Research Design and Semester Project


Content, progress and pedagogy of the module


  • To provide students with an understanding of the main components of a research project including the linkages between problem identification, research questions, methodological choices and research designs.  

  • To give students further insight into a variety of social scientific research strategies, including qualitative and quantitative research designs and methods within the field of international relations.  

  • To enable students to understand and reflect critically upon various types of research designs.  

  • To enable students to select, describe and implement their own methodological choices and research designs addressing their research question, and to communicate their choices in their own project writing. 


Based on knowledge and understanding of the main components of a research project, students will explore various methodological choices including concrete techniques of data selection, collection and analysis in qualitative and quantitative research. Focus will be on discussing quality criteria in the contexts of both qualitative and quantitative research designs in order to approach academic research designs critically. Emphasis will be placed on how students can apply and critically assess these methods in their own project work, in order to enable students to make well-founded and ethically sound choices in their own project work. Furthermore, students will gain insight into the use of digital tools for qualitative and quantitative data collection, analysis, and referencing, including comsiderations regarding ethics and data protection. 

Learning objectives


  • the linkages between problem identification, research questions, methodological choices and research designs 

  • qualitative and quantitative social scientific methods within the field of international relations 

  • the application of qualitative and quantitative methods to answer international relations research questions 


  • can identify and delimit a research problem and create a research strategy suitable for answering the problem statement 

  • can apply their knowledge to select theories that serve the analytical purpose and at the same time remain critical to these theories. 

  • can collect empirical data systematically in order to solve a problem and integrate theory and empirical data on an interdisciplinary basis 

  • can make well-founded methodological choices in their own work 

  • can assess existing research in the field of international relations critically 


  • Can collaborate on project writing in an interdisciplinary team  

  • Can structure and clearly communicate knowledge obtained through project work  

  • Can critically reflect on and argue for choice of theory, research design and data selection in their project writing  

  • Can reflect on ethics and data protection in diverse settings, online as well as offline 

Type of instruction

The module consists of lectures, exercises, student contributions, group work, and supervision 



Name of examResearch Design and Semester Project
Type of exam
Oral exam based on a project
The examination for research design and semester project is an internally assessed group-based examination consisting of an oral examination on the basis of a written project. The topic of the project must be related to the modules of the semester.

1 student: min 15 pages, max 20 pages (only possible with a dispensation from the study board)
2 students: min 20 pages, max 30 pages (only possible with a dispensation from the study board)
3 students: min 25 pages, max 40 pages
4 students: min 30 pages, max 50 pages
5-6 students: min 35 pages, max 60 pages

Duration of examination: The maximum duration of the examination is 20 minutes per student plus 10 minutes per project, up to a total limit of two hours. This includes time for grading and announcement of the result.
Assessment7-point grading scale
Type of gradingInternal examination
Criteria of assessmentThe criteria of assessment are stated in the Examination Policies and Procedures

Facts about the module

Danish titleResearch Design and Semester Project
Module code2022IR1
Module typeProject
Duration1 semester
Language of instructionEnglish
Location of the lectureCampus Aalborg
Responsible for the module


Education ownerMaster of Science (MSc) in Social Sciences in International Relations
Study BoardStudy Board of Politics and Society
DepartmentDepartment of Politics and Society
FacultyFaculty of Social Sciences and Humanities