SOCIOLOGY 377A - Sociological Inquiry
Fall, 2012

Sociology 377A Jim Thomas M - W - F: 12 to 12:50 (DuSable 212) 812 Zulauf Dusable Hall - 212 (815) 756-3839 email: Qualitative methods draw from ways of collecting, analyzing, and collecting data that use observations, interactions (including interviewing), documents, images, or any other "thing" that has social meaning. In this class, we will focus most heavily on ethnography, which is the study of a culture from the participants' point of view. We will examine the research logic, the ethics of doing research, and the techniques by which data are gathered, analyzed, and presented. We will practice several methods by which scientists can obtain data for understanding culture, including: 1) Systematic/participant observation 2) Interviewing 3) documentary/content analysis (movies, images, text, historical documents) Because we are studying people, issues such as privacy, revealing "secrets," or covert data collection require attention to the ethics of our research. We will begin the class be defining ethnography, describing some of the methods used, and then spend consiberable time on ethics of research. Normally, fieldwork requires tape recorders and transcribers for collecting interview data and then listening to what we've taped and typing it up as field notes. However, because we are now in the digital age, we will attempt to use smart phones, video devices, language recognition software, and other tools that many of us have. Course requirements and grading. The course is organized around five general issues: A. Ways of gathering qualitative data B. Ethical issues C. Epistemological/methodological issues D. Doing ethnography: Identifying the proper method(s) E. Coding and Analyzing data F. Writing it up: The language of ethnography Course Requirements and Grading Grading will be done on the basis of 500 points: a) Many Pop quizzes (10 points each - Total: 50 points - only top 5 scores count) b) four short papers (30 points each) c) Class participation (in-class and WedBoard) (50 points) d) One final paper (250 points) e) Some extra credit MIGHT be available TOTAL POINTS: 470 Required readings (others assigned as term progresses): REQUIERED BOOKS: Kirk &: Miller RELIABILITY AND VALIDITY James Spradley THE ETHNOGRAPHIC INTERVIEW REQUIRED SHORT READINGS: Short articles will be assigned as appropriate during the course. They will be placed on-line with at least 10 days notice There will also be suggested reading to illustrates course themes or suggest what a qualitative paper looks like. Assignments will be given each week. Much of what we do will be shaped by what people choose for research projects. Hence, we cannot give specific assignments at this time. THE COURSE WILL BE RELATIVELY EASY, BUT WILL BE LOTS OF WORK!!!! Attendance, class participation, and keeping up on assignments are crucial. BECAUSE OF UNFORSEEN GLITCHES, IT MAY OCCASIONALLY BE NECESSARY TO CHANGE ASSIGNMENTS AND DATES. **YOU** ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR BEING AWARE OF THESE CHANGES. NOTE: FINAL PAPERS ARE DUE NO LATER THAN WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 12 at class time (NO PAPERS WILL BE ACCEPTED AFTER Wednesday, December 12, at noon) The following are the tentative ASSIGNMENTS.

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