Philosophy of Science, Scientific theories and Research ethics, 7,5 ECTS

This course aims at introducing students to doctoral studies in the social sciences and humanities.


This course aims at introducing students to doctoral studies in the social sciences and humanities. The course offers theoretical tools and concepts to understand the relations between different scientific traditions and research methods. It aims at developing a reflective and respectful attitude towards different traditions and schools, and to develop the participant's own understanding of his/her view on knowledge.


The course gives a broad introduction to philosophical issues, problems and theories related to the scientific endeavour. Different theories are put in a historical and sociological context, where the relations between science and society are discussed. The course gives the students good opportunities to reflect upon the philosophical grounds for research in the social sciences. The course is organized around seminars with the following content:

  1. Introduction to the course
  2. What is this thing we call science?
  3. Post-positivist movements and perspectives
  4. Social constructionism
  5. Critical realism
  6. Hermeneutics and related interpretative perspectives
  7. Ethics and reflective approaches
  8. Examination

Course Schedule

Seminars will take place the following dates between 9 and 12 a.m.:

  • February 20 (course start)
  • March 5
  • March 19
  • April 2
  • April 16
  • May 7
  • May 21
  • June 4 (course examination, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.)

Required readings

Berger, P. & Luckmann, T. (1991/1967). The Social Construction of Reality. London: Penguin Books.

Burr, V. (1999/1995). An Introduction to Social Constructionism. London: Routledge.

Danermark, B. et. al. (2001). Explaining Society. An Introducion to Critical Realism. London: Taylor & Francis. (also available in Swedish)

Forsman, B. (1997). Forskningsetik. En introduktion. Lund: Studentlitteratur.

King, P. M. & Strohm Kitchener, K. (1994). Developing Reflective Judgment: Understanding and Promoting Intellectual Growth and Critical Thinking in Adolescents and Adults. San Francisco:

Jossey-Bass. Kuhn, T. S. (1996). The Structure of Scientific revolutions.  Chicago: Chicago University Press. Compendium. (also available in Swedish)


The course is examined through compulsory assignments for the seminar and a final paper. Active participation in the seminars is also required. The grades are either pass or fail.

Professor Tomas Müllern is examinator for the course.

Course Language

Language of instruction is English unless there are only Swedish speaking participants.

Participating Teachers

Professor Mohamed Chaib, School of Education and Communication (HLK)
Professor Berth Danermark, Örebro University, Department of Social Science
Sofia Kjellström, PhD, School of Health Sciences (HHJ)
Professor Tomas Müllern, Jönköping International Business School (JIBS)

Course coordinator

Per Askerlund, Associate professor, School of Education and Communication (HLK)


In order to apply to the course you need to be registered as doctoral student. Priority is given to applicants from Jönköping University. Deadline for application is February 5, 2008, but applicants are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. The application should be sent to