INTHE4006 – Literature Review and Research Question Seminar

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

The course INTHE4006 Literature Review and Research Question is the start of the students' research preparation. Independently of whether students have already decided their research topic for their master's thesis, it is necessary to do a review of existing research in order to identify gaps in the literature, and to justify their own projects. The course topic the student selects must be in line with his/her research question. It must be agreed upon by the student and his/her main supervisor early in the literature review process.

Learning outcome

With this course, you will become familiar with and learn to identify the most relevant textbooks, reviews, papers and journals for their research topics. During the course you will also learn how to critically read and assess research papers and reviews. The review should point to research gaps that can be opertionalised into feasible research questions.

Learning objectives:
a) To learn to review and assess scientific literature critically.
b) To write and present an overview of the relevant literature for a specific research topic.


The course will be held as a two day seminar early in the spring semester.


The exam consists of a written abstract and an oral presentation. The objectives of the exam are to:

  • define and advocate your field of interest.
  • review the relevant literature to describe the current knowledge in that field.
  • identify important unanswered questions in the field.
  • justify your selection of question(s) you want to address
  • spell out the research question you want to address or the hypothesis you want to test (if applicable).

The abstract should no be longer than one page. A literature list including all cited literature shall be attached. The abstract must be in the hands of the program coordinator at least three work days before the exam.

The oral presentation must be prepared as a power point presentation and should not be longer than 20 minutes. The time frame for the exam including the presentation is one hour.

Exam evaluation: The examiners will judge the presentation based upon an evaluation of:

  • your knowledge of the central literature in your chosen field of research
  • your ability to critically review and assess published material
  • your ability to identify research gap and questions based on the review
  • whether your research question(s) are feasible within the limits of a MPhil project


The Board at the University of Oslo has decided to introduce detailed guidelines for all examinations, which take place at the University. The description of the grading should be clear and transparent. This is done to ensure alignment between learning outcomes, assignments, and grading. The Faculty of Medicine has developed a web page with information regarding exams and the grading procedures (norwegian version).

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

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Facts about this course






Every spring


Every spring

Teaching language