Qualitative Methods



Mål og innhald

The aim of this course is to provide students with advanced skills in the most important techniques and recent developments within qualitative methods in the social sciences. Through a combination of introductory lectures and practice workshops, the course will enable students to carry out qualitative research and make sound methods choices when writing their MA thesis. The course will provide students with an advanced practical introduction to collecting and analyzing textual and interview data, including the use of qualitative data analysis software. Students will practice qualitative research for selected research questions from their field of study, by conducting, transcribing, and coding some interviews, or by sampling and coding official documents. This involves knowledge of software packages used for qualitative data analysis, such as NVivo or MaxQDA. The course also addresses ethical considerations in qualitative research, such as interviewing people in vulnerable positions.


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


The student has advanced knowledge of

  • methods used in qualitative research
  • justifications for and limitations of qualitative method choices
  • software packages for the analysis of qualitative data
  • key design choices, ethical standards and quality criteria in qualitative research


The student can

  • justify the choice of qualitative methods within a research design
  • collect, code, analyze and present qualitative data
  • apply and integrate different qualitative methods in empirical analyses

General competence

The student can

  • recognize and critically discuss the advantages and limits of qualitative designs
  • identify and manage ethical and scientific standards of qualitative research
  • present and defend their qualitative research projects orally and give constructive feedback on other students´ projects

Studiepoeng, omfang


Studienivå (studiesyklus)



Krav til forkunnskapar
Tilrådde forkunnskapar
  • AORG323A (10 ECTS)
  • AORG323B (10 ECTS)
  • GOV323 (10 ECTS)
  • Krav til studierett

    The course is open for students who have been accepted to Master programmes at the Department of Government.

    Exchange students at master level may be accepted upon application. Applications may be rejected due to capacity.

    Arbeids- og undervisningsformer
    6-7 introductory lectures and 6-7 practice workshops where students learn to apply qualitative methods; self-organised student meetings to progress with group work; a seminar for presentation of student research projects.
    Obligatorisk undervisningsaktivitet

    Group presentation of a joint research project using qualitative methods in a seminar (including submission of draft written project report of approx. 4.000 words) and discussion of one other group´s qualitative study. Participation in the seminars is compulsory.

    The compulsory assignment must be approved in order to take the exam. Approved compulsory assignments are valid in the current semester.


    Group project report on a qualitative study conducted by students, approximately 8.000 words (excluding the title page, table of contents, references, tables, and all attachments). All group members must confirm with signature that they contributed equally to the report.

    The exam will be given in the language in which the course is taught. 

    The exam answer can be submitted in English.

    Graded A-F
    Assessment in teaching semester.
    The reading list will be ready before 1 July for the autumn semester and 1 December for the spring semester.
    All courses are evaluated according to UiB's system for quality assurance of education.
    The Programme Committee is responsible for the content, structure and quality of the study programme and courses. 
    Administrativt ansvarleg
    The Department of Government at the Faculty of Social Sciences has the administrative responsibility for the course and the study programme.