Education | Qualiktative Inquiry in Education
Y611 | 5874 | David Flinders
Y611 Section 5874
Qualitative Inquiry in Education
Prof. David Flinders
Prerequisites: Graduate standing (admission to a doctoral program),
and Y520 or equivalent. If you do not meet these prerequisites, you
must have instructor approval before you enroll in this course.
Course Overview: Common advice for successful fieldwork is to eat a
good breakfast, show up at the research site, talk with people, and
perhaps take a few notes. Others view the requirements of field
research in a bit broader terms. Steinar Kvale's list includes the
following as "minimum" competencies: Knowledge of philosophical
analysis, and in-depth understanding of the development of rational
thought in Western culture, a critical perspective on social trends,
training in the formal analysis of language, expertise in a variety of
research methods, an awareness of the ethical dimensions of human
science research, and aesthetic sensibility. This section of Y611
falls somewhere between these two perspectives on preparing to do
research. Welcome to the course.
Y611 is base on the assumption that qualitative researchers learn
their trade through both scholarship and firsthand experience (i.e.,
fieldwork). We take away lessons from our own research and from the
research experiences of others. For this reason, the course has two
aims. The first aim is to help you become familiar with the field's
methodological literature, leading advocates, an ongoing debates. The
second aim is to provide an opportunity for you to conduct a
small-scale, qualitative study. Although only an exercise, reflecting
on actual fieldwork will help give you an appreciation for practice of
research, including (as Kvale suggests) its theoretical
methodological, and ethical dimensions.
Because each goal alone is ambitious, and together double so, Y611
will make significant demands on your time. Please think carefully
about your schedule and try to decide early whether you are able to
make this commitment. The course reading will serve as the basis for
class discussions and requirement, so you will miss out on a lot and
may experience painful boredom unless you complete the readings before
the dates for which they are assigned.
1. Corrine Glesne, Becoming Qualitative Researchers: An Introduction.
Second Edition. Longman, 1999.
2. Elliot W. Eisner, The Enlightened Eye: Qualitative Inquiry and the
Enhancement of Educational Practice. Prentice Hall, 1998.
3. Harry F. Wolcott, Writing Up Qualitative Research. SAGE, 1990.
4. Course Reading Packet available at TIS College Bookstore, 1302 E.
Course Calendar and Assigned Readings
Week #1 (Aug 28) - Introduction to the course
Week #2 (Sept 4) - Two Examples and an Introduction to the Genre
Readings: 1. Tom Barone, Ways of Being at Risk: The Case of Billy
Charles Barnett (course packet).
2. David Flinders, Voices form the Classroom, Chapters
1 & 2 (course packet).
3. Eisner, The Enlightened Eye, Chapters 1 & 2
Week #3 (Sept 11) - An Overview of Design and Methods
Reading: Glesne, Becoming Qualitative Researchers, Chapters 1-4
Week #4 (Sept 18) - Analysis and Development
Reading: Glesne, Becoming Qualitative Researchers, Chapters 5-10
Project assignment #1: Inquiry Topic Due Sept 18th.
Week #5 (Sept 25) - Assumptions, Content, and Form
Reading: Eisner, The Enlightened Eye, Chapters 3-7
Week #6 ( Oct 2) - The Complexities of Fieldwork and Use of
Reading: Eisner, The Enlightened Eye, Chapters 8-11
Project assignment #2: Project Proposal Due Oct 2nd.
Week #7 (Oct 9) - AATE Conference/Class will not meet.
Week #8 (Oct 12) - Theory and Concepts
Readings: 1. Sandra Mathison, From Practice to Theory to
Practice: The Roles of Theory in Research on
Standardized Testing (course packet).
2. Louis M. Smith, Notes Toward Theory in Biography:
Working on the Nora Barlow Papers (course packet).
3. David Swanger, The metaphysics of Poetry: Subverting
the "Ancient Quarrel" and Recasting the Problem
Week #9 (Oct 23) - Deskwork
Reading: Wolcott, Writing Up Qualitative Research
Week #10 (Oct 30) - Generalizability
Reading: Donmoyer, Generalizability and the Single-Case Study. In
Elliot W. Eisner and Alan Peshkin (eds.). Qualitative
Inquiry in Education. New York: Teachers College Press,
1990 (course packet).
Week #11 (Nov 6) - Student Presentations
Week #12 (Nov 13) - Student Presentations
Week #13 (Nov 20) - Student Presentations
Week #14 (Nov 27) - Student Presentations
Week #15 - Dec 4) - Closure
Project assignment #4 Project Report Due Dec 4th.
Course Requirements/Grading. In addition to participation in class,
this section of Y611 requires the following:
1. Weekly Questions. Two or three questions based on the assigned
readings for each week. Please keep these questions brief. The
questions should be genuine; that is, questions for which you do not
have an answer. They should also be as focused as possible and
specific to the readings. If your questions are too general, I will
ask you to revise and resubmit them. As you read, as yourself:: Is
there anything puzzling about what the author(s) is saying? Is any of
the terminology unfamiliar? What particular points would I like to
know more about? Theses questions will be discussed in class. I will
collect and return the questions on a weekly basis. Although they
will not be graded, questions for all of the reading are a course
3. Project Assignment #1: Inquiry Topic. In one typed, double-spaced
paragraph (that fits easily on a single page), describe your interest
in a possible topic for a small-scale observation or interview study.
The study, which you will carry out for this class, should involve an
individual or small group of people readily accessible to you (e.g.,
fellow graduate students, acquaintances, etc.) Or examine what goes on
in some well-defined and openly public setting. Do not plan to study
an elementary or secondary school classroom unless you have gained
access to the site as part of the research project on which you
already work. For ethical reasons, I also ask that you not study my
colleagues in the SOE. Plan the study to include about ten hours of
fieldwork. Please keep you methods as unobtrusive as possible, and
inform (when appropriate) your participants that your work is part of
a class exercise. If you want to work on this project together with
another student in the course, please get my approval to do so before
you turn in your topic. Your topic is the focus of your study (the
phenomenon, concept, or pattern of behavior you with to understand).
Your paragraph should clearly define your topic, and explain why you
are interested in this topic or why it is important to your field of
study. This assignment will not be graded, but I will ask that you
share it with the other class members. Please bring enough copies for
all of us on Sept. 18th.
4. Project Assignment #2: Project Proposal. A two to three-page
proposal for your project. Please double space. This assignment is
worth 25 percent of your grade based on the clarity of the following:
a) an introduction that defines your topic and provides a brief
rationale, b) the key assumptions you are making about the topic, c)
your research questions, d) what methods you will us to gather
information, (e.g., number and length of observations or interviews),
e) a fieldwork schedule, and f) possible themes or analytic concepts.
Due Oct. 2nd.
5. Project Assignment #3: Class Presentation. A conference-style, 15
to 20 minute presentation of your study describing its
conceptualization, design, methods, and results. This assignment is
worth 25 percent of your grade based on the same criteria as for
project assignment #2 above, plus its level of preparation and
6. Project Assignment #4: Project Report. A 10 page maximum typed,
double-spaced description of your project, including: a) an
introduction to your topic, the purpose of the study, and its
rationale; b) a brief statement of your conceptual framework and
research questions; c) a description of your approach and methods
(specifically what you did); d) your analysis or interpretation of
information and what you learned; and e) the significance of your
results. This assignment count for 50 percent of your course grade.
I will read and grade these final projects on the same basis that I am
asked to evaluate conference papers and journal manuscripts. The
criteria for this evaluation include: 1) focus, 2) theoretical
significance, 3) clarity of the research questions and design, 4)
coherence (specifically the logical connections between your topic,
research questions, methods, and analysis), and 5) degree of support
for interpretations and/or conclusions. Due Dec 4th.
I follow the grading policy explained on page 20 of the Bulletin for
the School of Education Graduate Program: A grade of "A" signifies
exemplary or extraordinary achievement; "A-" indicates outstanding
achievement; "B+" very good work; "b" a good, solid performance, and
"B-" acceptable. My interpretation of this policy is based on high
expectations for what constitutes "exemplary or extraordinary
achievement." The grad of "incomplete" will be used only in the case
of unexpected emergencies.
If you are unable to meet any course requirements, please let me know
as early as possible. Late assignments will lower your course grade.
The standard expectations for academic integrity apply to all aspects
of this course.