Syllabus for Scientific Methods in Business Research

Vetenskapliga metoder i företagsekonomi

A revised version of the syllabus is available.


  • 7.5 credits
  • Course code: 2FE861
  • Education cycle: Second cycle
  • Main field(s) of study and in-depth level: Business 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: 2017-02-01
  • Established by:
  • Revised: 2020-02-05
  • Revised by: The Department Board
  • Applies from: Autumn 2020
  • Entry requirements:

    A Bachelor's degree, equivalent to a Swedish Kandidatexamen, from an internationally recognised university. Also required is 90 credits in business studies. Proficiency in English equivalent to the Swedish upper secondary course English 6.

    For incoming exchange students, exceptions can be made from the requirement of 90 credits in business studies, provided that special reasons are considered to exist.

  • Responsible department: Department of Business Studies

Decisions and guidelines

Master's Programme in Business and Management - specialisation Marketing, International Business, Organisation. Master's Programme in Accounting and Financial Management - specialisation Financial Accounting, Management and Control, Financial Management.

Learning outcomes

This course introduces students to scientific methods in business studies, presenting various perspectives on philosophy of science and methods used in social science. A range of qualitative and quantitative methods for generating knowledge are described and practised.

Upon completion of the course, students should be able to:

  • describe general characteristics of developments in philosophy of science by recognising and naming different schools of thought and their primary traits.
  • discuss and compare various methodological alternatives in the conduct of a scientific investigation, and understand the consequences of choices of research design and the data collection method.
  • apply different methods of sampling, data collection and analysis of empirical information. This includes skills in both quantitative and qualitative methods.
  • argue for the choice of a research design by motivating and assessing the strengths and weaknesses of different methods.
  • develop a research design to conduct an empirical study.


The course includes topics related to research methods that provide the student with the necessary knowledge and tools to conduct a scientific study in business. The main topics covered are:

  • Philosophy of science in relation to social sciences.
  • Formulation of research problems, research questions, and choice of research design.
  • Methods for sampling, collecting and analysing both qualitative and quantitative data.


The teaching format is highly interactive with practical exercises, supported by lectures and seminars. The course includes the following elements:

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Exercises

The course is taught in English.


The student will get one single grade, equivalent to 7.5 credits.

Students will be assessed individually and in groups. The examination consists of:

  • Individual written assignment.
  • Mandatory group exercises on qualitative and quantitative methods.
  • Individual written test.

The grade for the entire course is based on an assessment of all parts of the examination.

Grading criteria are presented in the study guide that applies to the course section. The following grades will be used: pass with distinction (VG), pass (G), and fail (U). Examinations handed in late will not be assessed except under special circumstances. Any remaining supplemental work must be completed and handed in by the deadline specified in the study guide. Otherwise the entire course (all examinations included) must be retaken during subsequent course sections.

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.

Uppsala University does not accept cheating or plagiarism. Suspected incidents of cheating or plagiarism are reported to the Vice-Chancellor, which may issue a formal warning to the student or suspend the student from studies for a certain period.

NOTE: Only completed courses can count toward a degree.

Other directives

The course overlaps among other Scientific Methods in Business Research (Contract Education) 8FE861 and Philosophy of Science and Research Methods 2FE991.

Reading list

Reading list

Applies from: Autumn 2020

Some titles may be available electronically through the University library.

  • Additional articles, exercises, and assignments

    Företagsekonomiska institutionen,


  • Pallant, Julie SPSS survival manual : a step by step guide to data analysis using IBM SPSS

    6. ed.: Maidenhead: Open University Press, 2016

    Find in the library


  • Van de Ven, Andrew H. Engaged scholarship : a guide for organizational and social research

    Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007

    Find in the library