European Studies: Epistemological Approaches and Research Design

Course - first cycle - 15 credits

Syllabus for students spring 2024, spring 2023, spring 2022, spring 2021, spring 2020, spring 2019

Course Code:
ES160L revision 1.2
Swedish name:
Europastudier: Epistemologiska perspektiv och forskningsmetodik
Level of specialisation
Main fields of study:
European Studies
Date of ratification:
30 October 2018
Decision-making body:
Faculty of Culture and Society
Enforcement date:
21 January 2019
Replaces Syllabus ratified:
28 February 2018

Entry requirements

60 hp within the major subject of European Studies, including the course 'ES131L European Studies: Research Methods and Minor Thesis', or equivalent.

Specialisation and progression relative to the degree regulations

The course is part of the main field of study European studies at the 61-90 credit level and meets the degree requirements for the degree of Bachelor, main field of study European Studies.


The aim of the course is for students to develop and deepen their knowledge of different scientific traditions in the social sciences and humanities, and of multi- and interdisciplinarity; and furthermore to deepen their knowledge of, and ability to apply, scientific methods and theories through problems and analysis in European Studies.


The course covers important theoretical, philosophical and methodological issues and perspectives relevant to European studies - such as positivism, hermeneutics, critical theory, and theories that challenge these traditions such as post-structuralism, gender theory and post-colonial theoretical perspectives. In this context, a historiographic review of the subject is also presented. The focus moves on to how epistemological perspectives and choices connect to different methods and theories, to allow us to gain knowledge in the social sciences in general, and European studies in particular. The third aspect of the course is a more direct preparation for the writing of Bachelor thesis in European Studies (the final course on the program, ES165L), in which each student begins a specialized literature review, the definition of a research problem, and the search for relevant source material and suitable methods and concepts. This course is a continuation of the basic course in methodology and thesis writing of term 3 in the Bachelor programme of European Studies (ES131L).

Learning outcomes

After completing the course, the student should:
1. Show basic knowledge and understanding of epistemological problems and perspectives.
2. Be able to demonstrate an independent approach to the use of epistemology and methodology be used in European studies.
3. Show a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of the research process, including how the research question, methodology and empirical data affect the research results.
4. Show a developed ability to assimilate and critically evaluate methodological aspects in academic texts.
5. Show an in-depth ability to put their methodological knowledge into practice.

Learning activities

Self-study, lectures, seminars, continuous supervision


o Portfolio that includes active participation in the preparation and implementation of seminars (4 hp).
o Individual written assignments and essay-PM (6 hp)
o The writing of a scientific article that critically go through a scientific thesis/corresponding fields of knowledge related to Europe and which is essential for the student's forthcoming research paper (5 hp)

Grading system

Excellent (A), Very Good (B), Good (C), Satisfactory (D), Pass (E) or Fail (U).

Course literature and other teaching materials

  • Booth, Wayne, Gregory Colomb and Williams, Joseph (2016) The Craft of Research, Chicago, 4th edn.
  • Bryman, Alan (2015), Social Research Methods, 5th edition, Oxford University Press.
  • Delanty, Gerary & Strydom, Piet (2003), Philosophies of social science: the classic and contemporary readings. Open University
+ up to 300 pages of other readings, which may vary from year to year.

Course evaluation

The University provides students who participate in or who have completed a course with the opportunity to make known their experiences and viewpoints with regards to the course by completing a course evaluation administered by the University. The University will compile and summarize the results of course evaluations as well as informing participants of the results and any decisions relating to measures initiated in response to the course evaluations. The results will be made available to the students (HF 1:14).

Interim rules

If a course ceases to be available or has undergone any major changes, the students are to be offered two opportunities to retake the examination during the year following the change for re-examination, based on the syllabus which applied at registration.

Other Information

The Language of Instruction is English