Syllabus for Reviewing a Research Field

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A revised version of the syllabus is available.


  • 7.5 credits
  • Course code: 2FK052
  • Education cycle: Second cycle
  • Main field(s) of study and in-depth level: Peace and Conflict Studies A1N

    Explanation of codes

    The code indicates the education cycle and in-depth level of the course in relation to other courses within the same main field of study according to the requirements for general degrees:

    First cycle

    • G1N: has only upper-secondary level entry requirements
    • G1F: has less than 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • G1E: contains specially designed degree project for Higher Education Diploma
    • G2F: has at least 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • G2E: has at least 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements, contains degree project for Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science
    • GXX: in-depth level of the course cannot be classified

    Second cycle

    • A1N: has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • A1F: has second-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • A1E: contains degree project for Master of Arts/Master of Science (60 credits)
    • A2E: contains degree project for Master of Arts/Master of Science (120 credits)
    • AXX: in-depth level of the course cannot be classified

  • Grading system: Fail (U), Pass (G), Pass with distinction (VG)
  • Established: 2015-09-22
  • Established by:
  • Revised: 2019-05-09
  • Revised by: The Department Board
  • Applies from: Autumn 2019
  • Entry requirements:

    Fulfilment of the requirements for a Bachelor's degree with a social science subject as the main field of study.

  • Responsible department: Department of Peace and Conflict Research

Learning outcomes

After completion of this course the student is expected to be able to:

  • identify theories and empirical results within a field of research
  • contrast different theoretical perspectives
  • critically evaluate research findings and implicit assumptions within a field of research
  • present and systematically structure a discussion on the theories and empirical results in a way that combines precision with readability
  • independently delimit, design and write a literature review within the specified time limit
  • present research findings for various audiences
  • adhere to the Department's Policy on Ethical Guidelines for Student Work


This course trains you in writing an advanced review of theory and evidence within a specific research field. The review demonstrates to what extent you are able to identify the most important works, trends and debates within a certain field. Such a review is a necessary ingredient in a master thesis but the skills acquired in this course are also useful in many professional activities involving analytical tasks. Summarizing, identifying and delimiting the boundaries of knowledge are key skills when preparing strategic documents, when deriving policy recommendations and when deciding between various policy options.

The course provides you with the opportunity to acquire skills in how to independently assess the state of knowledge within a given field of research. Online supervision sessions and assignments will assist you in identifying and analysing a specific field of research and you are encouraged to select a field closely linked to a future master thesis. Throughout the course you acquire skills in summarizing and presenting theories and results, including being able to identify and to critically scrutinize the basic assumptions within a field of research. In addition, you will develop skills in how to make literature searches using various databases and in how to best present your literature review for various audiences.


Teaching mainly consists of self-studies, online tutoring, and correspondence with the head teacher and other students via the student portal. To participate in the course, you need a computer with a webcam, a headset and access to the Internet. There will be no common course sessions that you need to attend in Uppsala. The course language is English.

The main body of literature for the course consists of the texts - primarily university press books and peer-reviewed scholarly journal articles - identified by the student as constituting the research field under study. In addition, there is some literature that highlight key skills in the craft of re­view writing and which provide useful examples.


The examination consists of:

  • A final course memo in the form of a written academic literature review
  • Acting as a peer-reviewer and discussant on drafts from fellow students
  • A written policy brief based on the literature review
  • Active contribution to joint discussions in the online forum

Grades: Pass with Distinction (VG), Pass (G) and Fail (U).

If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the University's disability coordinator.

Reading list

Reading list

Applies from: Autumn 2019

Some titles may be available electronically through the University library.

  • Galvan, Jose L.; Galvan, Melisa Writing literature reviews : a guide for students of the social and behavioral sciences

    Seventh edition: New York, NY: Routledge, 2017

    Find in the library


Articles will be added.