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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Susan H. Whiting
POL S 502
Seattle Campus

Qualitative Research Methods

Introduction to qualitative methods in political science, emphasizing practical experience with techniques. Readings and exercises cover research design, multiple methods, varieties of qualitative data, measurement and validation, participant observation, interviewing, and content analysis. Research decision-making issues include analytical strategies, presentation of data, ethics, epistemology, and theory-building.

Class description

Description: 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 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.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

Text: Readings will be drawn from a course reader of articles and book chapters.

Requirements: Course requirements include class participation (25%), exercises (25%), research design (50%).


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by Suman C. Chhabra
Date: 02/19/2009