English translation of course syllabus

Research Design and Methodology in Environmental Studies, 7.5 credits

(Miljövetenskaplig forskningsdesign och metodologi, 7,5 högskolepoäng)

Course code 19F1001
Discipline for doctoral studies Environmental Science
Academic school School of Natural Sciences, Technology and Environmental Studies
Research area for doctoral studies Environmental Studies
Grading scale G
Education cycle Doctoral studentship
Language of instruction English
Valid from First six months of 2013


This course syllabus was validated by the Committee for Research and Doctoral Education at Södertörn University on 2012-10-29 according to the stipulations in the Higher Education Ordinance

Entry requirements

Admitted to doctoral studentship

Learning outcomes

After completing the course, the doctoral student can:

  • contrast the important differences and similarities between central research methodologies in relation to environmental studies,
  • explain how assumptions within dominant scientific methodologies influence the type of knowledge that can be obtained within each methodology,
  • explain how assumptions within scientific paradigms and methodologies influence the understanding of what an environmental problem is, including how knowledge of environmental problems can be obtained,
  • critically review research designs in a selection of scholarly articles in the field of environmental studies,
  • analyse how the choice of research methodology and a multidisciplinary approach affect how results are presented in environmental studies’ texts, and
  • reflect on how different methodologies entail searching for different types of knowledge, and how these different knowledge claims can influence the interpretation of fundamental social values such as democracy, deliberation and sustainable development.

Course content, modules and examinations

The course examines dominant research methodologies within environmental studies and how they relate to evidence-based analysis, constructivism, hermeneutics and critical realism. The focus is on research design and methodology, including how the view of what type of knowledge it is possible to attain affect the study’s overall design. Considerable emphasis will also be placed on how different environmental problems can be understood, as well as how this understanding relates to theoretical and methodological traditions. The course also examines which research methodologies have been and are significant in environmental studies, where a high level of pluralism and multidisciplinary now predominates. Therefore, an important part of the course is the understanding of changes over time and how these changes have contributed to diversity in contemporary environmental research.

Course design

After one or a few introductory lectures on perspectives in research methodology and design issues, there will be seminars in which classic works, contemporary texts, and relevant scholarly articles are discussed.

Examination format

The course is assessed through assignments that are prepared for seminars, combined with active participation in these seminars.

The grading criteria are distributed prior to the start of a course or module.

If a student has a certificate from Södertörn University for compensatory support, the examiner has the right to decide on an adapted examination or alternative form of examination in accordance with Södertörn University's regulations.

Restrictions on accreditation

The course may not be accredited as part of a degree if the contents are partly or wholly the same as a course previously taken in Sweden or elsewhere.