SOC WL 581
Theoretical and methodological foundations of a range of qualitative methods relevant to social welfare and social science research. Fundamentals of qualitative research design and implementation, including framing research questions, sampling, data collection, analytical methods, and quality criteria. Focus on ethics, cultural sensitivity, and community-based research with vulnerable populations.
This course is designed to both de-mystify the research process and to re-enchant it. We will closely examine research texts and processes, looking at the underlying question of how this research came to be before us and what skills it can teach us. At the same time, we will be exploring methods of re-enchanting research by unleashing our own creativity and passions in pursuit of research that is meaningful and makes a difference in the world.
As members of a profession, our first questions turn to ways of improving the lives of our clients, often through work that focuses on larger social systems and policies. This professional mandate forces us to consider not just the theoretical importance of our research, but its practical effects, both in its crafting and dissemination. These questions compel us to examine research in light of its relationship to issues of social justice and ethics.
The course assumes a basic understanding of philosophy of science issues related to ontology and epistemology. Interpretive research is epistemologically eclectic, so we will analyze examples of research from post-positivist, constructionist and critical perspectives. We will focus on the pragmatic ways in which qualitative/interpretive research informs, complements and contravenes traditional quantitative (i.e., numerical) research.
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