Section Information for Spring 2017
The fundamental goals of qualitative social research are straightforward. Qualitative researchers attempt to produce detailed descriptions and interpretations of human behavior and interaction, foregrounding the perspectives of those studied, and then they communicate these findings to others in ways that give voice to the experiences and views of research participants. Qualitative methods are especially appropriate when the goal of the researcher is to understand both the meanings individuals and groups attach to their behavior and their lifeworld, and social and historical contexts within which these meanings and lifeworlds are produced. The main goal of this course is therefore to deepen students' understanding of the process of conducting qualitative communication research. In lectures and seminar discussions, we will discuss the philosophical foundations of interpretive social research, as well as its relationship with positivist and critical research. We will also discuss readings designed to deepen our understanding of the most widely-used methods of qualitative communication research, with a particular focus on interviews and participant observation. Finally, all course activities will be tailored to help students achieve the major goal of this course: designing, executing, and reporting an original piece of qualitative communication research.
Examines qualitative research in communication. Emphasis is placed on techniques of naturalistic inquiry such as observation, interviewing, focus group methods, and ethnography, as well as tools for analyzing and reporting qualitative data.