Logic of Social Inquiry, 7.5 credits (771A11)

Den samhällsvetenskapliga forskningens logik, 7.5 hp

Main field of study

Computational Social Science


Second cycle

Course type

Programme course


Peter Hedström

Course coordinator

Peter Hedström

Director of studies or equivalent

Course offered for Semester Weeks Language Campus VOF
F7MCD Master´s Programme in Computational Social Science 1 (Autumn 2018) v201834-201838 English Norrköping o

Main field of study

Computational Social Science

Course level

Second cycle

Advancement level


Course offered for

  • Master´s Programme in Computational Social Science

Entry requirements

A bachelor's degree or equivalent in the humanities, social-, cultural-, behavioural-, natural-, computer-, or engineering-sciences.
English corresponding to the level of English in Swedish upper secondary education (English 6/B).

Intended learning outcomes

After completion of the course, the student should at an advanced level be able to:

  • describe and critically examine common modes of social inquiry used within the social sciences;
  • appraise the role of micro-level social processes in explanations of macro-level outcomes, and critique explanations of macro outcomes on this basis;
  • critically assess the strengths and weaknesses of computational social science as compared to other approaches to social research, relating computational approaches to micro- and macro-levels of analysis;
  • identify and formulate research questions that can be answered with the tools of computational social science;
  • critically analyse and integrate knowledge gained through readings and discussions, and express this knowledge in class and in writing,
  • describe the ethical principles regarding the production and presentation of original social research;
  • account for and apply the rules for the treatment of academic references and the principles of source criticism.

Course content

This course provides an advanced introduction to the logic of inquiry and research design in the social sciences. The readings cover issues ranging from the nature of scientific explanations and causal inquiry to the variety of research methodologies available to social scientists.  After introducing and critically examining the most important modes of social inquiry currently in practice, the course focuses on computational social science, its defining characteristics, and how computational approaches can improve our understanding of the complex social processes through which macro-level social outcomes are brought about, and by which they can be explained. 

Teaching and working methods

The teaching consists of lectures, readings, and seminars. Homework and independent studies are a necessary complement to the course.
Language of instruction: English.


The course is examined through written assignments, active participation in seminars, and a written individual final assignment. Detailed information about the examination can be found in the course's study guide.

Students failing an exam covering either the entire course or part of the course twice are entitled to have a new examiner appointed for the reexamination.

Students who have passed an examination may not retake it in order to improve their grades.



Other information

Planning and implementation of a course must take its starting point in the wording of the syllabus. The course evaluation included in each course must therefore take up the question how well the course agrees with the syllabus. 

The course is carried out in such a way that both men´s and women´s experience and knowledge is made visible and developed.


Institutionen för ekonomisk och industriell utveckling


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Hedström, Peter, (2005) Dissecting the social : on the principles of analytical sociology, Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2005

ISBN: 0521792290,9780521792295,0521796679,9780521796675

Hedström, Peter, Bearman, Peter S., (2009) The Oxford handbook of analytical sociology Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2009.

ISBN: 0199215367,9780199215362,9780191550577

Hedström, Peter, Bearman, Peter S., (2009) The Oxford handbook of analytical sociology Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2009.

ISBN: 0199215367,9780199215362,9780191550577

Hedström, Peter., Swedberg, Richard., (1998) Social mechanisms: an analytical approach to social theory Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 9780521593199,9780521596879,0521593190,0521596874

Schelling, Thomas, (1978) Micromotives and Macrobehavior

ISBN: 147367347X,9781473673472

Shadish, William R., Cook, Thomas D., Campbell, Donald T., (2002) Experimental and quasi-experimental designs for generalized causal inference Boston : Houghton Mifflin , cop. 2002

ISBN: 0395615569

Webster, Murray, Sell, Jane, (2007) Laboratory experiments in the social sciences Amsterdam ; Boston : Academic Press/Elsevier, c2007.

ISBN: 9780123694898,0123694892


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Kees Keizer, Siegwart Lindenberg, Linda Steg, The Spreading of Disorder, Science 2008, 322:1681-1685
Keuschnigg, Marc, Lovsjö, Niclas, Hedström, Peter, Analytical sociology and computational social science, Journal of Computational Social Science 2017


Lazer, D., Computational Social Science, Science 2009, 323 (5915), 721-723
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Michael P. H. Stumpf, Mason A. Porter, Critical Truths About Power Laws, Science 2012, 335 (6069), 665-666
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ESSX Essay EC 7.5 credits

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