JAP4020 – Methodologies and Data Collection in Japanese studies

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

This course is designed for students who have taken JAP4010, selected a topic of the master’s thesis and have been assigned a supervisor (JAP4010). In this course you study different methodologies, choose the methods that are most suitable for your MA thesis, and collect some of the sources or data on which your MA thesis will be based. This is done individually, in close consultation with your supervisor.

Depending on your specific topic of research, data may be collected from, for instance:

  • historical, political, literary, or other kinds of texts
  • interviews, participant observation, or other kinds of fieldwork
  • digital corpora
  • online sources, films, various media etc.

During the course, you will read and summarize literature that critically assesses the research methodologies that you wish to apply. You identify a set of sources or data and start working on them, and give a presentation of your findings. A significant proportion of these sources or data should be in Japanese.

Learning outcome

  • Ability to critically reflect on the relevance of different research methodologies.
  • Ability to identify and collect primary sources and data that are necessary to answer a given research question.
  • Ability to assess the relevance and validity of those sources.
  • Depending on your chosen methodology for collecting and analyzing data, you will practice how to interpret Japanese texts (fiction and non-fiction), how to conduct fieldwork in Japanese, how to find historical texts in archives, how to select a corpus and utilize it, or how to work as a researcher in Japan.


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 MA programme Japanese Studies.


There is no mandatory teaching in this course. You will discuss data collection and chosen methodologies with your supervisor in order to obtain individual advice regarding suitable methodology for your chosen research topic. 

Compulsory activities

  • It is mandatory for you to be in contact with your supervisor throughout the course (either through meetings, Skype, phone or e-mail in case you or the supervisor are abroad).
  • You must give a presentation of your main findings for your co-students towards the end of the semester. Students who are abroad can do this via Skype or similar means.

An approved oral presentation is valid for the next two semesters that the course is taught. All compulsory activities must be approved in order to qualify for the exam. It is the student’s responsibility to check whether or not the compulsory activities are approved.

This is how you apply for valid absence from compulsory activities/compulsory attendance.


The exam consists of a portfolio:

  • A term paper of ca. 3500 words. The paper needs to account for and discuss one or more methods that you will employ in your MA thesis, reflecting on the strengths but also the limitations of your chosen methodology. It also has to contain reflections on this process based on at least two relevant academic publications regarding research methodology.
  • A written account of the results of your work with the concrete sources or data that you will use in your MA thesis. Depending on the nature of the material the word count will vary, but the volume of this assignment should be comparable to the term paper. Depending on the nature of your research, this may be a selection of Japanese sources, with partial resumes or translations; a field report; or some other format to be decided in dialogue with your supervisor.

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

A term paper or equivalent that is passed may not be resubmitted in revised form.

If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline, 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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