SDMM15004U Research Methodology and Ethics, Master of Disaster Management

Volume 2015/2016

Master of Disaster Management - compulsory


The course introduces the principal study designs, methodological approaches and ethical considerations in disaster research; with a focus on research development.

Specifically, the course covers:

  • Critical literature review for identification of relevant knowledge gaps, research problems and questions.
  • Quantitative methods for primary and secondary data collection - including definition of outcomes and variables; target population; sampling; sample size calculation; and questionnaire design. Central issues on data management, validation, and analyses using statistical software (e.g. SPSS) are also covered.
  • Qualitative methods for primary data collection including focus group discussions; key informant interviews; and participant observation. Data management validation and analyses including field note analyses are also covered.
  • Mixed methods approaches in terms of the rationale for use, common procedures, and limitations.
  • Basic principles and statutes on research ethics focusing on the specific challenges within disaster research.
Learning Outcome


On completion of the course, students should be able to:

  • Critically appraise relevant scientific research methodologies and their application in disaster management.



On completion of the course, students should be able to:

  • Retrieve and critically review scientific literature and information from peer-reviewed and grey literature sources.
  • Identify research problems and formulate relevant research questions within the field of disaster management and define and delimit study objectives.
  • Choose study designs and identify appropriate methods for data collection and analysis.
  • Discuss possible ethical considerations and limitations.
  • Critically interpret and discuss research findings in relation to existing evidence within the field.



On completion of the course, students should be able to:

  • Formulate a consistent and clear synopsis in preparation for a small-scale research project.
  • Communicate research findings according to the IMRAD structure for scientific literature.


The course is a blended learning course with an initial two-week face-to-face component and a concluding one-week e-learning module. Learning activities will include a combination of interactive lectures, think-pair-share exercises, individual and group work on case studies, and plenary discussions. The e-learning module will make use of WIKIs for team assignments, Adobe Presenter sessions, online discussion forums and quizzes.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Exercises
  • 42
  • Class Instruction
  • 27
  • Exam
  • 16
  • Preparation
  • 123
  • Total
  • 208
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Written Assignment (5-page Synopsis)
All aids allowed
Marking scale
passed/not passed
Censorship form
No external censorship
One internal examiner
Exam period

See the exam plan

Criteria for exam assesment

To achieve the grade, PASSED, the student must be able to:


  • Identify and critically evaluate the relevance and validity of scientific literature and data within the field of disaster management.



  • Describe relevant research problems and formulate specific research questions and objectives to be addressed within the framework of a master thesis research project.
  • Determine appropriate study designs and critically discuss relevant quantitative and/or qualitative data collection and analysis methods that align with these designs.



  • Apply knowledge of general concepts for ensuring good academic and research practice including the key concept in research ethics.
  • Synthesise all of the above into a consistent synopsis adhering to the conventional structures for scientific literature.