SYLLABUS: WWS 513/POP 507 Qualitative Research Methods
Spring Term 1997
Professor E.P. Renne
Woodrow Wilson School
Office: 205A Notestein
Hours: Weds. 2:00-4:00
Robertson Hall, T/Th 10:40-12:10
Phone: (609) 258-1390
(click on the red ball)
I. Seminar description
II. Seminar requirements
Week 1: Qualitative methods:
Week 2: Doing qualitative research:
Week 3: Doing qualitative research:
Week 4: Doing qualitative research:
Week 5: Doing qualitative research:
Week 6: Fieldnotes
13 March 1997: Mid-term paper
Week 7: The quantification of
Week 8: Theoretical and ethical
Week 9: DQR: Gender
Week 10: Writing and qualitative
Week 11: Ethnographic experience, part
Week 12: Ethnographic experience, part
This seminar examines qualitative methods used in social science research,
focusing primarily on participant-observation, on asking questions, on
writing fieldnotes, and on the transformation of these primary field data
into written ethnographic documents. Other methods considered include the
quantification of ethnographic data through the use of computer programs,
decision tree modeling, and time allocation studies. Seminar readings on
specific research methods will contribute to the formulation of a research
project to be carried out during the semester. Recent literature on the
theoretical and ethical aspects of these methods will also be considered
in the context of these projects.
Participation in the discussion of class readings is an important part of
the seminar. Students will be responsible for the assigned readings, for
taking part in class discussions, and for presenting an oral summary of
their research project. (25%)
An 8-10 page mid-term paper that integrates a discussion of class readings
with research project preliminaries such as research question formulation,
site and informant selection, methodology, interview questions, and human
research impact statements is due on 13 March 1997. (20%)
A paper based on this research project, 20-25 pages (double-spaced, not
including references, tables, etc.), will be due on 13 May 97. Topics are
open but projects might focus on local constructions of ethnic or
religious identity, on interpretations of recent welfare changes by
particular groups, or on the life histories of particular individuals
associated with an aspect of social change in the community. A meeting
for discussion and approval of the research project topic should be made
by the 3rd week of class and a human subjects impact statement along with
a project summary and tentative interview questionnaire are due by the 4th
A research notebook should be kept during the course of the semester with
bi-weekly entries about your research project, both as you are formulating
it (which can include comments on the readings, seminar remarks, etc.) and
as you are conducting research (as a field notebook). This would include
notes taken during field interviews, transcribed interviews, data
interpretations and analyses, and other relevent materials (20%)
(*) Books are available at the University Store and on reserve, along with
journal articles, at the Woodrow Wilson School library.
III. Seminar Schedule
Becker, H. "Cases, causes, conjunctures, stories, and imagery." In:
What is a Case? Exploring
the Foundations of Social Inquiry, C. Ragin and H. Becker,
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- Geertz, C. "Thick description: Toward an interpretive
theory of culture." In: The Interpretation of
Cultures. New York: Basic Books, pp. 3-30, 1973.
- Goffman, E. "On fieldwork. " Journal of Contemporary
Ethnography 18:123-132, 1989.
- Hammersley, M., and P. Atkinson. "What is ethnography?"
In: Ethnography: Principles in Practice (*), 2nd ed.
London: Routledge, pp. 1-22, 1995.
- Scott, Joan. "The evidence of experience. " Critical
Inquiry 17(4): 783-787, 1991.
- Evans-Pritchard, E.E. The Nuer. New York: Oxford
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- Harper, Douglas. "Small N's and community case studies. "
In: What is a Case? Exploring the Foundations of Social
Inquiry, C. Ragin and H. Becker, eds. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, pp. 139-158, 1992.
- Platt, J. "The development of the `participant
observation' method in sociology: Origin, myth and history. "
Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences
- Whyte, W.F. "On the evolution of Street Corner Society. "
In: Journeys Through Ethnography. Boulder CO: Westview
Press, pp. 11-72, 1996.
- Rosaldo, R. "From the door of his tent: The fieldworker
and the inquisitor. " In: Writing Culture: The Poetics and
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- Hammersley, M., and P. Atkinson. "Research design. " In:
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- Briggs, Charles, Learning How to Ask (*). Cambridge:
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- Hammersley, M., and P. Atkinson. "Insider accounts:
listening and asking questions. " In: Ethnography: Principles
in Practice, 2nd ed. London: Routledge, pp. 124-156,
- 27 February 1997: Research project summary, questionnaire, and human
subjects statement due
- 5 March 97: ORPA submission deadline
- Gladwin, Christina. Ethnographic Decision Tree
Modelling. Newbury Park: Sage Publications, pp. 1-21,
- Gregory, C.A., and J.C. Altman. "Consumption. " In:
Observing the Economy, London: Routledge, pp. 174-197,
- Johnson, Allen. "Time allocation in a Machiguenga
community. " Ethnology 14(3):301-310, 1975.
- Morgan D.L. and M.T. Spanish. "Focus groups: a new tool
for qualitative research. " Qualitative Sociology
- R. Emerson. R. Fretz, and L. Shaw. Writing
Ethnographic Fieldnotes (*), Chapters 2-4. Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, 1995.
- R. Lederman, Pretexts for ethnography: On reading
fieldnotes. Fieldnotes: The Making of Anthropology, R.
Sanjek, ed. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, pp. 71-91,
- Wolf, Margery. Chinanotes: Engendering anthropology. In:
Fieldnotes: The Making of Anthropology, pp. 343-355,
- Emerson, R. et al. Processing fieldnotes: Coding and
memoing. In: Writing Ethnographic Fieldnotes, pp.
- Johnson, Allen, and Orna Johnson. Quality into quantity:
On the measurement potential of ethnographic fieldnotes. In:
Fieldnotes: The Making of Anthropology, pp. 161-186,
- Ragin, C., and H. Becker. How the microcomputer is
changing our analytical habits. In: New Technology in
Sociology, G. Blank, J. McCartney, and E. Brent, eds. New
Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, pp. 47-55, 1989.
- Weaver, Anna, and Paul Atkinson. Microcomputing and
Qualitative Data Analysis. Aldershot UK: Avebury, pp. 1-29,
- Akeroyd, A. Ethics in relation to informants, the
profession and governments. In: Ethnographic Research,
pp. 133-153, 1984.
- Asad, T. "Ethnographic representation, statistics and
modern power. " Social Research 61(1):55-88, 1994.
- Hooks, Bell. Culture to culture: ethnography and cultural
studies as critical intervention. In: Yearning: race,
gender, and cultural politics. Boston: South End Press, pp.
- Thorne, Barrie. "You still takin' notes?" Fieldwork and
problems of informed consent. Social Problems 27:284-297,
- Back, Les. Gendered participation: Masculinity and
fieldwork in a south London adolescent community. In:
Gendered Fields: Women, Men, and Ethnography, D. Bell et
al., eds. London: Routledge, pp. 215-233, 1993.
- Riessman, Catherine. When gender is not enough: Women
interviewing women. Gender and Society 1:172-207,
- Stacey, Judith. Can there be a feminist ethnography?
In: Women's Words, S. Gluck and D. Patai, eds. New York:
- Atkinson, Paul. Difference, distance, and irony. In:
The Ethnographic Imagination: Textual Construction of
Reality. New York: Routledge, pp. 157-174, 1990.
- Becker, H. Writing for the Social Sciences (*).
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986.
- Clifford, J. Introduction. In: Writing Culture:
The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography. Berkeley:
University of California Press, pp. 1-26, 1986.
- Emerson, R. et al. Writing an ethnography. In:
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- Bourgois, Philippe. In Search of Respect: Selling
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- Stack, Carol. Call to Home: African Americans Reclaim
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