STV9029 – Advanced Qualitative Field Methods

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

This course explores the design and application of qualitative methods to prepare doctoral students to select and use such methods in the field. The course is suitable for doctoral students interested in qualitative field methods as a central or complementary component of their research project, and for reflecting more broadly on the benefits and limitations of such empirical work. It will be of particular interest to students considering fieldwork – broadly conceived - as part of their research project. It is preferable if participants are at a sufficiently early stage in their projects that substantial changes to their research design are still feasible.

Learning outcome

This course will enable participants to:

  • critically assess the purpose and role of qualitative methods in their research design
  • broaden their repertoire of qualitative field methods
  • collect and process different kinds of data in the field: verbal, written, visual
  • integrate qualitative data with other data in their analyses
  • discuss methodological and ethical challenges associated with their fieldwork

The course enables participants to select suitable qualitative methods for their doctoral projects, whether as part of a single or multi-method approach, and conduct their projects in a rigorous and ethically sound manner. We encourage participants to explore different kinds of qualitative data, and think carefully about the purpose of such data in their own research projects. The purpose can range from informing concept development to probing causal inferences. The format can range from field interviews to compiling datasets.

Admission presumes that students have a basic awareness of case selection and research design, and will come prepared to discuss the specific challenges of measurement and operationalization in their own research projects as well as those of their colleagues. It complements other qualitative classes (e.g. focusing on case study methods, discourse analysis, interviews, software, surveys and ethnography) by focusing on application of these and other qualitative methods in the field.


The course is open to doctoral students in Political Science and related disciplines. 

PhD candidates at the Department of Political Science and the Faculty of Social Sciences: apply for the course in StudentWeb from August 1st

Other PhD candidates: Application form (closed)

Application deadline: October 12th. Applicants will be informed of the outcome of their application as quickly as possible after the application deadline.

There is no participation fee, but the cost of travel and accommodation, if needed, must be covered by the participants. Applicants will be notified about the outcome of their application as quickly as possible after the application deadline.


Recommended previous knowledge

We strongly advise that all participants complete the recommended readings prior to the one-week workshop. For full reading list, see the semester page.


The course combines short lectures and presentations in a workshop format. Each participant must come prepared to present their own paper and provide comments for the research notes from the other participants during the one-week meeting at the University of Oslo. Active participation and preparation by all participants is essential for this format to work.

Compulsory activities:

  • submit your preparatory research design papers one week before the workshop, November 26 at 12:00, and read all research design papers ahead of the workshop sessions
  • attend intensive one-week workshop focusing on applying qualitative methods in the field

Preparatory research design paper

Submit and present a paper (minimum 1500- maximum 3000 words) about a proposed research design and fieldwork components for your doctoral project. The paper should address issues such as measurement, conceptualization, fit between research question, methods and evidence to be collected in the field, likely challenges in fieldwork, and other relevant issues.

Both presenting and commenting on someone else’s presentation will be mandatory for each participant.

Participate in workshop

All students must actively participate in a one-week workshop at the University of Oslo, attend lectures, contribute to class discussion, practice interviewing and observation, discuss and write short 500-word entries into an individual research journal.

Participants who fail to hand in the research note and participate in the one-week workshop will lose their place in the course.

Both the compulsory activities and the exam-paper must be completed and approved in the same semester. If you wish to retake the exam, the whole course must be completed again. To do so you must apply for admission to the course the next time it is offered.


Submit a final paper (maximum 3000 words) discussing specific challenges associated with the operationalization of qualitative field methods for proposed research projects, including ethical challenges. Due on 20 December (by 12:00 noon). Pass/fail grade.

Transcript can be attainaned through Studentweb at the University of Oslo website. All candidates accepted for admission will be registered as guest students at UiO.

Facts about this course






Autumn 2018


Autumn 2018

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