Education | Qualitative Inquiry in Education
Y611 | 5551 | Dr. Phil Carspecken


Course Description

This is a very difficult course, requiring a large amount of work and
intensive effort to master some challenging theory.  It is labor
intensive, requiring a field project as well as extensive reading.
Students should not take this course unless they are prepared to
devote an unusually large amount of time and effort.  The course has
two main objectives:

For students to become familiar with basic field and analytic methods
in qualitative research

For students to learn basic principles of social theory necessary for
a sound understanding of qualitative field methods and, especially,
analysis

All students will have to conduct a small-scale field project to meet
course requirements.  You should take immediate steps to put a project
into place and get permission to conduct it.  By the end of January
you will have to have the beginnings of a set of observational notes
on human interactions so that you will be able to practice analytic
techniques on your own data.  The field project will be time
consuming.  You will need a tape recorder and a word processor for
your project.

There will be many readings assigned and class lectures will not use
up too much time amplifying these readings.  Students are expected to
take responsibility for the readings and to ask for help if they have
difficulty understanding any of them.  Class lectures will be most
closely associated with my book on critical ethnography from which
readings will be assigned regularly.  Students are encouraged to email
the instructor regularly to get help with questions that will arise
from readings and their project.  Class participation and, of course,
attendance, is very important.

By the end of this course students may be able to begin a full-scale
qualitative research project but possibly not.  The instructor will
inform each student of his opinion on this matter at the end of the
course.  Even for students who do very well in the course, there will
be much yet to learn if a full-scale qualitative research project is
to be done well.  Students who wish to produce a qualitative
dissertation will have to take the initiative to read many
ethnographies on their own and also read various works on qualitative
method and theory not covered in this course.


Assignments and Assessment

Here is a list of assignments for this course:

A) Field Project Set Up and Ready to Go

Starting at the end of January you will have to turn in assignments
based on fieldwork.  This means that you should have a project in mind
right now!  Get Human Subjects approval for it immediately.

B) You will have to turn in the following during the semester,

1) A description of your study, no later than the week of January
21-25.
a. Give a brief description of the site
b. Provide a list of questions you wish answers to through research on
this site
c. Provide a list of what information you will have to collect to get
answers to these questions.

2) Excerpts (3-4 pages each) from two "thick" observations, about one
hour each:
a. From your first observation, no later than the week of February
11-15.
b. From your second observation, no later than the week of February
18-22.

3) Meaning field analyses until passed by me, no later than week of
February 25-29.

4) Validity reconstructions until passed by me, no later than the week
of March 4-8.

5) A role analysis until passed by me, no later than the week of March
18-22.

6) A power analysis until passed by me, no later than the week of
March 18-22.

7) An interactive sequence analysis until passed by me, no later than
the week of April 1-5.  This will include attention to:

a. Setting bids and negotiations
b. Setting shifts
c. Interactive rhythms
d. Use of normative reconstructions, role analysis and power analysis
to provide details on features of the sequence.

8) Coding scheme for observational data until passed by me, no later
than the week of April 8-12.

9) Interview protocol until passed by me, no later than the week of
April 8-12.

10) Four to five transcribed pages from a qualitative interview, no
later than the week of April 15-19.

11) Commentary on your interview, no later than the week of April
15-19.

12) Essay comparing three ethnographies, two read in common by all
class members and one of your own choosing, no later than the week of
April 22-26.

13) Final project narrative, no later than the week of April 29-May 2.

14) Final examination: to be determined.

C) Evaluation system:  Most of the fieldwork based assignments will be
on a pass/do-over basis.  You turn them in, receive comments from me,
and do them over if I ask you to.  Once the work has met my
expectations I will give it a 'grade' ranging from "barely
satisfactory" (S-) through excellent (E): S-, S, G (good), and E.  The
essay, project summary and preliminary analysis and the final
examination will be graded in the traditional manner.  When it is time
to determine a final grade for you I will assess your fieldwork skills
as a whole and give them a grade worth 60% of your final grade and
count your essay and final examination 20% each.

Summary of assignments:

Assignment Last week it will be accepted
Site description and research questions	January 21-25: Week three
Observation 1 February 11-15: Week six
Observation 2 February 18-22: Week seven
Meaning Fields February 25-19: Week eight
Validity Horizons March 4-8: Week nine
Role Analysis March 18-22: Week ten
Power Analysis March 18-22: Week ten
Sequence Analysis April 1-5: Week twelve
Coding Scheme April 8-12: Week thirteen
Interview Protocol April 8-12: Week thirteen
Interview April 15-19: Week fourteen
Interview commentary April 15-19: Week fourteen
Essay comparing three ethnographies April 22-26: Week fifteen
Project summary and preliminary analysis April 29-May 2: Week sixteen

Required books

Carspecken, P.  (1996).  Critical Ethnography in Educational Research.
New York and London: Routledge.

Denzin, N. and Lincoln, Y. (1998).  The Landscape of Qualitative
Research.  Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

Calvino, I.  (1983).  Mr. Palomar.  San Diego: Harvest Book, Harcourt
Brace & Co.

Davidson, A. (1996).  Making and Molding Identity in Schools.  Albany:
SUNY

Losey, K.  (1997).  Listen to the Silences.  Norwood, N.J.:  Ablex
Publishing

Soto, L.  (1997).  Language, Culture and Power.  Albany: SUNY

Planned classes and assignments:

Week One: Situating Qualitative Social Research I.

Week Two: Situating Qualitative Social Research II and Observation
methods.

*Denzin and Lincoln: 1, 2,
*Carspecken: 1, 2
*Question guides to these chapters sent electronically
	
Week Three:  Critical Qualitative Research

*Denzin and Lincoln: 3 (optional), 6, 8
*Carspecken: 3
*Examples of thick observational notes sent electronically or handed
out

Week Four:  The Internal Relation between Validity and Meaning

*Carspecken: 4, 5
*Denzin and Lincoln: 5 (optional)
Week Five:  The Lifeworld and its Analysis I.

*Calvino: 1, 2, 3 plus reading notes on these chapters sent
electronically or handed out

Week Six:  The Lifeworld and its Analysis II.

*Carspecken: 6
*Calvino: 4, 5, 6 plus reading notes on these chapters handed out or
sent electronically
	
Week Seven:  The Lifeworld and its Analysis III.

*Carspecken: 7
*Denzin and Lincoln: 4


Week Eight:  The Lifeworld and its Analysis IV, Coding		

*Carspecken: 8, 9
*Denzin and Lincoln
*Examples of coding sent electronically

Week Nine:  Synthesis and Applications

*Davidson: entire book plus reading guide

Spring Break

Week Ten:  Qualitative Interviewing: methods

*Carspecken: 10, 11
	
Week Eleven:  AERA; no class

Week Twelve:  Synthesis and Applications

*Soto: entire book plus reading guide

Week Thirteen:  Writing the Research Report

*Losey: entire book

Week Fourteen:  Systems Analysis

*Carspecken: 12, 13

Week Fifteen:  Summary and Synthesis; preparation for final
examination

Week Sixteen:  Final Examination

Summary of reading and assignments:

Week/Assignment/Readings
1  Jan. 8		
2  Jan. 15  *Denzin and Lincoln: 1, 2,*Carspecken: 1, 2 *Question
guides to these chapters sent electronically  	
3  Jan 22  Site description and research questions	*Denzin and
Lincoln: 3 (optional), 6, 8*Carspecken: 3*Examples of thick
observational notes sent electronically or handed out
4  Jan. 29  *Carspecken: 4, 5*Denzin and Lincoln: 5 (optional)
5  Feb. 5  *Calvino: 1, 2, 3 plus reading notes on these chapters sent
electronically or handed out
6  Feb. 12  Observation 1  *Carspecken: 6*Calvino: 4, 5, 6 plus
reading notes on these chapters handed out or sent electronically
7  Feb. 19  Observation 2  *Carspecken: 7*Denzin and Lincoln: 4
8  Feb. 26  Meaning Fields  *Carspecken: 8, 9*Denzin and Lincoln
*Examples of coding sent electronically
9  March 5  Validity Horizons  *Davidson: entire book plus reading
guide
Spring Break		
10 March 19  Role AnalysisPower Analysis  *Carspecken: 10, 11
11 March 36  AERA   no class	AERA   no class
12 April 2  Sequence Analysis  *Soto: entire book plus reading guide
13 April 9  Coding SchemeInterview Protocol  *Losey: entire book
14 April 16  InterviewInterview commentary  *Carspecken: 12, 13
15 April 23  Essay comparing three ethnographies	
16 April 30 Project summary and preliminary analysis	
FINAL EXAMINATION