The course syllabus was established by the Board of the Faculty of Social Sciences on 24 January 2007. The course syllabus is decided by the Departmental Board of the Department of Peace and Conflict Research. The course syllabus was revised 15 August 2013 and is valid from that date.
The course is offered during the fall semester. It can be a part of the Bachelors’ programmes in Politics (politices kandidatprogrammet), Social Sciences (samhällsvetarprogrammet), and Peace and Development Studies (kandidatprogrammet i freds- och utvecklingsstudier). The course is also open for students following self-contained courses.
After the course, students are expected to be able to:
explain and discuss central questions and theories on causes, development and resolution of armed conflicts
connect specific research questions to the overall research agenda in peace and conflict research
critically analyse and evaluate different research arguments with the use of a systematic framework
design and evaluate basic research designs by relating theory, methods and empirical data in a coherent way
independently gather, evaluate and compare information and scientific texts on armed conflicts
actively and independently take part in seminar discussions, conduct short presentations as well as act as discussant and defend an independent study
independently conduct theoretically driven empirical studies with a comparative component
discuss and reflect on weaknesses and strengths of different methodological approaches as well as problems related to causal and statistical inference
conduct and interpret studies of both qualitative and quantitative nature
independently solve assignments within allocated time
The aim of the education is to enhance the students’ skills and knowledge on theory and methods in peace and conflict research as well as further train the students’ ability to independently conduct scientific studies. This includes to furthering the ability to connect specific research questions to the overall research agenda in peace and conflict.
The course consists of three modules.
Module 1a. Methods (7.5 credits)
The module focuses on the study of scientific methodology. It consists of a range of techniques and approaches to methodology, including analysis of basic methodological concepts as well as the steps of research. During the module both quantitative and qualitative analytical approaches are introduced, but special emphasis is placed on quantitative techniques. An important part of the module is to further the students ability to identify and elaborate upon the relative strengths and weaknesses of both quantitative and qualitative analyses. How to establish causal links in peace and conflict research is an integral part of the module. The different steps in the research process – formulating the problem, research design, data gathering, interpretation, explanation and reporting (or presenting) – are also an important part of the module. A significant part of the module is done by skills training, including learning basic skills for statistical programs on the computer. The module is given in collaboration with the department of government.
Module 1b. Alternative methods (7.5 credits)
Alternative methods is offered to students who have studied “1a Methods” previously, or students who do not speak Swedish and therefore need to take the course in English. As Methods 1a, the course aims to further the students’ methodological skills and knowledge, through training in a range of methods used in peace and conflict research.
Module 2. Analysing arguments in conflict studies (7.5 credits)
The module provides a smorgasbord of theoretical approaches within peace and conflict research. Special emphasis is placed upon the connection between research questions, theory and empirics within a few central sub-fields. This includes training in how different methodological and analytical approaches can be used for the same research puzzle. In doing so, the module also focuses on the role and function of validity of theoretical claims in research debates within peace and conflict studies. As such, the students are also taught different criteria with which to evaluate validity of arguments, hypotheses, and theories as well as techniques of how to structure, summarize and present positions and arguments of a research debate.
Module 3. Bachelor’s thesis (15 credits)
The module consists of the conduct and defence of a minor scientific study. The Bachelor’s thesis should be written independently and the module also includes developing skills in critically appraising another Bachelor’s thesis (in other words, act as discussant) as well as defending one’s own thesis. Teaching is mainly done in small supervision groups.
Teaching is done through lectures and seminars. Module 1a Methods is conducted in collaboration with the Department of Government, the main language of instruction in this module is Swedish. Module 1b Alternative methods is given in English. In all other modules, lectures are given in English, but students can choose if they want to follow English- or Swedish-speaking seminars.
Examination is conducted primarily through written assignments. The final module – Bachelor’s thesis – is examined through a written independent thesis that is defended orally in a seminar as well as through being discussant on a fellow student’s thesis. Students can choose if they want to do tests in Swedish or English.
Grades are Fail, Pass, and Pass with distinction. Grading criteria are handed out at the start of course modules. To acquire the grade Pass with distinction on the entire course, one needs to acquire Pass with distinction on the module “Bachelor’s thesis”.