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Advanced Methodology Course: Case Study Methods and Proces Tracing

Public Administration / global studies / International Development Studies / Politics and Administration / Social Science / International Public Administration and Politics
master course
Teaching language

Tilmelding sker via stads selvbetjening indenfor annonceret tilmeldingsperiode, som du kan se på Studieadministrationens hjemmeside Når du tilmelder dig kurset, skal du være opmærksom på, om der er sammenfald i tidspunktet for kursusafholdelse og eksamen med andre kurser, du har valgt. Uddannelsesplanlægningen tager udgangspunkt i, at det er muligt at gennemføre et anbefalet studieforløb uden overlap. Men omkring valgfrie elementer og studieplaner som går ud over de anbefalede studieforløb, kan der forekomme overlap, alt efter hvilke kurser du vælger.

Registration through stads self-service within the announced registration period, as you can see on the Studyadministration homepage. When registering for courses, please be aware of the potential conflicts between courses or exam dates on courses. The planning of course activities at Roskilde University is based on the recommended study programs, which do not overlap. However, if you choose optional courses and/or study plans that goes beyond the recommended study programs, an overlap of lectures or exam dates may occur depending on which courses you choose.

Detailed description of content

Case studies are currently experiencing an amazing revival, especially in comparative studies that examine diversity, single case studies that process-trace causal mechanisms, and studies that combine different case-study approaches. This new course takes you to the front of these new developments by investigating and discussing these three case study methodologies and critically assessing their application in concrete social science analyses.

Case studies differ from quantitative studies by having a small number of cases, a large number of empirical observations per case, and a diversity of empirical observations for each case, as well as by reflecting on the relationship between empirical observations and abstract theoretical concepts. Besides this general definition, there is a variety of approaches to case studies which this course explores.

The course consists of five parts. The first part gives a general introduction to different case study definitions and research designs. The following three parts go into detail with single case studies, comparative studies, and process-tracing studies. We will investigate their typical research goals and research questions; ontological and epistemological foundations and affinities; case selection strategies; relation to prior knowledge and theories; measurement; data collection and analysis; and direction of generalization. The final part, first, compares the various case study approaches, and, second, explains how these case study approaches may be combined in mixed method research designs.

Students completing the course will gain: Knowledge of: • The state-of-the-art of different case study approaches, i.e. single case, comparative case studies and process-tracing • Scientific criteria with which to assess case studies • How to combine different case study design in mixed method designs Skills to: • Analyse and criticise existing case studies • Design and implement different types of case study Compentences to: • Reflect on, identify, design and implement various types of case study research designs • Design case studies using mixed method designs • E valuate the consequences of analytical choices

Expected work effort (ects-declaration)

Class teaching: 17.5 hours. Other teaching (assignments, peer review, etc.) 20 hours. Preparation: 80 hours. Examination: 20 hours. Total number of hours: 137.5.

Course material and reading list

The course material consists of articles and book chapters designated for each session and communicated on the course site on moodle. The course text book is: - Blatter, J. and M. Haverland. 2012. Designing Case Studies: Explanatory Approaches in Small-N Research. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. (Available from Academic Books, RUC's campus book store)

Evaluation- and feedback forms

The course consists of lectures, class-based discussions, and peer reviewed exercises. During the course, students must write assignments which are peer evaluated.

Administration of exams
ISE Studieadministration (ise-studieadministration@ruc.dk)
The responsible course lecturer
Line Engbo Gissel (lgissel@ruc.dk)
Type of examination

Individual portfolio consisting of written products and other types of products.

The portfolio consists of 3 to 5 products that are prepared in whole or in part during the course. For example, products can be exercise responses, speech papers for presentations, feedback, reflection, written assignments, wiki contributions, sound productions and visual productions. The preparation of the products may be subject to time limits.

The total size of the portfolio’s written products must be between 24,000 - 31,200 characters in length, including spaces.

The size specifications include the cover, table of contents, bibliography, figures and other illustrations, but exclude any appendices. The specific content and form of the portfolio, as well as any indicative size specifications for the various written products will be determined before the beginning of the course and published on the university's website.

The portfolio is delivered collectively (uploaded at eksamen.ruc.dk). Any potential partial deliveries to the lecturer in order to get feedback are not a substitute for the collective delivery.

The deadline for handing in the work will be published on the university’s homepage before the course begins. An overall assessment of the portfolio is given.

Assessment: 7-point grading scale.


Same as ordinary

Learning outcomes and assessment criteria

Knowledge and understanding:

Knowledge and understanding of academic and/or scientifically based practice-oriented methods and their application and relevance on an advanced level

Being able to understand and critically reflect upon academic and/or scientifically based practice-oriented methods in the field of social science research and how they are used in the students’ future careers as, for example, lecturers, project managers, consultants, managers or researchers

  • Skills:

    Carrying out studies and analyses with the aid of academic and/or scientifically based practice-oriented methods

  • Evaluating and selecting methods from research-related and professional practices

  • Being able to communicate and discuss academic and/or scientifically based practice-oriented studies in a type of language that is correct, clear, professionally accurate, well-structured and well-argued.

  • Competences:

    Working with colleagues in the application of various academic and/or scientifically based practice-oriented methods and forms of analysis in relation to relevant issues in research and professional contexts

  • Reflection on one’s own learning and taking responsibility for one’s own professional development

Overall content
  • Research and professional premises for academic and scientifically based practice-oriented analyse
  • Approaches to the use of academic and/or scientifically based practice-oriented tools in research and professional contexts, respectively
Prerequisites for participation
Currently no data from curriculum.
Prerequisites for participation in the exam
Currently no data from curriculum.
Teaching and working methods

Lectures, exercises, student presentations, peer feedback and discussions. The course requires that the students contribute and participate actively. Handing in the assignments on an ongoing basis is not required in order to participate in the examination, but typically it would be an advantage to do so. Thus, part of the portfolio can contain elements related to the teaching and ongoing submissions, such as feedback.

Type of course

Optional course

Exam code(s)
Exam code(s) : U40846
Last changed 14/02/2020

lecture list:

Show lessons for Subclass: 1 Find calendar (1) PDF for print (1)

Monday 10-02-2020 12:15 - 10-02-2020 14:00 in week 07
Case Study Methods

Monday 17-02-2020 12:15 - 17-02-2020 14:00 in week 08
Case Study Methods

Monday 24-02-2020 12:15 - 24-02-2020 14:00 in week 09
Case Study Methods

Monday 02-03-2020 12:15 - 02-03-2020 14:00 in week 10
Case Study Methods

Monday 09-03-2020 12:15 - 09-03-2020 14:00 in week 11
Case Study Methods

Monday 16-03-2020 12:15 - 16-03-2020 14:00 in week 12
Case Study Methods

Monday 23-03-2020 12:15 - 23-03-2020 14:00 in week 13
Case Study Methods

Monday 30-03-2020 12:15 - 30-03-2020 14:00 in week 14
Case Study Methods

Monday 20-04-2020 12:15 - 20-04-2020 14:00 in week 17
Case Study Methods

Monday 27-04-2020 12:15 - 27-04-2020 14:00 in week 18
Case Study Methods

Thursday 04-06-2020 10:00 - 04-06-2020 10:00 in week 23
Exam hand-in: Case Study Methods

Monday 10-08-2020 10:00 - 10-08-2020 10:00 in week 33
Re-exam hand-in: Case Study Methods