Advanced Qualitative Methods
Course Code: PUBLG105
Course Tutor: Dr Lisa Vanhala (Department of Political Science)
Assessment: One 3,000 word essay
Credit Value: 15
About this course
This course is designed for students who want to deepen their engagement with methodological debates and expand their practical skill-set. It is intended for those students with some knowledge and experience of qualitative research (i.e. have already taken a course in qualitative social science research methods and have undertaken a project that was independently designed and executed by the student). The course covers three broad areas. 1) It addresses the fundamentals of small-n and intermediate-n research design including experimental, case study and comparative research. It also looks at issues of ethics, access and risk with a particular focus on these issues when conducting research in dangerous locations or difficult situations. 2) The course introduces specific research techniques including ethnography, qualitative interviewing, focus groups, text analysis and process-tracing. 3) The course explores the classic and ongoing debates about the ontological and epistemological foundations of social science research and considers the relationship between quantitative and qualitative methods. In addition to rigorous engagement with the assigned texts and practical application of qualitative research skills, students will be encouraged to present and to evaluate research projects in light of course readings and discussions. This course will also provide students with practical skills that will help in gaining employment in relevant research positions in the public, private and voluntary sectors.
By the end of the course, students will be able to:
· Demonstrate a sound understanding of epistemological and methodological debates in political science
· Design and critique qualitative and multi-methods research projects
· Gather and analyze different types of qualitative data
· Contribute to theory and concept development, application and evaluation by drawing on qualitative techniques
Should I take Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods or Advanced Qualitative Methods?
For students deciding between the Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods (PUBLG004) and Advanced Qualitative Methods (PUBLG105) please consider the following.
1) Previous training in research methods: Students taking the Advanced Qualitative Methods course should have taken at least one social science research methods course that covers topics in philosophy of social science, research design and qualitative methods.
2) Previous independent research: Students taking the Advanced Qualitative Methods course should have undertaken an independent research project including planning the project and undertaking and writing up the research.
3) Identifications: Students should be able to identify (i.e. define and provide an example) of at least 7 of the 10 following terms:
b. Normative vs empirical research
c. Inductive vs deductive research
e. Small-n research
f. Most different systems design
g. Validity and reliability
h. Sampling error
j. Elite interview