Methods in Human Geography

Postgraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content


This course aims to train and prepare students for undertaking fieldwork and analyse data in connection with their master thesis.


Through lectures, discussions and group exercises, the course provides theoretical and research experience-based knowledge of central research methods in human geography. Students are made to reflect upon relevant research designs and methods for their own master thesis project, and on their researcher role. The course focuses on qualitative field methods and visual field techniques, the interpretation of qualitative data, the interpretation of visual data and texts (interviews, public documents, newspaper articles etc.), and discourse analysis. Students are trained in conducting interviews and focus group discussions, in the interpretation and analysis of statistics and survey data, and in carrying out case studies. The students should also acquire insight into ethical dilemmas and ethical guidelines for conducting research.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course the student should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


The student

  • can demonstrate an advanced understanding of central theoretical concepts and research methods commonly used in human geography, and are able to assess their relevance and use in qualitative and quantitative research approaches.


The student

  • can conduct case studies
  • can analyse own and informants' positionalities
  • can conduct participant observation in familiar and foreign cultural contexts
  • can conduct fieldwork with special emphasis on interviews, observation, and visual methods can carry out discourse analysis
  • can code and analyse own data
  • can critically assess secondary data sources, including statistics
  • can assess ethical problems in the research process

General competence

The student

  • can consciously engage in reflection upon social processes involved in data production and analysis.
  • can apply relevant theories and concepts in discussions of research methodology.
  • can independently plan a project's research design and apply appropriate research methods.

Level of Study

Master level

Semester of Instruction

Required Previous Knowledge
Basic knowledge about social science methods
Recommended Previous Knowledge
GEO206/GEO221/GEO231/GEO292 or equivalent
Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap
GEO307 (5 ECTS)
Access to the Course
Open for students at Master´s level who meet the prerequisites.
Teaching and learning methods

2 lectures á 2 hours pr. week.

In total 10-12 lectures.

2-4 seminars with working groups.

6-8 weeks in total.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance
Participation in seminars with working groups.
Forms of Assessment

Take home exam, 3 days

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

The exam can be submitted in English, Norwegian, Swedish or Danish

Grading Scale
Grading A-F
Assessment Semester

Assessment in teaching semester.

A retake exam is arranged for students with valid absence according to UiB study regulations § 5-5 .

If there is a retake exam for students with valid absence, all students with valid compulsory activity can sign up for the retake exam. If you have the right to take a retake exam and a retake exam is arranged for students with valid absences, you can sign up yourself in Studentweb after Augsut 1.

Reading List
The reading list will be ready before 1 July for the autumn semester and 1 December for the spring semester. 
Course Evaluation
All courses are evaluated according to UiB's system for quality assurance of education.