University of Washington
Department of Political Science
Spring Quarter 2006
Qualitative Research Methods (POL S 502)
Room 310 Parrington Hall
Professor Susan Whiting
45 Gowen Hall, 543-9163
This course is part of the required three-quarter methods sequence for Ph.D. students in political science. It focuses on qualitative methods and addresses theoretical issues in addition to offering a hands-on approach. The course will provide an introduction to a wide range of topics as well as covering a narrower subset of concerns in somewhat greater depth. Topics include: the relationship between quantitative and qualitative research, case studies, case selection, concepts and measures, causal analysis, questionnaire design, in-depth interviewing, focus groups, participant observation, archival research, content analysis, analytic narratives, comparative-historical analysis, process tracing, counterfactuals, and the ethics and logistics of fieldwork.
Class preparedness, participation, and completion of regular assignments and portfolio (45%)
Each student should come to class prepared to discuss the readings actively. In addition, she/he will complete nine weekly assignments to be submitted via e-mail to me and the class by 5pm on Tuesday afternoon and to be included in a portfolio to be submitted at the end of the quarter. Assignments will typically entail applying qualitative methods to each student’s own research interests on a single set of themes throughout the quarter. Assignments will be announced or distributed in class the preceding week.
Grant proposal and human subjects review (30%)
Each student will submit a grant proposal to conduct research on the same theme as she/he pursued in weekly assignments throughout the quarter. The grant proposal must conform to the requirements set forth in the Social Science Research Council’s International Dissertation Field Research Fellowships application instructions (http://www.ssrc.org/programs/idrf/Application_Instructions_2006.page). Naturally, each student’s set of research interests will be unique and need not entail international field research; rather, the instructions indicate the requirements and format of the proposal. In addition, each student must consult the guidelines for human subjects review (http://www.washington.edu/research/hsd/hsdman2.html#II-c), determine the relevant category, and justify seeking exemption, minimal risk review, or standard review. The grant proposal and human subjects justification will be due in class on Wednesday, May 31.
Final exam (25%)
There will be a comprehensive exam during the regularly scheduled exam time.
Office hours are Thursdays 1:00-3:00pm in 45 Gowen Hall.
All course materials are to be found in the reader, available for purchase at Ram’s Copy Center, 4144 University Way, NE (206-632-6630).
Additional Course Information
If you would like to request academic accommodations due to a disability, please contact Disabled Student Services, 448 Schmitz, 543-8924 (V/TDD). If you have a letter from Disabled Student Services indicating you have a disability that requires academic accommodations, please present the letter to me so we can discuss the accommodations you might need for class.
Wednesday March 29, 2006
Wednesday April 5, 2006
Causal Arguments and Interpretation
Daniel Little, Microfoundations, Method, and Causation (New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 1998), Chp. 10 “Causal Explanation in the Social Sciences,” pp. 197-214.
Ann Chih Lin, “Bridging Positivist and Interpretive Approaches to Qualitative Methods,” Policy Studies Journal 26:1 (1998), pp. 162-180.
Stanley Lieberson, “Small N’s and Big Conclusions: An Examination of the Reasoning in Comparative Studies Based on a Small Number of Cases,” Social Forces Vol. 70, No. 2 (1991), pp. 307-320. Full-text online: JSTOR.
David Collier, Henry E. Brady, and Jason Seawright, “Sources of Leverage in Causal Inference: Toward an Alternative View of Methodology,” in Henry E. Brady and David Collier, eds., Rethinking Social Inquiry: Diverse Tools, Shared Standards (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2004), Chp. 13, pp. 230-266.
Charles C. Ragin, “Turning the Tables: How Case-Oriented Research Challenges Variable-Oriented Research,” in Henry E. Brady and David Collier, eds., Rethinking Social Inquiry: Diverse Tools, Shared Standards (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2004), Chp. 8, pp. 123-138.
Review: Gary King, et al., Designing Social Inquiry: Scientific Inference in Qualitative Research (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994), Chps. 1, 2.0-2.2, 3.
Wednesday April 12, 2006
Case Studies and Case Selection
Harry Eckstein, “Case Studies and Theory in Political Science,” in Fred Greenstein and Nelson Polsby, eds., Handbook of Political Science, Vol. 7 (Addison-Wesley, 1975), pp. 79-138.
Timothy J. McKeown, “Case Studies and the Statistical Worldview,” International Organization Vol. 53, No. 1 (Winter 1999), pp. 161-190.
Barbara Geddes, “How the Cases You Choose Affect the Answers You Get: Selection Bias in Comparative Politics,” Political Analysis Vol. 2 (1990), pp. 131-150.
Douglas Dion, “Evidence and Inference in the Comparative Case Study,” Comparative Politics Vol. 30, No. 2 (January 1998), pp. 127-45.
David Collier and James Mahoney, “Insights and Pitfalls: Selection Bias in Qualitative Research,” World Politics Vol. 49, No. 1 (October 1996), pp. 56-91.
Christopher Achen and Duncan Snidal, “Rational Deterrence Theory and Comparative Case Studies,” World Politics Vol. 41, No. (1989), pp. 143-169.
David Collier, James Mahoney, and Jason Seawright, “Claiming Too Much: Warnings about Selection Bias,” in Henry E. Brady and David Collier, eds., Rethinking Social Inquiry: Diverse Tools, Shared Standards (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2004), Chp. 6, pp. 85-102.
Gary King, et al., Designing Social Inquiry: Scientific Inference in Qualitative Research (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994), Chp. 4 “Determining What to Observe” and Chp. 6 “Increasing the Number of Observations,” pp. 115-149 and 208-230.
Alexander L. George, “Case Studies and Theory Development: The Method of Structured, Focused Comparison,” in Paul Gordon Lauren, ed., Diplomacy: New Approaches in History, Theory, and Policy (New York: Free Press, 1979), pp. 43-68.
Robert K. Yin, Case Study Research: Design and Methods (Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 2003), Chp. 1 “Introduction,” pp. 1-15; Chp. 4 “Conducting Case Studies: Collecting the Evidence,” pp. 83-108.
Stephen Van Evera, Guide to Methods for Students of Political Science (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1997).
Wednesday April 19, 2006
Concepts and Measures
Louise H. Kidder, et al., Research Methods in Social Relations (New York: Holt Reinhart and Winston, 1986), Chp. 3 “Measurement: From Abstract Concepts to Concrete Representations,” pp. 39-68.
Howard S. Becker, Tricks of the Trade: How to Think about Your Research while You’re Doing It (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998) Chp. 4 “Concepts,” pp. 109-145.
Eugene T. Webb, et al., Nonreactive Measures in the Social Sciences, 2nd Ed. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1981), Chp. 3 “Approximations to Knowledge,” pp. 34-77.
Todd Jick, “Mixing Qualitative and Quantitative Measures: Triangulation in Action,” Administrative Science Quarterly Vol. 24, No. 4 (December 1979), pp. 602-611.
Lois-ellin Datta, “A Pragmatic Basis for Mixed-Method Design,” in Jennifer C. Greene, et al., Advances in Mixed-Method Evaluation: The Challenges and Benefits of Integrating Diverse Paradigms (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1997), pp. 33-46.
Gary King, et al., Designing Social Inquiry: Scientific Inference in Qualitative Research (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994), Chp. 5.
Wednesday April 26, 2006
Counterfactuals; Process Tracing
Alexander L. George and Andrew Bennett, Case Studies and Theory Development in the Social Sciences (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2005), Chp. 10 “Process-Tracing and Historical Explanation,” pp. 205-232.
Alexander L. George and Timothy J. McKeown, “Case Studies and Theories of Organizational Decision Making,” Advances in Information Processing in Organizations Vol. 2 (1985), pp. 21-58. Focus on Section V “Strategies for Performing Case Studies: The Process-Tracing Procedure.”
Jon Elster, Nuts and Bolts for the Social Sciences (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1989), Chp. 1 “Mechanisms,” pp. 3-10.
James D. Fearon, “Counterfactuals and Hypothesis Testing in Political Science,” World Politics Vol. 43, No. 2 (January 1991), pp. 169-195.
Edgar Kiser and Margaret Levi, “Using Counterfactuals in Historical Analysis: Theories of Revolution,”in Philip E. Tetlock and Aaron Belkin, eds., Counterfactual Thought Experiments in World Politics (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996), pp.
Philip E. Tetlock and Aaron Belkin, “Counterfactual Thought Experiments in World Politics,” in Tetlock and Belkins, eds., Counterfactual Thought Experiments in World Politics (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996), pp. 3-38.
Wednesday May 3, 2006
Comparative Historical Analysis and Analytic Narratives
James Mahoney, “Stategies of Causal Assessment in Comparative Historical Analysis,” in James Mahoney and Dietrich Rueschemeyer, eds., Comparative Historical Analysis in the Social Sciences (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003), pp.337-372.
Theda Skocpol and Margaret Somers, “The Uses of Comparative History in Macrosocial Inquiry,” Comparative Studies in Society and History Vol. 22, No. 2 (April 1980), pp. 174-197.
Edgar Kiser and Michael Hechter, “The Debate on Historical Sociology: Rational Choice Theory and Its Critics,” American Journal of Sociology Vol. 104, No. 3 (1998), pp. 785-816
Robert H. Bates, et al., Analytic Narratives ( Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998), Chp. 1 “Introduction,” pp. 3-22; “Conclusion,: pp. 231-238.
Jon Elster, “Rational Choice History: A Case of Excessive Ambition,” American Political Science Review Vol. 94, No. 3 (September 2000), pp. 685-695.
Robert H. Bates, et al., “The Analytic Narratives Project,” American Political Science Review Vol. 94, No. 3 (September 2000), pp. 695-702.
Wednesday May 10, 2006
Questionnaire Design, Interviewing, and Focus Groups
Louise H. Kidder, et al., Research Methods in Social Relations (New York: Holt Reinhart and Winston, 1986), Chp. 11 “Questionnaires and Interviews: Asking Questions Effectively,” pp. 236-278.
Seymour Sudman and Norman M. Bradburn, Asking Questions (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1982), Chp. 1 “The Social Context of Question Asking,” pp. 1-19; “Checklists of Major Points,” various pages.
Robert Weiss, Learning from Strangers: The Art and Method of Qualitative Interview Studies (New York: Free Press, 1994), pp. 1-14, 61-83, 151-183, 219-222.
David L. Morgan, Focus Groups as Qualitative Research (Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 1997), Chp 2 “Focus Groups as a Qualitative Method,” pp. 7-17.
Wednesday May 17, 2006
Archival Research and Content Analysis
Michael R. Hill, Archival Strategies and Techniques (Newbury Park: Sage Publications,1993), Chp. 2 “Archival Sedimentation,” pp. 8-20; Chp. 4 “Getting Started: ‘Targets’ and ‘Tool Kits’,” pp. 27-40; Chp. 6 “Confronting the ‘Black Box’ Problem,” pp. 44-50; Chp. 8 “Strategies for Organizing Archival Data,” pp. 58-64; Chp. 10 “Publications Citations, and Permissions,” pp. 69-73.
Louise H. Kidder, et al., Research Methods in Social Relations (New York: Holt Reinhart and Winston, 1986), Chp.12 (excerpt), pp. 299-311.
Earl Babbie, The Practice of Social Research, 9th Ed. (Belmont: Wadsworth Publishing, 2001), Chp. 11 “Unobtrusive Research,” pp. 303-330. See also earlier edition pp. 302-308 for different examples.”
Optional: Pauline Marie Rosenau, Post-Modernism and the Social Sciences: Insights, Inroads, and Intrusions (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992), Chp. 2 “Abandoning the Author, Transforming the Text, and Re-orienting the Reader,” pp. 25-41.
Wednesday May 24, 2006
Fieldwork, Participant Observation, and Ethics
John Lofland and Lyn H. Lofland, Analyzing Social Settings: A Guide to Qualitative Observation and Analysis (Belmont: Wadsworth Publishing, 1995), Chp. 5 “Logging Data,” pp. 66-98; and Chp. 9 “Developing Analysis,” pp. 181-203.
Stephen Devereux and John Hoddinott, eds., Fieldwork in Developing Countries (New York: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1992), Chp. 1 “The Context of Fieldwork,” pp. 3-24; Chp. 2 “Issues in Data Collection,” pp. 24-40; Chp. 6 “Qualitative Research: Collecting Life Histories (Elizabeth Francis),” pp. 86-101; Chp. 12 “Thinking About the Ethics of Fieldwork (Ken Wilson),” pp. 179-199.
Richard Fenno, Home Style: House Members in their Districts (Boston: Little, Brown, 1978), Appendix “Notes on Method: Participant Observation,” pp. 249-295.
Robert M. Emerson, et al., Writing Ethnographic Fieldnotes (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995).
Wednesday May 31, 2006
GRANT PROPOSAL DUE
Monday, June 5, 2006, 6:30-8:20pm
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