LFKK10258U Qualitative Methods in Agricultural Development

Volume 2017/2018

MSc Programme in Agricultural Development
MSc Programme in Agriculture
MSc Programme in Sustainable Development in Agriculture (Agris Mundus)
MSc Programme in Forest and Livelihoods (SUTROFOR)


The knowledge and skills acquired through this course is recommended for for academic work at all levels including thesis work. It is a good choice for students interested in research design, methods, and methodology in general.

Examples are drawn mainly from natural resource management and agricultural development in the global South.

The course provides general skills in qualitative methods with a view to get the full benefit of subsequent thematic courses, thesis work and post-graduate careers.
In the course, we follow the research process from defining the research problem over research design, to selecting the appropriate methods, and then proceed to methods for qualitative data collection and analysis.

Specifically, the students will acquire knowledge in the following fields:
- Introduction to theory of science and different kinds of knowledge (very basic)
-Knowledge on available qualitative methods. Some knowledge about quantitative methods and mixed methods. Understanding pros and cons of each method and of combining them
- When and how to apply selected techniques for data collection (including interviews, questionnaires, participatory appraisals; participatory observation);
- How to plan for data collection
- how to ensure the quality of qualitative data
- how to analyse qualitative data.

The students will, among other things, obtain knowledge on:
- Research processes and design
- Planning and conducting data collection/fieldwork
- Qualitative data collection methods
- Quantitative data collection methods (small scale questionnaire surveys)  and mixed methods
- Data quality
- Some of the approaches to qualitative data analysis.

Learning Outcome

The main aim of the course is for the students to obtain essential skills in relation to conducting qualitative research, including in developing countries. The students will demonstrate that they have obtained these skills through their contributions to group project reports and through oral exams.

The objective is that, at the end of the course, the students can demonstrate that they

1.Can describe the research methods, theoretical aspects of these methods, and other aspects of data collection, which have been introduced during the course, readings, and classes

2. Can formulate a research question and/or a research problem, and can define and make the key concepts operational for an empirical enquiry in the field.
3. Can identify and choose research methods suitable for answering a particular research question/problem given a particular empirical context
4. Can argue convincingly for their choice of methods referring to theory as well as to the given empirical context.
5. Can elaborate a realistic time line for field research
6. Can apply the research methods and concepts introduced in the course
7. Can analyse data and draw conclusions in relation to a given research question/problem and reflect critically on own choice of methods and quality of data.

8. Through the project work, the students will demonstrate that they can work in a team under time pressure

Useful as introduction: Mikkelsen,B. 2005. Methods for Development Work and Research. A New Guide for Practitioners, SAGE

This course is open to all students who want to improve their skills, competencies and knowledge about qualitative data collection methods. It is strongly recommended, however, that you have a bachelor degree. Examples will often be taken from a developing country context, but you can benefit from the course also if you have other interests.
Lectures, group project with practical exercises, case descriptions, theoretical exercises
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Exam
  • 2
  • Guidance
  • 2
  • Lectures
  • 30
  • Preparation
  • 67
  • Project work
  • 90
  • Theory exercises
  • 15
  • Total
  • 206
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 25 minutes under invigilation
The 25 minutes of examination include assessment.

Weight: Oral exam counts for 100% of final mark.
Exam registration requirements

Project report passed

All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
More than one internal examiner

If the student has not handed in the project report, then it must be handed in two weeks prior to the re-exam. It must be approved before the exam.

Criteria for exam assesment

To obtain the grade 12 the student must fullfil the Learning outcome