PED4550 – Design-Based Research, Virtual Ethnography, and Interaction Analysis

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Choose semester

Course content

How do you investigate innovative learning and work processes? Through interventions? By observing participation in physical and virtual settings?  How do you collect and analyze different data types? How do you plan which methods to use in a research project?

During this course, different approaches to planning and executing a research process will be explored, including the analysis phase.

These topics will be explored based on group projects. An individual written assignment will teach students how to plan an empirical study. The course is aimed at supporting students in their Master’s degree thesis work, with a focus on methods.

Learning outcome

The course provides

  • knowledge of design-based research methods, interaction analysis, ethnographical traditions and their role in research on learning processes.
  • skills in planning innovative learning processes, design experiments and empirical case studies, as well as skills in planning a Master’s degree thesis.
  • competencies in planning and conducting a (mini) design experiment or ethnographical study, including data collection and the consideration of important questions/topics in research ethics.


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.

Students with admission to the Master of Philosophy programme in Education: Communication, Design and Learning, have a place on the course. Other applicants may be granted a place, if capacity allows. Places will be granted according to the time of application. The examination in this course is not available for external candidates. Only students admitted to the course may sit for the examination. Students must register each semester for courses and exams they wish to sign up for in the Studentweb.

Exchange students

The course can be offered to exchange students from institutions that have agreements with the programme.

Admission limits

Minimum 5 and maximum 30.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

There are no formal prerequisites beyond admission to the Master of Philosophy programme in Education: Communication, Design and Learning. It is recommended that 1st and 2nd semester courses are completed and approved prior to taking this course.


The language of instruction is Norwegian and English. (English, if there are English-speaking participants. The choice of language of instruction will be announced at the beginning of the semester).

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.

The course structure consists of weekly seminars and practical group assignments. Three types of activities are central:

  1. Lectures
  2. Workshop on design methods
  3. Work in groups.


The course has two compulsory assignments which must be approved by the teacher before you can take the final exam.

Compulsory Assignments (work requirements):

  1. Group assignment: presentation of an article
  2. Group assignment: intervention design

Exam (study requirement):

Individual written assignment on methodological issues pertinent to the Master’s thesis, 12-15 pages. Details pertaining to deadlines and requirements will be posted at the beginning of the semester. The exam is worth 100% of the final grade.

Both compulsory group assignments must be fulfilled and approved by the course coordinator before you can hand in the individual written assignment (exam).

Submit assignments in Inspera

You submit your assignment in the digital examination system Inspera. Read about how to submit your assignment.

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 submit your individual written exam 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.

Grading of exams

Grading is based solely on the individual written assignment (exam).

Two examiners: one internal and one external.

You must have passed both compulsory group assignments as well as the individual written exam paper in order to pass the course. If you have passed your compulsory group assignments, but did not pass the individual written exam paper, you are entitled to retake the written individual exam the next time the course is held without having to resubmit the compulsory group assignments. The compulsory group assignments are valid for two years.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

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.

Facts about this course






Every autumn


Every autumn

Teaching language

Norwegian (English on request)