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I Introductory note
The purpose of the exam is to test the student’s ability to use knowledge on the key principles,
steps, and quality criteria in social science research design from the curriculum to draft an own
research design on an assigned topic. Students ought to display mastery of the subject and a
high level of precision in the mention of research design principles, key decisions and
alternatives, key arguments to justify design choices, quality criteria and ethical implications.
At the same time, the exam is primarily about the use of the subject matter to propose a
concrete research design for a pre-assigned topic. The exam requires students to take – and
critically reflect upon – choices and justifications in research design based on the key readings.
It is therefore not enough to identify and reproduce the relevant curriculum material. More
detailed assessment guidelines are attached in the rubric-based overview on page 2.
II Details on the exam
Type: individual written essay
Length: 5000 words (+/- 10 %)
The students are expected to present a developed research design for an assigned
research problem (problemstilling; see attached list of ten research problems).
o The students are expected to formulate a research question that is linked to
this research problem.
The essay should include the following elements:
1. formulated research questions, explanation how they link to the research problem
and discussion about the types of research questions (descriptive, exploratory,
2. developed criteria and approach for selecting literature for review and justification
3. brief discussion of possible theoretical approaches that may be suitable for the study
in question (not more than 500 words);
4. discussion of whether the study will be qualitative, quantitative or mixed-methods
and justification of that choice;
5. explanation of how case selection and/or sample selection will be conducted, why
that particular approach is appropriate for the research problem and what
implications this has for bias;
6. justification of what data will be collected, how it will be analysed, and why is that
the appropriate way for the study in question;
7. discussion of limitations of the various choices above, including different types of
validities and reliability of the study in question
8. discussion of ethical implications of the research.
When presenting the various research design choices and justifying them, the
students are expected to refer to the relevant literature from this course. It is also
acceptable to use other literature (e.g. from previous methodological courses), in
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