PECOS4021 - Research Methods
Schedule, syllabus and examination date
A central aim of the course is to provide students with the tools to critically evaluate empirical research and carefully construct their own research designs.
The course will start with an overview of historiographical approaches and methods relevant for the study of peace and conflict, including the application of international, global and transnational perspectives. It will further provide an introduction in the critical reading of various types of historical primary sources, as well as in the use of archives and digital resources.
In its second, political science part, the course will focus on challenges posed to the drawing of valid inferences on the basis of theory and empirical data. The course accounts for case study and small-n comparative designs, and how case studies may be used in mixed designs in conjunction with statistical analysis. Regarding strategies for data collection, the course presents and discusses among others in-depth interviews, field work and the use of textual sources in empirical research.
be familiar with the major historical approaches relevant for the study of peace and conflict;
know the most important types of research design, and understand their relative strengths and weaknesses in different contexts;
be well acquainted with some of the most important threats to descriptive and causal inferences, and with strategies for mitigating such threats;
know how different types of interviews are conducted, and understand their strengths and weaknesses;
understand how to properly use textual data in research, and know how to make use of archive material.
be able to trace and critically read historical sources of various types and apply this knowledge to their own work;
be able to critically read and evaluate studies on peace and conflict topics;
be able to methodically approach and construct designs for answering research questions on peace and conflict topics;
be able to apply various techniques for analyzing different types of data, and learn how to properly test hypotheses, interpret results, and draw careful conclusions.
enhance their capabilities in carrying out thorough, independent and critical analysis of complex questions;
enhance their capabilities in critically evaluating empirical research;
enhance their understanding of various elements of the scientific process, including aspects of the relation between theory and empirical evidence and between concepts and measures.
Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.
Students enrolled in other Master's Degree Programmes can, on application, be admitted to the course if this is cleared by their own study programme.
If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.
Apply for guest student status if you are admitted to another Master's programme.
For incoming students
All Master's courses in Political Science must be registered manually by the Department, they will not appear in Studentweb. Contact your international coordinator at UiO.
Recommended previous knowledge
Knowledge of research methods.
Access to teaching
A student who has completed compulsory instruction and coursework and has had these approved, is not entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework. A student who has been admitted to a course, but who has not completed compulsory instruction and coursework or had these approved, is entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework, depending on available capacity.
4-hour written examination. Two term papers.
Term paper 1 draws on topics addressed in lectures 1-4. Term paper 2 draws on topics from lectures 5-10.
The term paper must:
- each be between 2500-3000 words.
- meet the formal requirements for submission of written assignments
- be on a topic chosen from a list of 2-4 essay questions, which are circulated at least two weeks prior to the deadline.
The written examination counts more than the term papers. You receive one overall grade. You must pass the term papers and your written examination in the same semester.
Use of sources and citation
Examination support material
Students may use dictionaries at this exam. Dictionaries must be handed in before the examination. Please read regulations for dictionaries permitted at the examination.
Language of examination
The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English.
Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.
Explanations and appeals
It is recommended to request an explanation of your grade before you decide to appeal.
The deadline to request an explanation is one week after the grade is published. For oral and practical examinations, the deadline is immediately after you have received your grade.
The explanation should normally be given within two weeks after you have asked for it. The examiner decides whether the explanation is to be given in writing or verbally.
Resit an examination
If you are sick or have another valid reason for not attending the regular exam, we offer a postponed exam later in the same semester.
See also our information about resitting an exam.
Withdrawal from an examination
It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.
Special examination arrangements
Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.