PhD641 Theory and ethics of sport science (4 ECTS) 

Course facts

Course code
Course title
Theory and ethics of sport science
Course language
Academic responsible
Sigmund Loland
For programstudents only


The course gives an introduction to the theory of science with a particular emphasis on the sport sciences. Students’ PhD projects will be used as examples and practical cases. Students are assessed based on an oral presentation during the course and an individual essay to be submitted after the course.

Learning outcome


On completing the course students will have:

  • Basic knowledge of classic positions and norms and values in the theory and ethics of science
    and research
  • Specific knowledge of perspectives and questions in the theory and ethics of their own
    research areas.


On completing the course students will be able to:

  • Reflect upon and discuss questions in the theory and ethics of science in general and in sport
    science in particular
  • Discuss in a critical and systematic way their own PhD projects from the perspective of the
    theory and ethics of science.

General competencies

On completing the course students will be able to:

  • Examine and discuss in informed and critical ways limitations and possibilities when it comes
    to foundational questions in sport research, and in research and science in general

Learning styles and activities

The course consists of four days of intensive work with a combination of introductory lectures, individual presentations, and group discussions. Course requirements include a working load of approximately 120 hours. This includes 12 lecturing hours, 20 hours of group work and individual presentations, and 88 hours of individual study including writing of an essay.


During the course
A 20-minutes individual presentation in which the student presents arelevant question linked to own PhD project from the perspective of theory and/or ethics ofscience. Assessment: pass/fail.

After the course
An individual essay in which the student’s PhD project is discussed from theperspective of the theory and/or ethics of science. Length of essay: maximum 2000 wordsexcluding references. Students are entitled to 20 minutes of individual supervision based ona draft of their essay.
Assessment: pass/fail

Core material

McNamee, M. (Ed.). (2005). Philosophy and the Sciences of Exercise, Health and Sport: Critical Perspectives on Research Methods.
* You can borrow the book through the Library, here: ORIA
** This book is also available online/elesctronic: Click here to download.
*** NB! To open the electronic book off campus, you need to use the following VPN connection: Click here to download.


Benton, T. & Craib, C. (2011). Philosophy of Social Science: The Philosophical Foundations of Social Thought (2nd ed.). Palgrave Macmillan.
To read, pp. 13-75:
* You can borrow the book through the Library, here: ORIA

McNamee, M., Olivier, S. & Wainwright, P. (2007). Research Ethics in Exercise, Health and Sport sciences. Routledge.
pp. 7-28, Introduction
* Available as PDF through Canvas.
(Cleared through BOLK .01.21. / The Library - AGG)

Wright, G. H. von. (1971). Explanation and Understanding. Cornell University Press.
pp. 1-33, 
* Available as PDF through Canvas.
(Cleared through BOLK .01.21. / The Library - AGG)

Norwegian National Research Ethics Committees 2 (


1 Further choice of literature will vary between students depending on the nature of their PhD projects. Relevant texts will be found in dialogue with the course teachers.

2 The online recourse from the Norwegian Research Ethics Committees presents updated versions of rules, regulations, norms and values. It includes a library function in which students can find additional relevant literature.