J641 Qualitative Research Methods
Summary of Assignments
Under Development: Last Updated
The primary research work of the seminar will be to
propose, to organize, to conduct, and to present, in both written and
oral form, a preliminary study in communications that utilizes at
least two qualitative methods of analysis: participant-observation,
in-depth interviewing, and document analysis. The expected length is
20-25 pages. double-space, one-inch margins 12 point, Courier font,
and using consistent style for citations.
All written assignments are required to be
typewritten, double-space, one-inch margins, 12-point Courier font,
and to conform to a single style for references.
1. Proposed research question and applicability of at least
two qualitative methods (2-3 pages). Due at the start of class
2. Revised research question and preliminary report on the
availability and appropriateness of sources relevant to your topic.
Due at the start of class Jan. 29.
3. Preliminary research report and analysis of first
qualitative methods trial; implications for your research question
and subsequent research. Due at the start of class Feb. 5.
4. Report on participant-observation, including field notes.
Due at the start of class Feb. 12.
5. Report on interviewing, including your list of questions,
and their usefulness in achieving the desired results. Due at the
start of class Feb. 19.
6. The organization and expanded outline (3-5 pages) of your
research essay, pulling together the research question, selected
methods, tentative analysis, and proposed interpretation. Due at
the start of class March 5.
The completed research essay (20-25 pages). Due by the end
of the scheduled final examination period, Monday, March 19, 5 p.m.
Seminar members who are applying interviewing, document
analysis, participant-observation or other qualitative methods in
their research will be responsible for reporting to the class on the
strengths and limitations of at least one of these approaches, both
in terms of methodology and as applied to your individual projects.
Choose one or more methods primary to your research and join in
organizing a group discussion at the appropriate class meeting.
Tentative group discussion schedule
Subject to change by in-class
Document Analysis, Feb. 21
Participant-Observation: Feb. 28.
Interviewing: March 7.
Individual Project Reports, March 12, 14, 19.
All work will be evaluated on the basis of clarity, focus,
relevance, and depth of analysis. Written assignments will be
evaluated on literary standards appropriate to professional
researchers and communicators. Deadlines will be enforced and late
Written Reports: 40%
Oral Presentations: 20%
Final Essay: 30 %
Class Participation: 10%
Students are expected to do their own work and to attribute
fully any information obtained from other sources. Submission of
plagiarized material will result in an automatic F for the
assignment, and potentially for the course. See the
Conduct Code for information on definitions and possible