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Our 2022/23 postgraduate taught admissions cycle will open on Monday, 18 October. While we welcome you to apply now, please note that we may not start to review and process these until after this date.

MSc Research Methods with Education

Year of entry: 2022

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Course unit details:
Development Fieldwork

Unit code MGDI60502
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Global Development Institute
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course aims to give fieldwork experience of social and economic development in action. It offers students an opportunity to observe development interventions in situ and to reflect on how theoretical explorations of development covered in some of the core course units are operationalised in the real world.


This course aims to give fieldwork experience of social and economic development in action. It offers students an opportunity to observe development interventions in situ and to reflect on how theoretical explorations of development covered in some of the core course units are operationalised in the real world. From the structured readings and lectures you will get a theoretical understanding and appreciation of development issues in a global South context in general and Uganda in particular. You will be exposed to a critical discussion of these development issues and the nature and form of interventions related to your programme area of study. In the field you will have the opportunity to engage with a range of development actors, such as policymakers, practitioners and beneficiaries, and explore your area of interest in a structured way through a combination of guest presentations, visits to development projects and programmes and internal discussions and reflections.


Teaching and learning methods

Academic (Before trip to Uganda)

  • •           Lecture sessions on theory/practice linkages and pathway themes
  • •           Structured reading tasks and group work in seminars
  • •           Individual assignment


  • •           Presentations by development actors
  • •           Field visits to development projects and programmes
  • •           Group discussions and reflections
  • •           Unstructured community visits


Knowledge and understanding

  • Knowledge of the landscape for development interventions in a global South context
  • Critical understanding of the relationship between theory and development interventions, practices and outcomes.
  • Knowledge and understanding of the challenges of doing development in a global South context

Intellectual skills

  • Ability to identify and analyse selected development concepts and practices and to evaluate their effectiveness in achieving positive development outcomes.
  • Ability to deploy approaches, concepts, methods and theories of development to help explain 'real-world' scenarios
  • Ability to explain the distinctive development experience of Uganda and the lessons we can draw from it

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Ability to interact and effectively communicate with various actors in development (e.g. donor agencies, policy makers, fellow professionals and lay communities) at various levels (local, district, national, international) in Uganda
  • Team working skills especially: leadership skills; ability to organise self and others to accomplish tasks; sharing knowledge and managing differences

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 50%
Written assignment (inc essay) 50%

Assignment 1: 2,000-word essay on a a particular development policy or intervention in Uganda touched upon during pathway lecutorials (50%)

Assignment 2: 1,500-word reflective blog post following the fieldtrip (50%)

Feedback methods

Feedback for written assignments will be delivered via Blackboard.

Much of the class is taught in interactive lecture/tutorials by programme pathway. Much of the learning and intercativity of the course arises during the 10-day field trip to Uganda.

Recommended reading

Kuteesa, F. et al (2010) Ugandas Economic Reforms: Insider Accounts. Oxford University Press

Golin,D. and Rogerson, R.(2010) Agriculture, Roads and Economic Development in Uganda, NBER   Working Paper No. 15863

The Government of Uganda (2015) Second National Development Plan, Government of Uganda: Kampala, Available at:

Green, D. (2008) District Creation and Decentralisation in Uganda, LSE Crisis States Research Centre Working Paper No. 24- Development as State-Making

Golooba-Mutebi, F., and S. Hickey. (2013) Investigating the links between political settlements and inclusive development in Uganda: towards a research agenda. ESID Working Paper 20

Hickey, S., 2013. Beyond the Poverty Agenda? Insights from the New Politics of Development in Uganda. World Development, 43(C), pp.194–206.

Keating, M.F. (2011) Can democratization undermine democracy? Economic and political reform in Uganda, Democratization Volume 18, Issue 2, 2011, Pages 415 - 442

Joughin, J. and Kjær, M. (2010). The Politics of Agricultural Policy Reform: The Case of Uganda Forum for Development Studies Vol 37, Issue 1, p 61 - 78

Jones, B. (2009) Beyond the State in Rural Uganda. Edinburgh University Press

Muriisa, R.K.(2008) Decentralisation in Uganda: Prospects for Improved Service Delivery, Africa Development, Vol. XXXIII, No. 4, 2008, pp. 83–95

Ssewanyana, S. (2010) Combating Chronic Poverty in Uganda: Toward a New Strategy: EPRC Research Series Number 67

Tripp, A. M. 2010. Museveni's Uganda: Paradoxes of Power in a Hybrid Regime, New York, Lynne Rienner.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Fieldwork 70
Lectures 15
Independent study hours
Independent study 65

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Thomas Gillespie Unit coordinator

Additional notes

GDI programmes on which course unit is offered:

MSc International Development (core for all pathways with fieldwork: DM, ECCD, GTI, PCR, PGDP, PID) & as a fieldwork option for the MSc GUDP.

Monday 15:00-17:00 (Lectures)

Monday 15:00-18:00 (Pathway Lecutorials & Logistics Briefings etc.)

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