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Sociology 272 Professor Teresa Arendell
Department of Sociology Fall 2012
Office hours: Tuesday 9:00-10:00 Colby College
Thursday 9:00-10:00 & 12:30-1:30 Diamond 205
and by appointment. 859-4711 (no email)
QUALITATIVE RESEARCH METHODS AND METHODOLOGY
Are humans different from other objects of study? Does the study of human behavior require a methodology different from those we use to study other objects? What sort of similarities and differences exist between the study of human behavior and the study of other objects? What are the implications of these questions for people endeavoring to do “science” or “social science”? Examining human behavior as it is lived or “accomplished,” this course examines issues such as these in our efforts to develop a conceptual and methodological frame which is sensitive to the distinctive features of human activity. In this course, we explore and encourage the fuller linking of theory and method as this pertains to the study of humanly experienced life-worlds. We ground qualitative methods and methodologies in relevant and selected significant literature. And we gain first-hand experience in data collection and analysis in field research, specifically utilizing the methods of participant observation and in-depth interviewing. Thus, we proceed on two levels more or less simultaneously: We examine basic theoretical and methodological questions and explore and practice the basics of qualitative research methods.
Because this is the Colby bicentennial year, we will collaboratively attempt to find research projects which pertain to the life, current and/or past, of the College.
“Qualitative research seeks to understand the multifaceted and complex nature of human experience from the perspective of subjects. . . . Experience in all of its ordinary complexity remains in the foreground of the research [Gubrium 1992]." – Sankar and Gubrium
“Believing with Max Weber that Man is an animal suspended in webs of meaning he himself [sic] has spun, I take culture to be these webs, and the analysis of it to be therefore not an experimental science in search of law but an interpretive one in search of meaning.” – Clifford Geertz
Lincoln, Yvonna S. (Editor) and Norman K. Denzin (Editor), Turning Points in Qualitative Research: Tying Knots in a Handkerchief (Crossroads in Qualitative Inquiry), AltaMira Press
Emerson, Robert, Rachel Fretz, and Linda Shaw. Writing Ethnographic Notes. University of Chicago Press.
Van Maanen, John. Tales of the Field: On Writing Ethnography, Second Edition (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing), University of Chicago Press
Kleinman, Sherryl. Feminist Fieldwork Analysis. Sage.
McCracken, Grant. The Long Interview. Sage.
As indicated on the reading schedule, additional articles are available through the course website (Moodle).
Mann, The Little Gem
Bornat, Oral History
Dey, Grounded Theory
Seale, Quality in Qualitative Research
Brandt, Racism and Research: The Case of the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment.
Charmaz, Grounded Theory
Emerson, Preface and Part I (Introduction) to Contemporary Field Research: Perspectives and Formulations
Hammersley, Ethnography and Realism
Duneier, On the Evolution of Sidewalk
Thorne, Learning from Kids
Baca Zinn, Inside Field Research in Minority Communities
(Others may be announced)
NPS Storycorps Project
Harvard Medical School, Department of Health Care Policy
Making Sense of Oral History
Doing Qualitative Research: Circles within Circles, Margot Ely with Margaret Anzul, Teri Friedman, Diane Garner, and Ann McCormack Steinmetz.
Emerson, Robert. Contemporary Field Research: Perspectives and Formulations, 2nd edition.
Deadly Deceptions, A Class Divided, Interviews with Interviewers (clips of various others)
COURSE LEARNING OBJECTIVES
The primary course objectives are
with respect to the discipline of sociology:
(1) To expose students to the core concepts, theories, and methods used in sociology (and begun in introductory sociology);
(2) To enable students to identify and examine sociological relevant problems and issues;
(3) To encourage critical thinking and writing skills that demonstrate students’ abilities to understand and analyze social issues, patterns, and dynamics;
(4) To enhance students’ understanding and appreciation of the complexity of social life;
(5) To foster the development of a “sociological imagination;”
and, more specifically, with respect to the
(6) To gain understanding of the significance of qualitative methods and methodologies in the discipline of sociology;
(7) To be able to discriminate between quantitative and qualitative approaches and to determine the appropriate approach for specific research problems and topics;
(8) To be able to identify and utilize the primary research methods in qualitative sociology;
(9) To develop research questions and viable plans for conducting every aspect of fieldwork;
(10) To acquire analytical skills appropriate to qualitative data;
(11) To be able to evaluate research conducted from within the qualitative paradigm.
Attendance: I adhere to the Colby attendance policy: Student Attendance in Classes. “Students are expected to attend all of their classes and scheduled course events in any semester or January and are responsible for any work missed. Failure to attend can lead to a warning, grading penalties, and/or dismissal from the course by the instructor with a failing grade.” My specific policy is that only genuine and verified health or family crises will be granted the status of excused absences. (Verification must come from the Dean of Students’ Office, only.) A third absence will lower your final grade, and a fourth absence will result in your failing the course. (Do not send me emails regarding absences unless the absence involves you having to leave campus for home for an emergency –– health, personal or family.)
Class discussion: This course involves a combination of lecture and discussion; we will give intensive consideration to the readings, often comparing and contrasting the arguments and points of various works. All members of the class are expected to actively participate in class discussions. Short assignments,pertaining specifically to assigned readings and usually involving short class presentations, will be given regularly and will be factored into the overall course grade.
Written coursework: Work is to be submitted according to the assigned due dates, no exceptions. (That the printer did not work at the last minute is not an acceptable excuse. Plan ahead!) Papers are to be submitted within the first five minutes of the respective class meeting as assigned. All exams and any other assigned work must be completed in order to pass the course.
Assignments and Required Graded Work:
Class participation, quizzes, short assignments, including the one-hour on-line human subjects certification – 15% of course grade
Mid-term exam, in-class: 10/18– 15%
Fieldwork exercises, participation observation – (combined) 25%
Fieldwork exercise, in-depth interview project and class presentation – 25%
Final exam, 12/13/12, 1:30 – 20%
Use my office hours (or request an additional time) or leave a telephone message as the means for communicating with me. Do not correspond with me by email, please. No coursework is to be submitted to me by email or by attachment.
Other: Also, in terms of unspoken or other gestures of communication during class meetings, please: 1) turn off your cell phone upon entering class and all other electronic devices – if you use any one of these items during class time, I will confiscate it; 2) remove your hats or caps; 3) if you’re using your laptop for note-taking, shut yourself out of email and the web (and discuss this with me first).
Note on Academic Integrity:
Academic honesty is central to the mission of educational excellence at Colby College. Review the Colby Student Handbook if you have any doubt about the College’s position regarding academic dishonest. Also, the website http://plagiarism.org/ is especially useful. It is not acceptable to use the words or ideas of another person without proper citation of that source. You are to do original work in this course, not draw portions from work done in other courses. (If you have questions about this latter, please discuss it with me directly, in advance.) I will follow Colby’s procedures and refer suspected instances of academic dishonesty to the Dean of Students. Possible sanctions include, but are not limited to: failing the course, being put on probation, or being expelled.
Please see me early in the semester if you are a student with a documented learning difference and an professional recommendation for certain accommodation in classes. Provide me with documentation from the Dean of Students Office, usually Dean Joe Atkins, and we will discuss the options.
Evaluative Criteria for Written Work:
Evaluations of exams involve consideration of: extent of mastery shown of course material, both lectures and reading assignments; comprehensiveness of analytical argument; originality of argument; quality of integration and synthesis of relevant perspectives, material, and works; organization, development, and style of essay. Papers and take-home papers are to be well-written, grammatically correct with correct spelling, original, and well-organized and developed. Except for in-class quizzes or written tasks, all work submitted, even short home assignments, are to be typed and submitted in hard copy.
Take notes on course materials as you read them—doing so will facilitate learning and retention and save you an enormous amount of time over the term.
Stay up with the reading; catching up is always a more difficult process. (Try to begin assigned readings -- especially the monographs - in advance.)
Bring reading and lecture notes to class to aid you in your class participation.
Come by during my office hours: that’s why I’m there!
COURSE OUTINE AND READING ASSIGNMENTS
(Subject to Change)
Week 1 Introductions
Emerson, Preface and Part I Introduction: The Development of Ethnographic Field Research (moodle)
Emerson, Fretz, Shaw, Preface and Ch 1
VanMaanen, Preface and Ch 1. Fieldwork, Culture, and Ethnography
L&D, 23, 24, and 25
Recommended: Finlay, Introducing Phenomenological Research (moodle)
Week 2 Qualitative Research Theoretical Bases and Methodologies
Read (for week 3)
L&D, Ch 7. Geertz, Thick Description: Toward an Interpretive Theory of Culture
L&D, Ch 8. Seale, Quality in Qualitative Research
VanMaanen, Ch 2. In Pursuit of Culture
Emerson, Fretz, and Shaw, Ch 2. In the Field: Participating, Observing, and Jotting Notes 17
Mann, The Little Gem (moodle)
Week 3 Qualitative Research Theoretical Bases and Methodologies (cont.)
Read (for week 4)
Ryen, Ethical Issues
L&D, Ch 4. Menchu/Wright , The Torture and Death of Her Little Brother, Burnt in Front Members of Their Families and the Community An Indian Woman in Guatemala
L&D, Ch 10. Lincoln and Guba, Ethics: The Failure of Positivist Science,
Recommended: Brandt, Racism and Research: The Case of the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment (moodle)
(Handouts and on-line certification program)
Week 4 Research Ethics, Institutional Review Boards, Politics and Power
Read(for week 5)
Emerson, Fretz, Shaw, Ch 3. Writing Up Fieldnotes I: From Field to Desk,
and Ch 4. Writing Up Fieldnotes II: Creating Scenes on the Page
VanMaanen, Ch 3. Realist Tales
Duneier, On the Evolution of Sidewalk (moodle)
Week 5 Ethnographic Theory and Practice
Read (for week 6)
Emerson, Fretz, and Shaw, Ch 5. Pursuing: Members' Meanings, and Ch 6. Processing Fieldnotes: Coding and Memoing
L&D, Ch 1. Haraway, Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective
L&D, Ch 2. Hill Collins, Toward an Afrocentric Feminist Epistemology and Ethics
L&D, Ch 3. Visweswaran, Defining Feminist Ethnography
Week 6 Ethnographic Theory and Practice (cont.)
For week 7: Fall break and prepare for mid-term exam on 10/18
Week 7 10/16: ~~ Fall Break, no class meeting
10/16, 10/18 10/18: ~~ In-class mid-term exam
Read (for week 8)
Kleinman, Feminist Fieldwork Analysis
L&D, Ch 11. Oakley, Interviewing Women: A Contradiction in Terms
Thorne, Learning from Kids (moodle)
Baca Zinn, Inside Field Research in Minority Communities (moodle)
Week 8 Ethnographic Theory and Practice: Gender, Race, Age
· video: A Class Divided
Read(for week 9)
L&D, Ch.6. Clifford, On Ethnographic Authority
L&D, Ch 9. Lather, Issues of Validity in Openly Ideological Research: Between a Rock and a Soft Place
L&D, Ch 13. Chase, Taking Narrative Seriously: Consequences for Method and Theory in Interview Studies
Hammersley, Ethnography and Realism (moodle)
Week 9 Issues in Ethnographic Methodologies: Realism and Relativism
Read(for week 10)
McCracken, The Long Interview
Rapley, Interviewing (moodle)
Week 10 In-Depth Interviewing
Read(for week 11)
L&D, Ch 14. Mishler, Representing Discourse: The Rhetoric of Transcription, Mishler
Charmaz, Grounded Theory (moodle)
Dey, Grounded Theory (moodle)
Puddephatt,An Interview with Kathy Charmaz: On Constructing Grounded Theory http://www.scribd.com/doc/13776154/Interview-Constructing-Grounded-Theory
Week 11 Data Analysis: Grounded Theory
Read(for week 12)
L&D, Ch 17. Richardson, Writing: A Method of Inquiry
Van Maanen, Ch. 4. Confessional Tales, and Ch. 5, Impressionist Tales
Van Maanen, Ch 6. Fieldwork, Culture, and Ethnography Revisited
L&D, Ch. 15. Savage, Can Ethnographic Narrative Be a Neighborly Act?
Week 12 Writing Up Qualitative Research, in Conclusion
Read(for week 13)
L&D, Ch 18. Conquergood, Performing as Moral Act: Ethical Dimensions of the Ethnography of Performance
L&D, Ch 19. Mienczakowski , The Theater of Ethnography: The Reconstruction of Ethnography into Theater With Emancipatory Potential
L&D, Ch 20. Hymes, Foreword Reflections: The Anthropological Muse,
L&D, Ch 21. Langellier, Personal Narrative, Performance, Performativity: Two or Three Things I Know for Sure
L&D, Ch 22. Madison, Performance, Personal Narratives and the Politics of Possibility
Week 13 Innovations in Ethnographic Work: Performance
11/29 Student Presentations
Week 14 Student Presentations
Final exam, 12/13/12, 1:30
· Due: 9/25
o National Institute of Health certification online to conduct research on Human Subjects http://phrp.nihtraining./login/php
Complete and submit the certificate of completion.
Write a one to two page summation of what you’ve learned about ethics in field research doing the training; this is to be typed and submitted. Be prepared to discuss ethics in field research based on this exercise.