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INTRODUCTION TO FIELD RESEARCH AND INTERVIEWING (SOC
This course is a graduate-level introduction to qualitative methods in sociology, with a focus on participant observation and in-depth interviewing. Readings and class sessions will focus on both theoretical foundations and techniques of qualitative research. Class sessions will be devoted to discussion of assigned readings, guest lectures on the use of qualitative methods, practical exercises, and student research projects. By the end of the course you will design and complete a qualitative project and you also will also learn how to write a journal article (modeled on articles in the Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, a highly ranked inter-disciplinary journal that publishes ethnography) based on qualitative research.
This course is meant to increase the methodological expertise of doctoral students who have already had an introductory graduate course in qualitative methods. Readings address the theoretical, practical, ethical, emotional, and other challenges of field-based research in a variety of social spaces. Students—from sociology and a variety of other social-science fields—engage in hands-on research, and the course is organized, in part, as a research workshop. In the project work, our emphasis is on honing the skills of fieldnote writing.
Although the overwhelming focus of this course will be on ethnographic immersion and the method of participant observation, we will spend time addressing in-depth interviewing as a useful complement to field research. This course aims to guide you through the actual practice of ethnography, from the initial steps of choosing a research question and developing a research design to the final steps of writing a paper, anchored within the research literature that fuses data and analysis. The goals are to hone your observational and interviewing skills, strengthen your writing of field notes, encourage your “reflex” reflexivity, and develop your interpretive instincts. In a typical class session, we will discuss assigned readings, workshop students’ field notes, and collectively problem-solve the issues that have arisen that week in your ongoing research projects. This is an intensely collaborative class that offers the benefits of close faculty mentorship and collective support and engagement.
ADVANCED SEMINAR IN QUALITATIVE RESEARCH: PART II (SOC 812)
This class engages qualitative texts in order to increase students’ ability to write a dissertation using data they have collected. With a few exceptions, those in the course will have taken Part I, and hence have experience with fieldwork methods. In this class, students will engage with theories that are useful in analyzing qualitative data, explore different styles of presenting qualitative research and crafting a manuscript, and study how published scholars have moved from idea to published text. Students’ increased skills will be accomplished primarily by considering monographs based on qualitative data with an eye to understanding multiple ways of analyzing data, presenting findings and organizing manuscripts.
STATISTICS FOR THE SOCIAL SCIENCES (SOC 513)
This course will cover the elementary statistical techniques most commonly utilized by social scientists. Our goal is to understand the logic of quantitative social research and gain hands-on practices in statistical analysis of social data. You will learn how to answer a particular research question of your own choosing, and will start to build the foundation of knowledge from which you can critically evaluate the quality of statistical evidence produced by social scientists.
QUANTITATIVE METHODOLOGY (SOC 606)
The emphasis in this course is on how to think about conducting social research. Objectives for this methods course are to practice critiquing the relevance, reliability, and validity of published scholarly work; to understand ethical issues in research, and practice human subjects review; to practice formulating testable research questions; and to assess the strengths and weaknesses of a full range of quantitative research designs and methodologies. We will work as a group to collect, enter, and analyze original data using SPSS – and present the results to our client. This exercise will allow students an additional opportunity to understand and practice skills related to univariate and bivariate data analysis. Students will also work individually to write, revise, and present a do-able individual research proposal.
INTERMEDIATE SOCIAL STATISTICS (SOC 714)