessment of fellow students' group work
  6. Phenomenology and hermeneutics. The work consists of a group answer of up to 1200 words and a critical assessment of fellow students' group work

Learning activities 1 and 2 build on each other, and tasks 3 and 4 build on each other.

Fulfilled course requirements are valid for four subsequent semesters. 

Assessment

A written, individual term paper, 3500 words +/- 10%

Grading scale The grading scale used is A to F. Grade A is the highest passing grade in the grading scale, grade F is a fail.

New exam

If not passed, the student delivers a revised, written assignment to the new exam.