PECOS4021 – Research Methods
Schedule, syllabus and examination date
This course presents and discusses a set of methodological issues and techniques that are essential to empirical research in the social sciences in general, and the study of peace and conflict more in particular. The course covers, firstly, basic concepts and debates in epistemology. Secondly, general principles of research methodology are accounted for, alongside issues relating to research questions and choice and structuring of research design. Finally, different types of data collection and different techniques for analyzing data are presented and discussed.
A central aim of the course is to provide students with the tools to critically evaluate empirical research and carefully construct their own research designs.
- be well acquainted with some of the most important threats to descriptive and causal inferences, and with strategies for mitigating such threats;
- know the most important types of research design, and understand their relative strengths and weaknesses in different contexts;
- know how different types of interviews are conducted, and understand their strengths and weaknesses;
- understand how to properly use textual data in research, and know how to make use of archive material;
- be acquainted with essential features of archival research and their role in tracing and accounting for historical events and processes.
- be able to trace and critically read historical sources of various types and apply this knowledge to their own work;
- be able to critically read and evaluate studies on peace and conflict topics;
- be able to approach and construct designs for answering research questions on peace and conflict topics;
- be able to apply various techniques for analyzing different types of data, and learn how to properly test hypotheses, interpret results, and draw careful conclusions.
- enhance their capabilities in carrying out thorough, independent and critical analysis of complex questions;
- enhance their capabilities in critically evaluating empirical research;
- enhance their understanding of various elements of the scientific process, including aspects of the relation between theory and empirical evidence and between concepts and measures.
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.
Students enrolled in other Master's Degree Programmes can, on application, be admitted to the course if this is cleared by their own study programme.
If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.
Apply for guest student status if you are admitted to another Master's programme.
For incoming students
All Master's courses in Political Science must be registered manually by the Department, they will not appear in Studentweb. Contact your international coordinator at UiO.
Recommended previous knowledge
Knowledge of research methods.
Lectures and seminars.
The seminars are not compulsory, but we recommend that you follow them. They have two primary purposes. Firstly, they assist the development of students’ terms papers through presentation and discussion of sketches. Secondly, they enable preparations for the school exam on the basis of previous exam questions.
3 hour school exam and term paper.
The term paper must:
- be between 3500-5000 words.
- meet the formal requirements for submission of written assignments
The school exam counts more than the term paper. You receive one overall grade. You must pass the term paper and your written examination in the same semester.
Use of sources and citation
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, and you submit your response in 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
It is recommended to request an explanation of your grade before you decide to appeal.
The deadline to request an explanation is one week after the grade is published. For oral and practical examinations, the deadline is immediately after you have received your grade.
The explanation should normally be given within two weeks after you have asked for it. The examiner decides whether the explanation is to be given in writing or verbally.
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.