Political Science | Qualitative Methods in Political Science
Y579 | 21304 | Kasza


This course trains students in the use of a variety of qualitative
research methods.  The readings include general treatments of
qualitative methods, pieces of research that illustrate the use of
these methods, and several practicum exercises in which students
will employ the methods themselves (e.g., conducting interviews).
The course begins with discussion of the philosophical underpinnings
of qualitative research, scrutinizing the ontological and
epistemological assumptions underlying scientific inquiry and
methodological choice. We will examine the following qualitative
methods in detail: small-n/case study research, comparative
historical analysis (archival research), interviews, focus groups,
participant observation/ethnography, interpretivist
methods/hermeneutics, and culture studies/politics and the arts.
Among the issues to be addressed are research design, methods of
theory testing, how to write up qualitative research in field notes
and for publication, the ethics of field work, and the bureaucratic
hurdles of working with "human subjects."  The written work for the
course comprises five short papers.