Researching Global Challenges

Postgraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

The purpose of this course is to provide methodological foundations for, and practical experience in, conducting research on global challenges. The course provides students with a methodological compass for identifying and choosing suitable research puzzles. By specifying research questions, selecting theoretical lenses, and operationalizing concepts, students are introduced to key debates in the philosophy of sciences and learn how research design choices build on these. Students will learn about the relation between problem identification, developing theoretical perspectives, methodological approaches, the choice of methods, as well as data selection and analysis. The course will also address issues of research ethics, including the politics of knowledge production on global challenges.

Learning Outcomes


The student has advanced knowledge of:

  • philosophy of sciences and methodological debates such as positivism vs. constructivism
  • the role - and alignment - of theory, methods, and data in any research design
  • principles, ethical and quality standards for research design


The student can:

  • take informed research design choices and justify them to develop their own high quality research design
  • validate the quality of a study and its findings
  • evaluate and critically assess other´s research designs

General competence

The student can:

  • apply different perspectives from the philosophy of sciences in order to argue for specific research design choices
  • support fellow students in developing high quality research designs
  • critically discuss the politics of knowledge generation on the governance of global challenges

ECTS Credits


Level of Study


Semester of Instruction

Recommended Previous Knowledge
Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap
Access to the Course

The course is open for students who have been accepted to the Master's program in Politics and Governance of Global Challenges. 

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

Teaching and learning methods
Lectures, group work and seminars
Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

The assessment consists of an approved draft research proposal, presentation of the draft proposal at a seminar, discussion of two other student´s draft and mandatory attendance at a seminar.

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

Forms of Assessment

Submission of a research proposal, 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 English.

Grading Scale
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 15. januar.

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.
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.