STV4911 – Master Thesis - Research Design and Project Management

Course content

Research design is essential for valid research. In this course, organized as a seminar series, students are introduced to strategies for improving the design of their master thesis project as well as being made aware of common pitfalls. Theoretical knowledge from the previous methods courses will be applied to show how different types of research projects are developed in practice. Students will be offered general instruction in research ethics and data protection and management. Moreover, they will receive additional training in presentation of data and empirical results and advice on how to manage their research project and write up their thesis in an efficient manner.

The seminar series will be divided into three main parts: 1) research question and research design, 2) planning and preparation of different types of studies, 3) other aspects of project planning and management.

During the seminar period, students will read literature on their chosen topic and work on developing the relevant aspects of their research plan for the master thesis. They will submit notes on their project every second week and submit complete a project plan at the end of the seminar period.

STV4911 is an integrated, compulsory part of the master thesis in political science and in Peace and conflict studies.

Learning outcome

After having completed the course, the students have acquired the following knowledge, skills and general competencies:


You will:

  • Know what the common pitfalls of designing a research project are
  • Know well-established strategies for avoiding such pitfalls


You can:

  • Develop and specify a research question at an advanced level
  • Situate the research question in scholarly literature
  • Identify key concepts, relevant theory and the appropriate logic of inference
  • Justify a general choice of research design
  • Develop a suitable research plan for case selection, time frame, data collection and choice of methods
  • Develop an ethically responsible research project
  • Draft a data management plan in line with EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

General competencies

You can:

  • Present a research plan to a group of peers
  • Participate in academic discussion of research designs
  • Reflect on your own research and writing process
  • Plan a large-scale project for successful completion
  • Deal with data protection and management issues in a responsible manner


The course is reserved for students enrolled in the master programmes in Political science and Peace and conflict studies.


Recommended previous knowledge

Students should complete STV4021 – Forskningsdesign i statsvitenskap and STV4022 – Anvendt statistikk for statsvitenskap, or PECOS4025 Analytic Perspectives on Peace and Conflict and PECOS4022 Applied Statistics for Peace and Conflict studies, plus one data course (STV4030A-C), before attending STV4911 - Master's Thesis - Research Design and Project Management.

Overlapping courses


Lectures and seminars


The week after the final sessions students submit their final MA research plan/pre-analysis plan.

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

You may write your examination paper in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a pass/fail scale. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

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

This course starts autumn 2023. 


Every autumn

Teaching language