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Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
School of Administrative Studies
AP/ADMS 4421 3.0 Qualitative Methods W 2018
Provides an in-depth understanding of qualitative strategies for conducting interviews, focus groups and other methods of research in public sector and business and management roles. It also addresses practical and theoretical approaches to data collection and analysis and examines the value of qualitative research in contemporary management practices. Prerequisite: a minimum of 60 credits successfully completed, including AP/ADMS 2400 3.00.
Qualitative Methods ADMS 4421 course introduces students to philosophical and practical aspects of qualitative research methods, with a focus on application of the methods in public sector, business, disaster and emergency managements, administrative studies and other applied research settings. The methods covered during the semester will include field observations, semi-structured interviewing, content analysis, and focus group discussions. The course will address theoretical approaches to qualitative methods, as well as practical aspects of data collection, techniques of analysis and writing about the results of qualitative research in contemporary management practices. The course is organized around six main sections to address the specific needs of undergrad students and enable them to design a qualitative research from the first step of finding the central question to the process of doing the research and writing the report. Students will apply the skills they learn to their research practicum during the semester. They will be encouraged to conduct research in a broad range of management and public policy fields. These six major steps of learning to apply qualitative methods are:
1. Know why qualitative research: theoretical assumption; paradigms and frameworks; five qualitative approaches to inquiry (narrative research, case study, ethnographic research, phenomenological research and grounded theory research).
2. Design of research: when to use qualitative research; the process of designing a qualitative research; the general structure of the proposal; research problem; research statement; research central question; subquestions.
3. Data collection: purposeful sampling strategy (the sites or individuals); qualitative interviewing, observing, focus group discussion; how to store data.
4. Data analysis and representation: methods of analyzing observations, interviews, and focus group discussion; computer use in qualitative data analysis.
5. Writing a qualitative study: reflexivity and representation; audience for our writing; encoding, quotes and narrative research structure.
6. Standards of validation and evaluation: validation strategies; reliability perspectives and evaluation criteria.
The course assignments will be used to assess students’ learning of the course objectives. Students will be asked to do individual and collaborative research to participate in the collection, analysis and presentation of qualitative data. During each class session we will discuss the required readings and their relevance to the assignments students are working on during the semester.
1) Creswell W. John, and Poth, Cheryl N. (2017). Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design: Choosing Among Five Approaches. Thousand Oaks, London and New Delhi: Sage Publications. REQUIRED
2) Guest, Greg, Namey, Emily. E. and Mitchell, Marilyn. L. (2013). Collecting Qualitative Data: A Field Manual for Applied Research. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications. REQUIRED Guest et.al Chapter 5, pages: 515-567
1) Flowerdew, Robin, and Martin, David (Eds.) (2013) Methods in Human Geography: A Guide for Students Doing a Research Project. 2nd edition. London and New York: Routledge
Assignment #1: Readings Summaries and Presentation of a Class Discussion (20%)
Reading Summaries: Each week from January 17 (second class) to March 28 (11th class), you are to submit a short summary (two to three paragraphs) on one of the assigned readings for that week. In this submission, you should pose the main argument of the author and the articles’ key findings/positions. In total, there will be ten (10) submissions. You will have one week that you can skip without penalty. Comments such as “I really liked the article” or “The author did a great job explaining xyz” will not gain you any marks. You need to demonstrate that you read and thought about the article.
Presentation of Class Discussions: On the first day of class, students will join one of the three work groups of 8-9 students. Each subsequent week 3 students will be responsible for presenting the assigned readings and facilitating a group discussion. The discussion facilitator will hand in a one-page synopsis of the group discussion and questions.
Assignment #2: Narrative or Case Study Research (20%)
Students will be required to design and do a narrative or case study research, using interview technique, about a problem in public policy, business or disaster management fields. This project will involve developing a research question, selecting a sample (an individual or site), and engaging in a narrative or ethnographic research. The proposal will be one page long (500 words). The completed project will be 5 pages (double-spaced).
Assignment #3: Grounded Theory or Ethnography Research (25%)
In assignment 3, students will be required to do an ethnography or grounded theory research using field observation, interview or focus group. Topics cover issues in public health, business or natural disaster managements. A one-page proposal is due March 7th. The final paper should be 8 pages, double-space (1800-2000 words). Students doing filed observation can team up in two and those using Focus Group Discussion method can work in groups of 3-4 students. They will write one proposal, conduct observation and focus group together, prepare verbatim transcripts, and write one report based on the data collected together. Research papers will be presented as individual or group works during last two classes, March 28 and April 4, 2018. The instruction for presentations will be discussed on March 21st.
For all assignments there is a 5%/calendar day late penalty for late work. Late work should be stamped and submitted to the departmental drop box. All assignments must be produced in good scholarly form—this means using APA or Chicago academic styles. They must also have a properly formatted bibliography where appropriate.
Final Exam (25%)
The final exam will comprise of short answer and essay questions. It will be cumulative. There will be no make-up exams, except for students who have a valid, documented, university-approved excuse.
In-class activities/ attendance
Assignment #1: Presenting one of the group discussions in class (5%), 10 summary of weekly readings (15%)
Mark the date you want to facilitate and present your group discussion in class. Make sure no more than 2 other students volunteer the same day.
Mark the date of your Presentation
Assignment #2: Narrative or Case Study Research by doing Interview
Proposal due (5%) Jan 31st Essay due (15%) Feb 14th
Assignment #3: Ethnographic or Grounded Theory Research by doing Field Observation or Focus Group
Proposal due (10%) March 7th Essay due (15%) March 28th
Lateness—As the old adage goes, Better late than never, but better never late. Lateness to class causes disruption of the class and disturbance to your classmates as does leaving early. Similarly attendance is not optional. Continual absences will not be tolerated. Missed classes will be reflected in your participation mark but more importantly they will affect your grades for assignments. Class behaviour—Cell phones must be switched off in class. Anyone found using their computer to play games or access inappropriate material will be asked to leave.
Paper format—You are required to submit your written work in hard copy and in proper scholarly style, in terms of both language and format. You should already have a good sense of academic language, and be able to write good grammatical English. If writing is a problem for you, please avail yourself of the many writing workshops available on campus. Attention to detail and meticulous accuracy are important research skills.
Email—I do not answer emails at night or on weekends. Please do not leave urgent queries to the very last minute. I do not answer emails asking for information already provided in this course syllabus.
90-100: A+ Exceptional. Thorough knowledge of concepts and/or techniques and exceptional skill or great originality in the use of those concepts/techniques.
80-89: A Excellent. Thorough knowledge of concepts and/or techniques together with a high degree of skill and/or some elements of originality.
75-79: B+ Very Good. Thorough knowledge of concepts and/or techniques together with a fairly high degree of skill in the use of those concepts/techniques.
70-74: B Good. Good level of knowledge of concepts and/or techniques together with considerable skill in using them.
65-69: C+ Competent. Acceptable level of knowledge of concepts and/or techniques together with considerable skill in using them.
60-64: C Fairly Competent. Acceptable level of knowledge of concepts and/or techniques together with some skill in using them.
55-59: D+ Passing. Slightly better than minimal knowledge of required concepts and/or techniques together with some ability to use them.
50-54: D Barely Passing. Minimum knowledge of concepts and/or techniques needed to satisfy the requirements of an assignment or course.
40-49: E Marginally Failing.
0-40: F Failing.
Introduction to the Course
Paradigms and Frameworks to Design a Qualitative Research
Creswell & Poth, Chapters 1, 2 and 3. Pages: 5-52
Approaches to Qualitative Research: Narrative and Interview
Creswell & Poth, Chapter 4. Pages: 53-86 and Appendix B
Optional: Flowerdew and Martin, Chapter 7
Types of Narrative Research: more on In-Depth Interview
Guest et.al Chapter 4, pages: 390 -453
Approaches to Qualitative Research: Grounded Theory and Ethnography
Creswell & Poth, Chapter 5. Pages: 87-100 Appendix D & E
Framing Research Problem and Data Collection
Creswell & Poth, Chapters 6 & 7 Pages: 101-146
Types of Ethnographies: Field Observation & Participatory Research
Guest et.al Chapter 3, pages: 256- 315
Optional: Flowerdew and Martin, Chapter 10
Types of Grounded Theory Research and Focus Group Method
Guest et.al Chapter 5, pages: 515-567
Optional: Flowerdew and Martin, Chapter 8
Creswell & Poth, Chapter 8 Pages: 147-176
Optional: Flowerdew and Martin, Chapter13
Writing Research Report
Creswell & Poth, Chapter 9 Pages: 177-200
Optional: Flowerdew and Martin, Chapters 17 and 18
Validation and Reliability
Creswell & Poth, Chapter 10 Pages: 201-222
Preparation for Exam
Academic regulations and support at York University
Academic Honesty: Plagiarism and cheating— which includes lifting material from the internet, using text from books without giving credit, or purchasing or borrowing essays—are serious offenses and are taken seriously. If you are caught, which is very likely, the penalties are severe; the offense will be handled by an academic honesty committee and reported to the Dean’s Office. If you are not sure about how to quote or paraphrase, find out. There are many resources available to you, including the library and the writer’s guide. You are expected to complete the Academic Integrity Student On Line Tutorial and Quiz http://www.yorku.ca/academicintegrity/ and consult: http://www.yorku.ca/academicintegrity/students/policy.htm
Academic Support: For a list of sources of academic support, please see: http://www.yorku.ca/yorkweb/currentstudents/academicsupport/index.html
Academic Policy: For the senate policy on disruptive and/or harassing behaviour in academic situations, please see: http://www.yorku.ca/secretariat/policies/document.php?document=82
Research Ethics: http://www.arts.yorku.ca/research_and_teaching/ethics_review_of_course_work/
Documentary Films and Reports As
Ice Storm in Canada:
Documentaries on YouTube: Extreme Canadian Weather: Fire & Ice (1998); Massive Ice Storm Leaves Millions in Quebec in Dark (1998); Remembering the 1998 Ice Storm in Upstate New York and Montreal; Perfect Disaster, Ice Storm (2006); Ice Storm in Toronto (2013).
Fire in Canada
Documentaries on YouTube: Boots on the Ground (Forest Fire Fort McMurray 2016); British Columbia Is Burning.
Flood in Athens (Nov. 2017):
New Orleans Katrina
Documentaries on YouTube: How You Really Make Decisions – BBC Documentary – Horion Documentary; Situational Influences – Documentary (Consumer Behavior)
Electric Car Industry:
Reports on Risk Finance Initiatives: