Course plan: MM-RES4001
Research Methods

Course summary

The course shall give the students a good understanding of scientific methodological theory as basis for sound application of scientific methods in carrying out research, development and innovation work. Scientific research methods concern how to collect, analyse, and interpret data, in accordance with scientific standards and ethical principles. The course offers insight into the various decisions and challenges to be handled at the various stages of the research process, with an introduction to research methods and their application within the research field of maritime management. The issue of research ethical principle and relevant research ethical dilemmas are also addressed as part of this course.


  • Decision making and research challenges relevant to Maritime Management.

  • Basic elements of the research process.

  • Philosophy of science.

  • Research designs.

  • Measurement and operationalization.

  • Methods for sampling and data collection.

  • Data analysis with IBM SPSS statistics.

  • Critical assessment of reliability and validity.

  • Interpretation of data, and applications of results.

  • Research ethics: Ethical principles, and how to handle ethical challenges in research.

Required prerequisite knowledge

The course does not require any specific previous knowledge apart from the general requirements of the master program.


  • MM-RES4000(v1): 7.5 Studiepoeng

Learning outcome


The student

  • has thorough knowledge about research designs and research methods, and how these may be applied in research on Maritime Management.
  • has advanced understanding of the research process, and the decisions and challenges associated with the various stages of this process.
  • has thorough knowledge of decisions and challenges related to validity and reliability, relevant to research in the field of Maritime Management.
  • has thorough knowledge of ethical principles guiding all scientific research activity, relevant ethical dilemmas and how to handle these in applied research.


The student

  • can apply research methods in order to carry out an independent, limited research project in maritime management, under supervision of faculty members, and in accordance with scientific principles and principles of research ethics.
  • can analyze and deal critically with information on methodological strategies and results as presented in scientific literature, and use this to inform the planning of a research project
  • can use relevant methods for sampling and data collection.
  • can use relevant techniques for qualitative and quantitative data analyses.
  • can engage in the analyses and interpretation of data, and assess the validity, reliability and generalizability of the results, in an independent manner.
  • can apply maritime management knowledge to design research projects with relevance to the field of research.
  • can apply research methods in order to contribute to innovative processes and innovations in Maritime management.


The student

  • is able to conduct research and other professional work in accordance with scientific standards and principles of research ethics.
  • can analyse, interpret and critically assess relevant research projects and results as presented in scientific literature.
  • has an understanding of the philosophy of science and how this is underpinning research in maritime management.
  • can exchange opinions with others on the quality of research projects and ethical challenges central to research in the field of maritime management.

Learning activities

The research methods course will include lectures, discussions, in class and take-home exercises, individual and small group problem-solving exercises, and hands-on use of SPSS.
Both the students and staff are challenged equally to make the learning experience a success. Each and every person draws upon his or her own experiences and talents to help others understand the course materials and accomplish the learning objectives. The students are expected to come to class prepared and to participate in the activities that are scheduled in the course outline.

Participation/Compulsory works

One (1) mandatory assignment must be handed in and approved. The assignment must be written individually. In order for the student to be allowed to sit for the exam the student must have successfully completed and passed the mandatory assignment.


Final assessment
Four (4) hour written exam (100%)

Assessment grading
The final assessment will be graded A to F. E is the lowest passing grade. F is failed.

Examination support material

Approved calculator: Citizen SR-270x and/or Casio FX-82ES PLUS

Course evaluation

The course shall be regularly evaluated in order to maintain high quality. In order to help improve the educational quality of the programme of study, students are expected to actively participate in evaluations, questionnaires, meetings etc. The evaluations shall be carried out in accordance with HBV's quality assurance system.

Literature (reading list)

Mandatory literature

Frankfort-Nachmias, C. & Nachmias, D. (2007). Research Methods in the Social Sciences, 7th ed. New York, NY: Worth Publishers. (chapter 1 to 13).

Hinton, P. R. (2014). Statistics Explained, 3rd ed., Hove, UK. Routledge (chapter 1 to 21).

  • Compendium containing    Guldenmund, F. W. (2007). The use of questionnaires in safety culture research - an evaluation. Safety Science, 45(6), 723-743.

  • Van der Meer, P.H. & Wielers, R. (2013). What makes workers happy?. Applied Economics, 45(3), 357-368.

  • Messick, S. (1995). Validity of Psychological Assessment: Validation of Inferences from person´s responses and performances as scientific inquiry into score meaning. American Psychologist, 50(9), 741-749.

  • Miles, M. B., Huberman, A. M., Saldana, J. (2014). Fundamentals of Qualitative Data Analysis, In Qualitative Data Analysis: A Methods Sourcebook. (pp. 69-104). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

  • Miles, M. B., Huberman, A. M., Saldana, J. (2014). Research Design and Management, In Qualitative Data Analysis: A Methods Sourcebook. (pp. 17-54). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage

Suggested reading list

For Qualitative data analysis:
Miles, M. B., Huberman, A. M., Saldana, J. (2014). Qualitative Data Analysis: A Methods Sourcebook. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Additional reading

  • American Psychological Association (APA) (2009) Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th edition), Ch. 6 & 7.

  • NENT (The National Committee for Research Ethics in Science and Technology) (2008). Guidelines for research ethics in Science and Technology.

  • NESH (The National Committee for Research Ethics in the Social Sciences and the Humanities) (2006). Guidelines for research ethics in the social sciences, law and the humanities.

Part of study

Subject info:

  • SubjectCode: MM-RES4001
  • Credits: 7.5
  • Subjectplan applies to: Class of 2015 Autumn
  • Duration: 1
  • Language: EN
  • Evaluation type: Written exam
  • Duration examination: 4 Hours
  • Responsible insitute: Department of Maritime Technology, Management and Innovation
  • Responsible lecturer: Kjell Ivar Øvergård