AGDK14012U  Applying mixed methods

Volume 2015/2016
Education

Data are conceived, identified, gathered, structured, and analyzed in complex and messy situations. Often, social scientists collect both quantitative and qualitative data and seek to integrate and combine these in a coherent form – i.e. a mixed methods approach is used. This course gives students an opportunity to learn from practicing such a mixed methods approaches to social science research, with an emphasis on the application of methods that yield both qualitative and quantitative data. In doing so, students will experience the potential benefits of applying a mixed methods approach in real world situations.

The main objective of this course is for students to gain experience of collecting data in practice and, in turn, to appreciate how different approaches to data collection affect the findings obtained, as well as create awareness about ethical issues in connection to empirical data collection. In order to get as close as possible to a realistic data collection experience (whether for research or evaluation for example), the course includes 2 weeks of field research in a context of relevance to themes of global development.

Students will work in groups to define their own research questions. In turn, they will design and implement mixed methods field research to answer these questions. The outputs expected of students include: a group report that summarizes the research process and results; and an individual final essay that reflects on the experience of applying mixed methods field research.

Learning Outcome

This course aims to enable students to design and implement mixed social science research methods in complex and messy situations. In addition, students should be enabled to concisely communicate and critically reflect on their research findings in light of the specific research methods chosen and the corresponding process of data collection.

Having completed the course, students should be able to:

Knowledge

  • describe and define central concepts of relevance to social science data collection and interpretation;

  • show an understanding of the application of mixed methods that include qualitative and quantitative data collection methods;

Skills

  • design a research plan for field study, incorporating mixed methods;

  • collect and process relevant data during fieldwork;

  • discuss and compare data obtained by various methods in interdisciplinary fieldwork;

Competencies

  • analyze how data collection methods and their application shape research findings;

reflect on ethical concerns in relation to empirical research. 

The course will be undertaken on a full-time basis over 8 weeks. This will involve 3 weeks of preparation including methods training and research preparation; 2 weeks of field work; and 3 weeks of report writing and a final evaluation. Throughout the course, students will work in groups to design, undertake and report on their own piece of field research. The groups will be formed by the teachers at the start of the course and each group will be assigned a field location for their empirical work. The location of the fieldwork will vary on an annual basis. Locations will be chosen to represent the breadth of the scope of the overall education. Where possible, field courses will be carried out in collaboration with partner universities and local external stakeholders.
Credit
15 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment, -
The final evaluation comprises a reflection essay on the field research. The essay will have to answer a specific set of questions regarding the field research and must be kept within a certain word limit that will be defined by the teachers.
Exam registration requirements

Two mandatory assignments must be satisfactorily completed (in groups) at specific points during the course. These are: 
• Research proposal, incl. research design and field work plan to be completed before field work phase. If this is not passed, students will not be allowed to join the field work. 
• Final research report at the termination of the course, prior to the final evaluation. If this is not passed, students will not be allowed to the final exam. 

 

Aid
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Criteria for exam assesment

Se learning outcomes

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 40
  • Seminar
  • 20
  • Field Work
  • 100
  • Exam Preparation
  • 120
  • Preparation
  • 120
  • Exam
  • 20
  • Total
  • 420