Research Design

Postgraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

The purpose is to provide practical experience in the development of a research proposal. The course focuses on the relation between problem identification, developing theoretical perspectives, methodological approach and data discussion.

The course provides the student with training in writing research proposals:

  • formulating research questions,
  • introducing relevant theory and reviewing literature,
  • identifying sources of data and methods of data gathering, and
  • discussing possibilities for generalization.

Learning Outcomes


The student has advanced knowledge of:

  • Relevant theories and perspectives in a field of research
  • Basic principles for scientific design


The student can:

  • develop a research proposal which later forms the basis for working with the master thesis
  • formulate and discuss a research problem, review literature, and make decisions regarding the choice of theories and methodology that are relevant to the research theme.

General competence

The student :

  • can identify relevant data sources and specify data collection methods
  • has developed skills to critically review data sources, scientific argumentation, and use of scientific references
  • has developed skills to work collectively on a research project.

ECTS Credits


Level of Study


Semester of Instruction

Required Previous Knowledge
Recommended Previous Knowledge
Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap
AORG332 (10 ECTS)
Access to the Course
The course is open for students who have been accepted to the Master`s program at the Department of Government
Teaching and learning methods
Group work and seminars, pre-recorded lectures and online discussion (so-called "flipped classroom" approach)
Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

Attendance of minimum 60% of group work sessions. Responding to discussion topics related to course literature on MittUiB. Approved draft paper and mandatory attendance at seminars.

Approved compulsory requirements are valid in the current and the following two semesters. The compulsory assignments and attendance must be completed to take the exam.

Forms of Assessment

Submission of paper, 5000 words (+/- 10 %, excluding the title page, table of contents, references, tables, and all attachments).

The exam will be given in the language in which the course is taught.
The exam answer can be submitted in Norwegian, Swedish or Danish. It is also possible to submit in English.

Grading Scale
Graded A-F
Assessment Semester

Assessment in teaching semester.

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

If there is a retake exam, this will be available for students with the follow results/absences:

  • Medical certificate/valid absence
  • Interruption during the exam
  • Fail/failed

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 1. August

Reading List
The reading list will be ready before 1 July for the autumn semester and 1 Decemeber for the spring semester. 
Course Evaluation
All courses are evaluated according to UiB's system for quality assurance of education.
Programme Committee
The Programme Committee is responsible for the content, structure and quality of the study programme and courses.  
Course Administrator
The Department of Government at the Faculty of Social Sciences has the administrative responsibility for the course and the study programme.