EAST4010 – Research Methodology in East Asian Studies

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

You will get training in the collection, processing, critical assessment and initial analysis of data individually or in a team of several students, as a preparation for your later work on the Master thesis. Based on the project description for the master thesis, and under guidance of a supervisor, you will identify and collect different kinds of data. Depending on the topic of research, these may include data from:

  • literary, historical, political or other kinds of texts
  • interviews, participant observation, other kinds of fieldwork
  • online sources, radio and TV programmes, films, etc.

At least 80% of the data should be in the language of the student’s specialization (Chinese, Japanese, Korean or Tibetan). All methodologies of collecting relevant data require a conscious and critical approach. Therefore, an important part of the course implies reflection on methodology and practices of data collection.

For students at the Master's programme in East Asian Culture and History this course should to be taken in conjunction with EAST4110 – Readings in East Asian Culture and History or EAST4610 – Voices from East Asia: How to Communicate Research Results. The course can only be combined with a 30-credit master thesis, not a 60-credit master thesis.

For students at the Master's programme in Chinese Society and Politics this course should to be taken in conjunction with EAST4610 – Voices from East Asia: How to Communicate Research Results

Learning outcome

  • You will learn how to determine the relevance and validity of different sources through the practice of identifying and collecting data of direct relevance to a specific project.
  • You will be able to reflect on your own use of research methodologies, and thereby increase the value of the results of your study.
  • Depending on the chosen methodology for collecting data, you will, for instance, learn how to communicate in your language of specialization with interviewees; how to find historical texts through local archives; how to work as a researcher in different cultural or political settings; or how to identify different versions of the same text in an East Asian language.


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.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

Admission to the Master's programme options Chinese Society and Politics or East Asian Culture and History.

Overlapping courses

The course may overlap with discontinued courses and old study units of all types and levels. The student must ensure that the content of the course does not overlap with other study units one has previously obtained credits for.

Contact the department if you have any questions.


There is no mandatory teaching in this course. You will work with your supervisor who will assist and guide the data collection, and give you individual advice about relevant texts for the chosen methodologies. You are therefore required to talk to your supervisor (on Skype, phone or through e-mail if you or staff is abroad) at least once a month throughout the semester.

If you are a student at the CHINP program it is strongly advised to join the sessions of "Part B" in the course KIN4510 – How to study Chinese Culture and Society at an Advanced Level that is taught in the same semester. Here you will have the opportunity to refresh what you learned the year before and immediately apply it to your current projects. You will also receive feedback from peers as well as the academic staff beyond the usual supervision hours. You are asked to communicate with the teacher of KIN4510 beforehand in order to be admitted to the relevant sessions.


The exam is a portfolio that consists of the following two parts:

  1. A term paper of 3000 - 4000 words regarding the choice of methodologies, the process of data collection and reflections on the process based on at least one academic publication regarding research methodology.
  2. One of the following options, or a combination of them (a total of 1200 - 1500 words):
    1. Translation (into English or a Scandinavian language) of an original and not already translated text in the East Asian language of specialization.
    2. Transcription in the language of specialization of 1-3 recorded interviews (depending on length).
    3. Translation into English or a Scandinavian language of 1-3 recorded interviews (depending on length).
    4. Translation of any kind of sources in the language of specialization, for instance parts of a movie, a TV show, blog discussions, speeches, etc.

The supervisor should be consulted regarding the specific length and scope of the sources used in part 2.

You must pass both parts in order to pass the exam.

The portfolio has to be submitted in Inspera within the given deadline.

Submit assignments in Inspera

You submit your assignment in the digital examination system Inspera. Read about how to submit assignments in Inspera.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a pass/fail scale. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

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.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






Every autumn


Every autumn

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