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Fieldwork Methods and Interviews (Advanced methodology course – collection, treatment and analysis of data)

Fieldwork Methods and Interviews (Advanced methodology course – collection, treatment and analysis of data)
Master programme in
Global Studies * / International Development Studies * / Social Science * / Business studies * / Social Entrepreneurship and Management * / International Public Administration and Politics * / Politics and Administration * / Public Administration * / Business Administration and Leadership * / Business Administration and Leadership / Global and Development Studies / International Politics and Governance / Public Administration / Social Entrepreneurship and Management / Social Science / Business Administration and Leadership / European Master in Global Studies
Type of activity


Teaching language
Study regulation

Read about the Master Programme and find the Study Regulations at [ruc.dk](https://ruc.dk/kandidat/uddannelser "ruc.dk


You register for activities through stads selvbetjening during the announced registration period, which you can see on the Study administration homepage.

When registering for courses, please be aware of the potential conflicts and overlaps between course and exam time and dates. The planning of course activities at Roskilde University is based on the recommended study programmes, which should not overlap. However, if you choose optional courses and/or study plans that goes beyond the recommended study programmes, an overlap of lectures or exam dates may occur depending on which courses you choose.

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

An advanced course in social scientific methodology aims to equip students to competently select and apply a given method for the collection, treatment and analysis of data, for the purpose of illuminating an academic problem.

The course enables students to argue for the applicability and relevance of the method to the problem, and to master the techniques of the method at a professional level.

Detailed description of content

Fieldwork refers to methods related to experience and practice of producing empirical data. Whereas ”fieldwork” was developed by anthropologists more than a century ago to designate the approach and methods used to conduct in-depth holistic study of a society, in recent decades fieldwork has been broadened and developed within a variety of disciplines, including global and development studies. In today's world, 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, preparatory or reflexive workshops related to specific techniques, approaches or tools including group work, and plenary discussions. The variety of activities gives 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 or assignments along the way (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 assess, using appropriate terminology, the advantages and disadvantages of collecting and analysing data using the given methodology

  • Apply the given method confidently and independently to a specific academic issue

  • Reflect on research ethical issues relating to the method

  • Communicate the results obtained through the application of the method in an academically precise manner.

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

Argue for the ethical implications of methodological choices.

Exam code(s)
Exam code(s) : U60381
Last changed 26/04/2023

lecture list:

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

Tuesday 12-09-2023 08:15 - 12-09-2023 10:00 in week 37
Fieldwork Methods and Interviews (BAL, GDS, IPG, VL)

Tuesday 19-09-2023 08:15 - 19-09-2023 12:00 in week 38
Fieldwork Methods and Interviews (BAL, GDS, IPG, VL)

Tuesday 26-09-2023 08:15 - 26-09-2023 12:00 in week 39
Fieldwork Methods and Interviews (BAL, GDS, IPG, VL)

Tuesday 03-10-2023 08:15 - 03-10-2023 12:00 in week 40
Fieldwork Methods and Interviews (BAL, GDS, IPG, VL)

Tuesday 10-10-2023 08:15 - 10-10-2023 12:00 in week 41
Fieldwork Methods and Interviews (BAL, GDS, IPG, VL)

Tuesday 31-10-2023 08:15 - 31-10-2023 10:00 in week 44
Fieldwork Methods and Interviews (BAL, GDS, IPG, VL)

Friday 01-12-2023 10:00 - 01-12-2023 10:00 in week 48
Fieldwork Methods and Interviews - hand-in, exam

Thursday 15-02-2024 10:00 - 15-02-2024 10:00 in week 07
Fieldwork Methods and Interviews - hand-in, reexam