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Methods of Qualitative Analysis


Credits: 4 ECTS

Second semester

Elective Courses




This course is intended for students interested in qualitative research in a variety of different settings in the field of International Relations, International Security, Public Policy or International Development. The aim of the course is to give students the tools to design and carry out their individual MA dissertation projects in addition to future research work in a professional setting. Students will learn about the philosophical underpinnings of different qualitative research methods as well as acquire hands on experience with using qualitative research methods techniques. 


The final grade is the sum of the following criteria:

  • Final Essay: 60%
  • 5 Reading Reports and student presentation in class (Sessions 3-7): 40%

The Final Essay consists of a 2,000-2,500 words essay on the particular characteristics of a qualitative method covered in class and applied to a case study.

The Reading Reports consist of writing a report based on required readings (and additional sources, if need be) related to a specific qualitative method (max. 2 pages) and connecting the method with a case study, preferably the student’s MA dissertation topic. The Reading Reports will thereafter be presented by the students in class in the corresponding session. The Reading Reports should be turned in to the professor at end of class of the corresponding session. The teacher’s evaluation of the Reading Report and its presentation will take into account the structure and clarity of the information provided in the Reading Report, its proficiency in applying the method on the case study as well as the student’s aptness of and preparation for the Reading Report presentation. The final Reading Report grade will be based on the highest grade of all the reports/presentation carried out during the semester. At least four Reading Reports must have been turned in during the course to qualify for a full grade. The teacher reserves the right to penalize any student for late submission of Reading Reports and/or not fulfilling the quota of at least four Reading Reports during the semester

The classes are based on active learning philosophy (student-centered learning), whereby students assume responsibility for a predominant part of their individual learning experience both inside and outside of the classroom. It should thus be noted that the course objectives can only be achieved if students come prepared to each session in terms of readings and/or assignments, as well as engage actively in each session.