Syllabus for Social Scientific Methods

Samhällsvetenskapliga metoder

Syllabus

Decisions and guidelines

This course is a compulsory skill course within the Master's Programme in the Social Sciences.

Learning outcomes

After completing the course, the student should:

  • be able to formulate scientific problems and argue for their basis in the philosophy of science.
  • be able to justify a research design and its operationalisation with a starting point in different philosphical perspectives.
  • be able to discuss how analysis and results are influenced by methodology.
  • carry out analyses of social scientific data where methodology is of central importance.
  • be well equipped to critically review and discuss the methodological considerations and philosophical foundations that underlie scientific studies.

Content

The course aims to provide the students with advanced knowledge in the area that encompasses the philosophy of science, methodology and methods. By means of the thematic starting point "research design" the students can acquire a method of working that includes knowledge of how philosophical starting points and choice of methods are dependent on one another. One aim of the course is that the students should acquire a sound knowledge and understanding of different perspectives and methods within the main areas and themes of the social sciences.

The course is organised around the theme of "research design", which means that the course starts with the importance of different philosophies of science for the formulation of a problem, choice of methodology and operationalisation. Thereafter, there is further discussion regarding some of the central methods used by social scientists and how these methods have developed parallel with the development of different philosophical perspectives. Central concepts are subject-object, agency-structure, case studies and ethnographical studies, and the possibility to generalise versus the specific. Finally, different analytical approaches and the presentation of results are discussed.

A considerable part of the course is devoted to seminar discussion of texts where research design and methodology as well as philosophical perspectives are "traced" and discussed.

Instruction

The teaching can consist of lectures, lessons, group exercises and seminars.

Assessment

The course is examined through written assignments and active seminar participation.

If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the University's disability coordinator.

Reading list

Reading list

Applies from: week 39, 2020

Some titles may be available electronically through the University library.

  • Alvesson, Mats; Gabriel, Yiannis; Paulsen, Roland Return to meaning : a social science with something to say

    1 ed.: Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017.

    Find in the library

    Mandatory

  • Breuer, Franz Roth, Wolff-Michael Subjectivity and Reflexivity in the Social Sciences : Epistemic Windows and Methodical Consequences

    Part of:

    Forum, qualitative social research

    Bonn: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft,

    vol. 4 (2003) nr. 2

    Find in the library

    Mandatory

  • Ellis, Carolyn; Adams, Tony E; Bochner, Arthur P Autoethnography : An Overview

    Part of:

    Forum, qualitative social research

    Bonn: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft,

    vol. 12 (2011) nr. 1

    Find in the library

    Mandatory

  • Gibbons, Michael The new production of knowledge : the dynamics of science and research in contemporary societies

    London: Sage, 1994

    Page 10-22, 79-94

    Find in the library

    Mandatory

  • Gieryn, Thomas F. Boundary-work and the demarcation of science from nonscience : strains and interests in professional ideologies of scientists

    Part of:

    American sociological review

    Menasha, Wis.: American Sociological Society, 1936-

    vol. 48 (1983) nr. 6 s. 781-795

    Find in the library

    Mandatory

  • Goertz, Gary Mahoney, James A tale of two cultures : qualitative and quantitative research in the social sciences

    uuuu-uuuu

    Chapter 1, p. 1-15

    Find in the library

    Mandatory

  • Hancké, Bob Intelligent research design : a guide for beginning researchers in the social sciences

    Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

    p. 10-34.

    Find in the library

    Mandatory

  • Lamont, Michèle; Molnár, Virág The study of boundaries in the social sciences

    Part of:

    Annual review of sociology [electronic resource] [Elektronisk resurs]

    1975-2015

    vol. 28 (2002) nr. 1 s. 167-195

    Find in the library

    Mandatory

  • LAURENCE McFALLS, ; McFalls, Laurence H. Max Weber's 'Objectivity' Reconsidered [Elektronisk resurs]

    University of Toronto Press,

    Drysdale, John, "Weber on objectivity: Advocate or critic?", page. 31-57

    Find in the library

    Mandatory

  • Law, John After method : mess in social science research

    1. ed.: London: Routledge, cop. 2004

    Chapters. 1-3, 8

    Find in the library

  • Leigh Star, Susan Griesemer, James R Institutional Ecology, 'Translations' and Boundary Objects: : Amateurs and Professionals in Berkeley's Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, 1907-39

    Part of:

    Social studies of science.

    [London]: SAGE Publications, 1999-

    vol. 19 (2016) nr. 3 s. 387-420

    Find in the library

    Mandatory

  • Leigh Star, Susan This is Not a Boundary Object: : Reflections on the Origin of a Concept

    Part of:

    Science, technology, & human values [Elektronisk resurs]

    Thousand Oaks, Ca: Sage, 2000-

    vol. 35 (2010) nr. 5 s. 601 - 617

    Find in the library

    Mandatory

  • Porter, Theodore M Making things quantitative

    Part of:

    Science in context.

    vol. 7 (1994) nr. 3 s. 389 - 407

    Find in the library

    Mandatory

  • Porter, Theodore M Speaking precision to power : The modern political role of social science

    Part of:

    Science in context.

    vol. 73 (2006) nr. 4 s. 1273 - 1294

    Find in the library

    Mandatory

  • Shapin, Steven The sciences of subjectivity

    Part of:

    Social studies of science.

    [London]: SAGE Publications, 1999-

    vol. 42 (2012) nr. 2 s. 170-184

    Find in the library

    Mandatory

  • Swedberg, Richard Theorizing in social science : the context of discovery

    Stanford: Stanford Social Sciences, an imprint of Stanford University Press, 2014

    p. 1-28

    Find in the library

    Mandatory

Additional articles will be specified in the course instructions

Reading list revisions