MES4000 – Theory, Methodology and Project Description in Middle East- and South Asia Studies
Schedule, syllabus and examination date
Note: There will be a compulsory over-night seminar at Granavolden Hotel on September 9th to 11th. More information to come.
How should a research project on the Middle East or South Asia be designed? What are the main methods used to collect empirical data, and what are the basic theoretical perspectives that should be known? The aim of this course is for participants to learn basic theoretical approaches and methodology, and apply these in their own research by developing their own project description.
Participants will be allocated a research contact by the start of the semester, who will be their mentor throughout the whole course.
This course is divided into three parts.
During the first part participants will learn:
- The basic steps of a research project.
- Key theoretical perspectives used to explain various phenomena in Middle East studies or South Asia studies.
- Characteristics of areas studies in general, and the specifics of Middle East and South Asia area studies, including key debates and discourses.
- The relation between methodology, theory, explanation and interpretation.
- What is a good project design? Relevant studies will be analyzed according to strengths and weaknesses.
During the second part participants will learn:
- Basic methodological approaches.
- Participants will practice these methodologies through practical lessons related to given research projects.
During the third part participants will learn:
- To design their own project description:
- Problem formulation and project hypothesis.
- Planning data collection and presenting their methodological approach.
- Presenting an overview of relevant background literature.
- Discussing ethical aspects of the study.
- To apply theoretical and methodological knowledge from the first and second parts.
- To present their draft project descriptions in class.
- To discuss and constructively critique other MA project proposals.
This course is only available for students enrolled in the programme Asia and Middle East studies, programme option Middle East Studies and South Asia Studies.
In the first part of the course, students are required to attend and participate in a biweekly seminar on theories and methods in Middle Eastern and South Asian studies. This will be followed by a seminar retreat on writing and research methods of most likely three days, two nights. Transport, full board, and lodging during the seminar will be covered by the department. This seminar covers part of the teaching in this course. IKOS Middle East department faculty will present their ongoing research and areas of expertise. Detailed information regarding this retreat will be given early in the semester.
From mid-September to mid-October, this course is divided into different group seminars. All students must attend the seminars on 'Text and discourse analysis'. You are to choose two of the following modules when signing up for this course:
* Field work methods
* Historical methods
* Topics in linguistic studies
* Topics in literature studies
Submission of assignments during the semester is mandatory. Please see the semester page for detailed information on each submission. The final project description will be submitted at the end of the semester in the portfolio submission.
This is how you apply for a valid absence from compulsory activities/compulsory attendance
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.
The submissions for each part of the course must be approved by the teachers in order to qualify for the final exam (please see "Teaching" and the semester page for more information).
The exam for this course is a portfolio submission at the end of the semester.
Submit assignments in Inspera
You submit your assignment in the digital examination system Inspera. Read about how to submit your assignment.
Use of sources and citation
Language of examination
The examination text is given in English.You may submit your response in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or 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
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.