Spring 2004

General Information:

Time and Place: Tuesday 6:00-8:40, PH 317
Instructor: J. Brandon Wallace, Ph.D.
Instructor's Office, Phone Number, and Email: PH 373, 898-5976,
Instructor's Office Hours: TR 9:15 AM - 1:30 PM. Other times by appointment.

Required Texts:

Basics of Qualitative Research, 2nd Edition, by Anselm Strauss and Juliet Corbin
Qualitative Research Methods for the Social Science, 5th Edition, by Bruce Berg
Contemporary Field Research, 2nd Edition, Robert Emerson, Editor
The Qualitative Research Experience, Deborah Padgett, Editor

Recommended and Classic Books on Qualitative Research:

Handbook of Qualitative Research, 2nd Edition, Norman Denzin and Yvonna Lincoln, Editors
Discovery of Grounded Theory, by Barney Glaser and Anselm Strauss
Street Corner Society, by William F. Whyte
Analyzing Social Settings, by John and Lyn Lofland
Interpretation of Cultures, by Clifford Geertz
Writing Culture, by Clifford James and George Marcus

Other Useful Books on Qualitative Research:

Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design by John W. Creswell
Qualitative Research Design by Joseph Maxwell
Qualitative Research and Evaluation Methods by Michael Quinn Patton
Symbolic Interaction and Ethnographic Research by Robert Prus
Qualitative Data Analysis by Matthew Miles and Michael Huberman
Interpreting Qualitative Data by David Silverman
Making Sense of Qualitative Data by Amand Coffey and Paul Atkinson
Strategies for Interpreting Qualitative Data by Martha Feldman
Writing Up Qualitative Research by Harry Wolcott
Sage series on qualitative methods.

A Few Journals That Publish Qualitative Research:

Journal of Contemporary Ethnography
Qualitative Sociology
Qualitative Inquiry
Symbolic Interaction

Course Description and Objectives:

The course is designed to introduce students to the methods and issues of qualitative social science research. Topics covered include the ontological, epistemological, and theoretical bases of qualitative research; methods for collecting and analyzing qualitative data; personal and ethical issues particular to qualitative research; developing, proposing, and implementing qualitative research projects; and practical applications of qualitative research. Through readings, lectures from the instructor, out-of-class assignments, and classroom discussions, the course seeks to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to (a) recognize the usefulness and appropriateness of qualitative research, (b) read and critically evaluate qualitative research conducted by other social scientists, and (c) design and implement original qualitative research.

Requirements, Assignments, and Grading:

Students are expected to attend class, take good notes, keep up with assigned readings, and participate in classroom discussions. While no explicit credit is given for attendance, regular classroom participation will have a positive impact on final grades. Students also will be expected to do the following:

The seven out-of-class assignments will require students to apply material from the lectures and readings. Most of the assignments will be "mini-proposals" in which students will outline a research project utilizing a specific qualitative method. Students will be expected to discuss their assignments with the class. Some of the work done on the assignments may be applicable to the research proposal due at the end of the semester. Each assignment is worth 25 points.  Students who turn in all seven assignments on time will receive an additional 25 points, bringing the total points possible to 200.    The additional 25 points will be reduced by 5 for every assignment not turned in on time. 

The take-home exam will allow students the opportunity to demonstrate their mastery of the material presented in the course. Students will have two weeks to complete the exam. The exam is worth 100 points.

The qualitative research proposal will describe in detail a qualitative research project designed by the student. While the proposal should be written as if the research were going to be carried out, students are not required to actually complete the research. However, each student is expected to discuss progress on their project at various points during the semester and make a 15-20 presentation of their proposal near the end of the semester. The proposal is worth 100 points.

A total of 400 points is possible. Each student's total will be divided by 4 and grades assigned according the following scale: 0-59%=F, 60-62%=D-, 63-66%=D, 67-69%=D+, 70-72%=C-, 73-76%=C, 77-79%=C+, 80-82%=B-, 83-86%=B, 87-89%=B+, 90-92%=A-, 93-100%=A. Students who attend class regularly, participate in classroom discussions, and turn in assignments on time may be assigned higher grades than their average would indicate, especially if their average is near the next grade category.


Copying another’s work, having someone complete assignments for you, or claiming another's written work as you own (plagiarism), are dishonest and will not be accepted.  Students engaging in such acts will not only be given a zero on the exam or assignment in question, but may fail the course as well. Additionally, the professor may report such actions to appropriate university officials for subsequent action, including probation or suspension. (See the Student Handbook).

Students with special needs certified by the Disabled Student Services should see the instructor the first week of class to discuss arrangements to meet these needs.

If you have not already done so, you are encouraged to become involved in the Graduate Student Sociological Association (GSSA).  For more information on the GSSA check out their website at

Additional information of interest to sociology students, majors, and minors is available on the Department of Sociology and Anthropology web page at