Reviewing a Research Field

7.5 credits

Syllabus, Master's level, 2FK052

A revised version of the syllabus is available.
Education cycle
Second cycle
Main field(s) of study and in-depth level
Peace and Conflict Studies A1N
Grading system
Fail (U), Pass (G), Pass with distinction (VG)
Finalised by
The Department Board, 9 May 2019
Responsible department
Department of Peace and Conflict Research

Entry requirements

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

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.