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Fieldwork Methods and Interviews (Advanced methodology course – practice-related methods)

Fieldwork Methods and Interviews (Advanced methodology course – practice-related methods)
Master programme in
Global Studies * / International Development Studies * / Business studies * / Social Entrepreneurship and Management * / International Public Administration and Politics * / Business Administration and Leadership * / Business Administration and Leadership / Global and Development Studies / International Politics and Governance / Social Entrepreneurship and Management / Business Administration and Leadership / European Master in Global Studies
Type of activity


Teaching language
Study regulation
Number of participants
Responsible for the activity
Eric Komlavi Hahonou (komlavi@ruc.dk)
Head of study
Study administration
ISE Registration & Exams (ise-exams@ruc.dk)
Exam code(s)
Overall objective

A practice-oriented methodology course aims to equip students to competently apply a given technique or tool that is frequently used in practice.

The course equips students to argue for the applicability and relevance of the technique or tool to the problem, and to apply the technique or tool in work situations.

Detailed description of content

The methodological concept of ”fieldwork” was developed by anthropologists more than a century ago. It originally referred to a long (one year at least), in-depth holistic study of a society. In recent decades, fieldwork methods have been broadened and developed within a variety of disciplines, including global and development studies. Today, fieldwork studies can often be short, intensive and case-oriented. But what is “fieldwork” in practice? Which activities are we dealing with, and how does one prepare for these activities? For what kind of projects are fieldwork-related methods relevant or necessary? Which are the pitfalls of doing fieldwork? This course presents aspects of doing fieldwork, including participant-observation, notes taking, semi-structured interviews (with translator), informal conversation and dialogue, focusing on three stages: preparation, carrying out the fieldwork (the fieldwork period proper), and applying fieldwork data (including visual data and fieldwork notes) in text-writing and analysis. It will also be discussed how one engages with research subjects in an ethically grounded manner (before, during and after the fieldwork period), ensuring correct and proper use of personal data, which in many cases can be sensitive.

The course provides students with knowledge of fieldwork as a qualitative method to produce empirical data within the social sciences. It enhances student skills to formulate a fieldwork strategy with reference to a problem formulation as well as to engage ethical issues pertinent to fieldwork and its application. The course enables students to gain experience, including the analysis of obtained data and its integration into academic publications, and to critically reflect on their experience. Students are expected to carry out a variety of fieldwork techniques with consideration for ethics.

Course material and Reading list

Course material and readings are made available on Moodle.

Overall plan and expected work effort

See inspiration to activity forms here and ETCS declaration here.

The course combines teacher presentations, fieldwork (assignments and exercises both individual and in ad-hoc groups), workshops related to specific techniques, approaches or tools including group work, and plenary discussions. The variety of activities give the students an increased understanding and practical experience of working with the given academic methodology. Students are expected to read academic texts, to receive and provide peer feedback, as well as feedback from team teachers on group work.

In parts of the course, there will be teacher presentations of various lengths and grades. Central to the teaching presentation is that it is expected of the student participant to actively take notes or ask in-depth questions to the teacher. Courses contain several lectures which primarily contain teacher presentations and workshops including group discussion.

An essential part of the course consists of the field work. In connection with the teaching, there will be exercises along the way, the exercises can be individual, in pairs or groups. The primary purpose of the exercises and assignments is for the students to have the opportunity to put their own knowledge into play and collaborate with fellow students on academic topics / concepts / course material. The exercises can have a product, in the form of writing, presentation or other forms. Part of the assignments and exercises are expected to be recycled in the exam.

During plenary discussions on relevant issues from the assignments, lecture and literature can be facilitated, the students have the opportunity to debate and consolidate knowledge on the topic.

Central to the teaching presentation is that the student participant is expected to actively take notes and contribute to the teaching by providing their own input (based on exercises and assignments).


As part of the course, the student is expected to prepare for the fieldwork exercises and assignments (planning, organisation, logistics, semiology), to read the literature, to be ready for the confrontation workshops / lessons / teaching sessions. It is expected that the students prepare for the teaching and that the teacher makes use of the students' preparation in the teaching.

The course is worth 5 ECTS and 135 hours so you need to adjust your workload accordingly. You are expected to attend class and prepare by reading 2-3 compulsory texts every week plus doing the required workshop preparation activities. You are also expected to regularly check the course´s Moodle site and keep yourselves up to date with information. The teaching sessions combine lectures and workshops. The workshops are based on exercises and assignements conducted in the field. They consist of different activities where methods are introduced and tried, and the topics of the lectures and readings come into play.

Evaluation and feedback

The activity are evaluated regularly regarding the study board evaluation procedure. The activity responsible will be orientated about a potential evaluation of the activity at semesterstart. Se link to the study board evaluation praxis here https://intra.ruc.dk/nc/for-ansatte/organisering/raadnaevn- og-udvalg/oversigt-over-studienaevn/studienaevn-for-internationale-studier/arbejdet-medkvalitet- i-uddannelserne/


See Moodle for a detailed description of the course sessions.

Overall learning outcomes

  • At the conclusion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Explain and evaluate key concepts relating to the given technique or tool, using academically relevant terminology

  • Argue for the utility of the technique or tool in practice

  • Master the application of the basic functions of the given technique or tool

  • Take a critical position in relation to the use of the technique or tool in practice.

Form of examination
Individual portfolio exam.

The character limit of the portfolio is maximum 24,000 characters, including spaces. Examples of written products are exercise responses, talking points for presentations, written feedback, reflections, written assignments. The preparation of the products may be subject to time limits.
The character limits include the cover, table of contents, bibliography, figures and other illustrations, but exclude any appendices.

The portfolio is written completely or partially during the course.

The entire portfolio must be handed in at the same time (uploaded to eksamen.ruc.dk). Handing in the portfolio or parts of the portfolio to the supervisor for feedback, cannot replace the upload to eksamen.ruc.dk.

Assessment: 7-point grading scale.
Form of Re-examination
Samme som ordinær eksamen / same form as ordinary exam
Type of examination in special cases
Examination and assessment criteria

Reflect critically on the practice of fieldwork and learning process in academic terms

Argue for the choice of techniques, tools and approaches in relation to a given problem formulation

Explain your analytical strategy to integrate your empirical data into your writing.

Argue for the ethical implications of methodological choices.

Exam code(s)
Exam code(s) : U60381
Last changed 06/03/2023

lecture list:

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

Tuesday 14-02-2023 08:15 - 14-02-2023 10:00 in week 07
Fieldwork Methods and Interviews (BAL, GDS, IPG, VL)

Tuesday 21-02-2023 08:15 - 21-02-2023 12:00 in week 08
Fieldwork Methods and Interviews (BAL, GDS, IPG, VL)

Tuesday 28-02-2023 08:15 - 28-02-2023 12:00 in week 09
Fieldwork Methods and Interviews (BAL, GDS, IPG, VL)

Tuesday 07-03-2023 08:15 - 07-03-2023 12:00 in week 10
Fieldwork Methods and Interviews (GDS, IPG)

Thursday 09-03-2023 12:15 - 09-03-2023 16:00 in week 10
Fieldwork Methods and Interviews (BAL, VL)

Tuesday 14-03-2023 08:15 - 14-03-2023 12:00 in week 11
Fieldwork Methods and Interviews (BAL, GDS, IPG, VL)

Tuesday 21-03-2023 08:15 - 21-03-2023 10:00 in week 12
Fieldwork Methods and Interviews (BAL, GDS, IPG, VL)

Tuesday 11-04-2023 10:00 - 11-04-2023 10:00 in week 15
Fieldwork Methods and Interviews - Exam (BAL, GDS, IPG, VL)

Tuesday 01-08-2023 10:00 - 01-08-2023 10:00 in week 31
Fieldwork Methods and Interviews - Reexam (BAL, GDS, IPG, VL)