SGO4010 – Qualitative method

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

The course will present a variety of common and cutting-edge qualitative research methods in human geography. It aims to give you the skills to design your research in a way that is analytically powerful and practically feasible. The course aims to increase your understanding of the choices involved in conducting qualitative research, including the assessment of what methods are suited to deal with different research questions.

Learning outcome

Through the lecture series, you will be acquainted with the most important qualitative research methods, including interviews, focus groups and ethnography. The techniques will be critically assessed and their potential and limitation will be discussed. In addition to introducing you to the different methods, the lectures will focus on how different methods suit different designs and research questions, and how they can be mixed and triangulated. You will also learn how to analyze qualitative data, and how to consider their limitations in empirical and theoretical generalization.

The seminar series will provide you with the chance to reflect on your own choices, and to get feedback from students and facilitators on your research design. You will also participate in practical exercises and role play where you will be able to gain experiences which will challenge your theoretical knowledge of qualitative methods, and make you better prepared for a fieldwork setting.


You will be able to obtain:

  • An understanding of qualitative research methodologies and their possibilities.
  • An understanding of how different methods and techniques can be used to generate different types of qualitative data, and learn about the ethical dilemmas and strategic limitations associated with these.
  • An insight into strategies for qualitative data interpretation and analysis, their possibilities and limitations.


The course will prepare you for selecting the appropriate methods for your research, and for conducting interviews and other qualitative data collection techniques.

You should be able to:

  • Design a qualitative study which identifies the appropriate methods for your research questions.
  • Design an interview guide which translates your research questions into a suitable set of interview guides.
  • Analyze qualitative data in a rigorous manner, with or without software aids.
  • Reflect on and assess the ethical dilemmas of qualitative data collection and analysis.
  • Discuss findings from case studies and other intensive research strategies in a broader empirical and theoretical perspective.


The course provides the students with an awareness of the advantages and limitations of qualitative research. They will attain an ability to adapt
qualitative research techniques to specific research objectives and contexts.

You should have gained:

  • Sufficient knowledge to select a suitable method and research techniques relevant for your master thesis.
  • An ability to critically assess a broad range of qualitative research methods in theory and in practice.
  • An understanding of ethical aspects in all the different stages of the qualitative research process.


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.

This course is a part of the Master's programmes in Human Geography and Development Geography.

Students in other master programs may apply to be accepted as guest students. Please note that the following special restrictions apply:

  • applicant must be admitted to a master program.
  • this course will be taken as a part of their Master's degree. A confirmation from the students student adviser must be attached to the application.
  • there are available places in this course.

Overlapping courses


The teaching for this course is organized as a combination of lectures and seminars. The lectures will present theoretical discussions of qualitative methodologies and data collection techniques, supplemented by examples from recently conducted and ongoing research projects by members of staff.

Seminars will be devoted to student activities, and you will be an active contributor through conducting exercises and writing papers ahead of seminars. During the seminars, you will be expected to present your own exercises and participate actively in role play and discussions. Unless you have completed a minimum of two seminar exercises, and these are approved by the teacher, you will not be eligible for written examination.

Absence from compulsory tuition activities

If you are ill or have another valid reason for being absent from compulsory tuition activities, your absence may be approved or the compulsory activity may be postponed.

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.


6 hour written examination.

Previous exams

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.You may submit your response in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English.

Grading scale

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

School exam

Postponed exam

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.


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 spring


Every spring

Teaching language