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PHD903 Research methodology and design

Course description for academic year 2022/2023

Contents and structure

The course constitutes part of the PhD programme's core courses in research methodology- and design. It will provide an introduction to research methodology at a general level - exemplified through selected quantitative and qualitative research designs. The course will scrutinise features of selected qualitative and quantitative methods and their theoretical foundations and premises. It focuses on the connections between education and didactic practices that different research strategies represent. The course exemplifies and provides experiences in how different analytical approaches create different insights. There is also a seminar in which research strategies are related to the students' own projects.

The course provides an introduction to a range of research methods and strategies such as qualitative interviews, hermeneutic text analysis and statistical analysis. The contributions that quantitative and qualitative approaches are able to have within studies of education and didactic practices are also discussed. This involves viewing the choice of methodology within a historical and cultural research context, and reflecting on, and making connections between, academic theories and research practices. The course further explores how the research method is integrated to the methodology of the research and how the combination of qualitative and quantitative methods and triangulation provides a basis for critical insight and methodological development.

Learning Outcome

After completing the course, the student should have achieved the following learning outcomes:


The student

  • has a knowledge of the connections between academic theory, methodological and ethical research reflections, assessments, and practices
  • has an understanding of how the historical, cultural, ideological and political context can characterise research design and concepts
  • has a knowledge of different types of design, analytical perspectives, and documentation and dissemination strategies within qualitative and quantitative research


The student

  • is able to assess and analyse research design and research results within the field of study
  • is able to critically discuss how research design/concepts are characterised by historical, cultural, ideological and political contexts
  • is able to conduct and manage data collection and analysis with the use of qualitative and quantitative research tools at a high academic level

General competencies

The student

  • is able to carry out research methodology with an ethical awareness and academic integrity, and disseminate his/her research in international forums
  • is able to handle complex research focuses and methodological questions
  • is able to develop appropriate research strategies for his/her own field work and critically evaluate his/her own, and others¿, research projects and publications within the subject are

Entry requirements


Teaching methods

Gathering-based lessons in the form of lectures, seminars, discussions, and student presentations. Students present and discuss their choice of research strategies and methodologies to their peers and course teacher. Supervision will be provided for the assignment.

Admission limit: 25 students. In the event there are fewer than 5 enrolled students, the PhD programme reserves the right to cancel the course.

Compulsory learning activities

  • Attendance at all lessons is compulsory.
  • Students must give an oral presentation of a draft of an academic text related to their own PhD project. The presentation should last approximately 20 minutes. It will be assessed as passed/not passed.


An individual academic text on a methodological issue related to the student's own PhD project. The text should describe and discuss the methodological approach and argue for the choices based on academic theory and literature on qualitative or quantitative methods. The text must be between 3500-4000 words in length. References are included in the word count.

The text will be assessed as a pass/fail (a passing grade is equal to an academic level equivalent to a grade B) by the internal and external markers on the basis of the description of the learning outcomes for the course.

Examination support material


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