Advanced Methodological Seminar I
Cod: 23001
Department: DCET
ECTS: 15
Scientific area: Environmental Sciences | Social Sciences
Total working hours: 390
Total contact time: 65

The Curricula Unit is composed by 5 major parts.
In the firs module (Epistemologies and research) we intend to introduce contact with different perspectives on the construction of knowledge and its scientific, ethical and political implications in the approach to diverse social and cultural realities. It is intended to provide theoretical-analytical tools in order to allow the understanding of the epistemological diversity of the construction of knowledge.

The second module will analyze the importance of establishing a research design that is suitable for the research work to be carried out. In it, it will be considered, in particular, the main types of methods that can be used: quantitative and qualitative methods. Finally, we will address the specific challenges that are posed to research on sustainability, considering, in particular, the transdisciplinary approach.
In Business and Critical Epistemologies recent epistemological currents (emerged in the last quarter of the twentieth century) are presented, and these are intersected with the theme of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Starting from a broad concept of CSR, we perceive the role of postmodernist approaches in the social sciences and in the study of organizations through critical management studies.
Research and Social Intervention begins with a description of the evolution that has occurred in the Social Sciences since the nineteenth century, from which two styles of facing the researcher's involvement are identified, from which emerges the concepts of Sociology of Intervention, Research ) -Action, etc. Next, we discuss the concept of social intervention and the main elements that integrate it, namely its key areas, the various scales and fields of action and their effects on sustainability.
The last module deals with scientific publication in the area of sustainable production and consumption. In the first phase, the main international concepts, policies and good practices for the promotion of sustainable production and consumption are explored. Subsequently, it is discussed how to elaborate and organize a scientific manuscript in this area of study. Scientific papers will be analyzed in detail, constructing the analysis model of the research carried out and evaluating the scientific quality.

research designs
research and social intervention
research paper

  1. Discuss the relationship between research and epistemology at various levels (philosophical, political, methodological, etc.)
  2. Knowing the implications of the ontological and epistemological position in research
  3. Define the research design appropriate to the problem that is intended to be known.
  4. Integrate new methodological developments in research design.
  5. Discuss the role of critical epistemology on social and organizational sciences, particularly in Corporate Social Responsibility
  6. Identify the culture broth of Social Sciences and Social Intervention
  7. Adapting research strategies to study the sustainability of social intervention
  8. Identify strategies and research methods in the study and promotion of sustainable consumption

C1. Epistemologies and research 

  1. The epistemological diversity or plurality of science
  2. Select a research paradigm from the plurality of epistemological perspectives

C2. Research designs 
1. The research question/objectives.
2. The research process.
3. The dissemination of results.
4. Research on sustainability.
C3. Businesses and critical epistemology 

  1. CSR Concept
  2. Critical epistemologies in social and organizational sciences
  3. Application of critical epistemologies to CSR

C4. Research and social intervention  

  1. The culture broth of the social sciences and social intervention
  2. The sociology of intervention
  3. A conceptual map of sustainability
  4. Case research on social sustainability of a social intervention program

C5. Research on Sustainable Production and Consumption  

  1. Concepts of sustainable production and consumption
  2. Strategies and research methods in the study and promotion of sustainable consumption
  3. Analysis of examples of research on sustainable production and consumption

Bairagi, Vinayak & Munot, Mousami V. (eds.) (2019). Research Methodology: A Practical and scientific Approach. New York: CRC Press.

Becker, Christian U. (2012). Sustainability Ethics and Sustainability Research. Springer.

Byrne, Edmond, Mullally, Gerard & Sage, Colin (eds.) (2017). Transdisciplinary Perspectives on Transitions to Sustainability. New York: Routledge.

Carmo, H. (2014) Coord., Intervenção social com grupos, Lisboa, ISCSP-UL e Universidade Aberta.

Chevalier, J.M. & Buckles, D.J. (2013). Participatory Action Research. Oxon, Routledge.

Hess, R. (1982) Sociologia de Intervenção, Lisboa, Rés.

Kincheloe,J. & McLaren (2005) Rethinking critical theory and qualitative research. In Norman Denzin & Yvonna Lincoln (eds).

Kuhn, T. ( 2009) A estrutura das revoluções científicas, Lisboa: Editora Guerra e Paz

Lang, D., Wiek, A., Bergmann, M., Stauffacher, M., Martens, P., Moll, P., Swilling, M. & Thoma, C. (2012). Transdisciplinary research in sustainability science: practice, principles, and challenges. Sustainability Science, 7 (Supplement 1), pp. 25–43.

Lein, James K. (2017). Futures Research and Environmental Sustainability - Theory and Method. Boca Raton: CRC Press.

Rambaree, B. (2021) Discourse and power in the institutionalisation of corporate social responsibility (CSR): A comparative perspective, Cogent Social Sciences, 7:1, 1852673, DOI: 10.1080/23311886.2020.1852673

Ribeiro, A., Harmsem, R., Carreón, J., Worrell, E. (2019). What influences consumption? Consumers and beyond: Purposes, contexts, agents and history. Journal of Cleaner Production. 209. 200-215.

Sousa Santos, B., Nunes, J. & e Menezes, M. (2004) Para ampliar o cânone da ciência: a diversidade epistemológica do mundo.


Continuous assessment is made through appropriate participation in the forums and/or with group or individual works - 70%. Evaluation criteria: communication accuracy, synthesis capacity and contents’ relevance.
Semester’s final work - 30%. Evaluation criteria: scope of analysis; concepts; questioning, self-reflection; methodology (if applicable); text accuracy and synthesis.

The work methodology is based on UAb’s pedagógicaI model for the third cycle virtual class variant. Teaching- learning activities are held in the Moodle platform, in which asynchronous communication is privileged.
It is suggested that the doctoral student:

  • plans his/her work weekly;
  • accesses daily to the platform and to the course unit space;
  • analyses the proposed learning materials and recommended basic literature,
  • carries out research;

draws up individual reflections, through discussions and analyses held at forums moderated by teachers.