Sociology | Topics in Methods and Measurement
S450 | 25447 | Corsaro
Topic: Qualitative Methods
MAY NOT BE TAKEN FOR GRADUATE CREDIT
OPEN TO MAJORS ONLY
This course will introduce students to the logic and practice of
qualitative methods in the social sciences. The focus of the course
will be on ethnography and intensive interviewing. We will view
ethnography and intensive interviewing as both methods of research and
as theoretical orientations in that one's approach to these methods
reflect a particular conception of culture and social structure. We
will concentrate primarily on interpretive approaches to culture with
a focus on collective processes of negotiation, action, and
interpretive understanding. The particular ethnographic and
interviewing methods we will read about, evaluate, and employ are
routinely utilized in a range of research areas in sociology (as well
as anthropology, education, folklore, and psychology).
A general goal of the course is for the class to engage and confront
a range of qualitative texts (both actual ethnographic and interview
studies and descriptive and didactic discussions of particular
methods) and to appropriate the wisdom of these texts in a series of
written projects over the course of the semester. I will insist that
the engagement and appropriation of these texts will be primarily a
collective process. I will do some lecturing and students will be
individually responsible for written reports. However, I expect
students to be prepared to participate routinely in class discussions,
and every project will be dialogic in that students will actively
engage each other and me in the process of producing written assignments.
Assignments include: (1) a set of commentaries and evaluations of two
research monographs (one ethnography and one intensive interview
study); (2) the filling out of a Human Subjects Proposal for the
interview requirement in the course; (3) a field note collection and
evaluation project; and (4) an interview project in which each student
interviews another class member about a life transition and evaluates
the interview process.
The books required for the course are:
William A. Corsaro and Luisa Molinari, I Compagni: Understanding
Children=s Transition from Preschool to Elementary School. New York:
Teachers College Press, 2005.
Richard Emerson, Rachel Fretz, and Linda Shaw, Writing Ethnographic
Fieldnotes. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995.
Katherine Brown Rosier, Mothering Inner-City Children: the Early
School Years. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 2000.
Irving Seidman, Interviewing as Qualitative Research. New York:
Teachers College Press, 1998.
In addition a small set of readings will be made available on