Stockholm university
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Research design

The course provides students with advanced knowledge and insights into planning and designing social science research projects.

The course thereby develops students' critical approach to science and research, as well as knowledge and skills in, among other things, formulating research problems and research questions, planning for data/material collection and analysis, operationalizing and delimiting, and justifying different choices in research design.

The course also enhances students' understanding of how the different parts of a research design - previous research, research problem, theory, method, and material - are interconnected, and how research design relates to epistemological assumptions.


Important Notice: From the Autumn term of 2024 onwards, this course will be available only to students enrolled in the department's master's programmes.

  • Course structure

    Learning outcomes

    For a passing result on the course, the student should be able to:

    • Critically evaluate and discuss different research designs within the fields of economic history and/or international relations.
    • Reflect on the connections between different parts of a research design and its epistemological assumptions.
    • Develop and present a research design for a feasible research project within the field of economic history or international relations.

    Teaching format

    Instruction is given in the form of lectures and seminars. Seminar attendance is mandatory and students are expected to participate actively and contribute to them.

    All courses on the Department's Master's level are all held in English.


    The course assessment consists of participation in mandatory seminar discussions, and through written assignments.

    In order to pass the course, students must receive the grade E or higher on all examinations, complete all mandatory assignments and meet the attendance requirement.

  • Schedule

    The schedule will be available no later than one month before the start of the course. We do not recommend print-outs as changes can occur. At the start of the course, your department will advise where you can find your schedule during the course.
  • Course literature

    Note that the course literature can be changed up to two months before the start of the course.

    Valid from 2023


    • Blaikie, Norman (2007). Approaches to social enquiry: advancing knowledge. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Polity. (Majority of the book)
    • Biggam, John (2018 or 2021). Succeeding with your master's dissertation a step-by-step handbook. 4th or 5th ed. London. (Majority of the book. The 4th edition / 2018 is available as e-book at SU library)

    For articles and single chapters, see the course description.

  • Contact

    For general questions regarding application, registration and more
    The Department's Master's Student Office


    Question about the course
    Course convener and Examiner: Elise Dermineur Reuterswärd