Researching Human Rights and Democracy

General information

The course is a compulsory component of the M.A. Program in Human Rights and Democracy.

Language of instruction: English

Course description

This course provides an advanced introduction to research methods and theories of knowledge of relevance for the study of human rights and democracy. The emphasis falls on the field of human rights studies, and the course serves as an introduction to how this field has developed over time and in relation to traditional academic disciplines like law, philosophy, as well as social and political science. In addition, the course introduces a range of research methods and perspectives on research ethics. The course thereby provides students with tools for carrying out an advanced thesis and other research projects, but also other forms of knowledge production in and outside of academia.


Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course, the student shall be able to:

Knowledge and understanding

  • skillfully present and critically assess different theoretical perspectives and research methods of relevance to the study of human rights and democracy,
  • display a strong command of relevant concepts and strands within the philosophy of science,
  • describe and critically assess the evolution of interdisciplinary human rights studies, and its relation to traditional academic fields like law, philosophy, as well as social and political science,

Competence and skills

  • formulate a relevant methodological and theoretical framework for an advanced degree project of relevance to the study of human rights and democracy,
  • account and argue for one’s assessment of complex phenomena—orally as well as in writing;

Judgement and approach

  • reflect critically and independently on central theories and concepts within the field of inquiry;
  • analyze and assess information using scientific criteria.

Reservation för revidering av litteraturen.

Aurini, Janice D., Melanie Heath & Stephanie Howells (2022). The How to of Qualitative Research 2nd ed. London: Sage (333 pp.). ISBN: 978-1-5264-9504-4

Becker, Howard (2001). ”The Epistemology of Qualitative Research”. In, Robert E. Emerson, Contemporary Field Research: Perspectives and Formulations. Long Grove: Waveland Press, pp. 317-331 (15 pp.).

Bishop, Robert C., 2007. The Philosophy of the Social Sciences: An Introduction. London: Continuum (396 sid). ISBN: 0-8264-8953-2.

Jackson, Patrick T., (2011). The Conduct of Inquiry in International Relations: Philosophy of science and its implications for the study of world politics. London: Routledge. (pp. 1-40) (40 pp.). ISBN: 978-0-415-77627.

Joseph, Sarah and Adam McBeth (eds. 2010) Research Handbook on International Human Rights Law. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar (611 pp.) ISBN: 978-1-84720-368-7.

Human Rights Measuring Initiative (2019). Is the Global situation of Human Rights improving or deteriorating? Mapping the case of the empirical measuring of human rights change. (40 pp.)

Landman, Todd & Edzia Carvalho (2009).  Measuring Human Rights. London: Routledge (160 pp). ISBN: 978-0-41544650-1

MacNaughton, Gillian and Paul Hunt (2011). “A Human Rights based approach to social impact assessment”. In, Frank Vanclay & Ana Maria Esteves (eds.) New Directions in Social Impact Assessment: Conceptual and Methodological Advances. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, pp. 355-368 (14 pp.). ISBN: 978-1-84980-117-1

Merry, Sally E., 2011. ”Measuring the World: Indicators, Human Rights and Global Governance”. Current Anthropology, vol. 52, suppl. 3, sid s 83-95 (13 s).

Rennstam, Jens & David Wästerfors (2015). Analyze!: Crafting your data in qualitative research. Lund: Studentlitteratur (205 pp.). ISBN:

Tyson, Lois, 2015. Critical Theory Today. A User-Friendly Guide. Routledge (choose two articles, about 60 pp).

Wood, James, 2008. How Fiction Works. London: Jonathan Cape (p. 48-74) (pdf on Canvas).

Additional articles for assignments:  ca. 200 pages.

Schemat finns tillgängligt senast en månad innan kursen startar. Vi rekommenderar inte att du skriver ut schemat eftersom vissa ändringar kan ske.

Öppna schemat


Johanna Ohlsson

Prefekt Avdelningen för mänskliga rättigheter och demokrati, högskolelektor



A = Framstående, B = Mycket bra, C = Bra, D = Tillfredsställande, E = Tillräcklig, Fx = Otillräcklig, komplettering möjlig, F = Otillräcklig


  • PM

Entry requirements
The applicant must have a Bachelor’s degree in human rights studies or another related
field in social or political science, law or the humanities. Students with undergraduate
degrees in the natural sciences, engineering or medicine may also be admitted subject to
their ability to demonstrate a proficiency in human rights, for instance through professional
or voluntary work or activity.

In addition, advanced level studies in human rights studies of 45 credits or the equivalent.

If English is not the applicant’s native language, his or her language proficiency is to be
demonstrated by e.g. IELTS test, TOEFL test, Cambridge/Oxford test, a Bachelor’s degree
from a study programme taught entirely in English, or a passing grade in English 6/English B from
Swedish upper secondary school.

  • För fullgjord kurs krävs minst 80% närvaro vid föreläsningar och 100% närvaro vid seminarier/gruppövningar och andra tillfällen för redovisning. Frånvaro därutöver kan kompenseras genom kompletteringsuppgift (-er) om kursansvarig lärare bedömer det möjligt. Vid frånvaro om 50 % eller mer betraktas kursen som avbruten, även om examinationsuppgifter har genomförts.
  • Om student har ett beslut från EHS om särskilt pedagogiskt stöd på grund av funktionsnedsättning, skall examinator vid behov anpassa examinationen och genomföra examinationen på ett alternativt sätt.
  • Student har möjlighet att tentera kurs enligt ursprunglig kursplan inom två år efter kurstillfället. Om särskilda skäl föreligger kan sådan omtentamen ske även senare. Normalt ges inte undervisning enligt äldre kursplan. Möjligheten till dispens ska avgöras av rektor eller biträdande rektor.

Fastställd av Kollegiet i Mänskliga rättigheter och demokrati vid Enskilda Högskolan Stockholm den 3 oktober 2019.