Course syllabus

Schedule ACE120


ACE120 Methods and enquiry in organisations lp1 HT19 (7.5 hp)

Course is offered by the department of Architecture and Civil Engineering


Syllabus ACE120, 2019 (preliminary)


Methods and enquiry in organizations


Academic year 2019/2020                      Semester/Q 1                        Credit points 7.5




This course introduces and trains students to define, plan, perform and present empirical investigations regarding new developments or challenges related to management in the construction sector. Students will learn how to formulate research questions, select appropriate empirical methods, analyse qualitative and quantitative empirical material, present and report data and findings, reflect upon and motivate methodological choices and understand ethical implications of choices and actions.

The theme for the assignment is “new technology in the construction industry”. The students will be asked to study the potential of one specific technology in the particular context of one of the organizations active in the sector.


Learning outcome


After completion of the course the student should be able to

  • Reflect upon the notion of knowledge in the context of science, engineering and organisations
  • Assess the need for scientific information, search for that information and critically evaluate its relevance
  • Analyse specific context to define and delimit a research question
  • Select appropriate research methods for fulfilling the research project objectives
  • Critically evaluate used methods with consideration to both scientific trustworthiness and ethical aspects
  • Interpret and assess the quality of the results
  • Formulate and organize a discussion
  • Evaluate whether research has been carried out in a trustworthy and defensible manner

 Besides, the students should be able to


  • Organise, plan and manage the project work load according to the tasks and the members of the group
  • Collaborate professionally according to the project group's needs of structured management and task distribution. 
  • Perform a clear oral presentation of the project results that is well-suited to its intended audience. 
  • Assess and give constructive feedback to other projects group's work
  • Reflect on and reason about ethical aspects of engineering work, academic research and corporate codes of conduct according to sustainable concerns




This course provides knowledge and practical training in designing and conducting research studies. It consists of lectures, literature seminars and practical exercises in research strategy and design, quantitative and qualitative research approaches, formulation of research questions, interviewing and observation, as well as in data analysis. It includes the following topics:


  • Defining and conducting systematic production of knowledge
  • Introduction to theory of science
  • Engineering ethics
  • Reflective practice
  • Communication skills


The course includes lectures, exercises, seminars and quizzes aiming at giving the students general knowledge and training practices to conduct research.

Project groups are formed at the beginning of the course and group supervision will be provided. The compulsory activities will be listed in the course schedule. 


Course administrator and examiner

Martine Buser, Associate professor  (MB)


Rickard Andersson, PhD student (RA)

E-mail :


Construction management

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Sven Hultinsgata 8
SE – 412 96 Gothenburg



Bell E., Bryman A. and Harley B. (2015) Business research methods. OUP, Oxford.

Other material such as scientific papers, book chapters and videos will be provided on Canvas.


Course assessment

The examiner will meet four students’ representatives at three occasions during the course. A standardized course evaluation will be carried out in the ending of the course.

Expectations and examination

You are expected to have read the assigned literature before the beginning of each lecture. This will provide you with the necessary terminology and preconception to enable further collective exploration in class.

Participation in mandatory course activities (or a relevant compensation assignment in agreement with the examiner) is a prerequisite for passing the course.

Active project group work, including the completed project diary, presentation material and the oral presentation (hopefully in presence of the company studied) constitute the group component of the final grade. 



The grading builds on:

  • The fulfilling of the project diary, including the group assignments related to workshops, for 50% of the grade
  • The slides and oral presentation of the case study for 40%
  • The individual assessment for 10%

The course is graded 5, 4, 3 or fail.

Course summary:

Date Details Due