Introduction to Qualitative Research - Syllabus Spring 2014

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Course developed by Dr. Joan E. Hughes at The University of Texas at Austin

The purpose of this class is to introduce you to the theories, assumptions, and practices underlying the use of qualitative research in education. In the tradition of survey courses, this class examines the broad history, concepts, and themes that distinguish multiple methods of qualitative research, specifically as they relate to education research. Students will study, practice, and reflect on different qualitative research methodologies and consider the components and challenges faced when engaging in qualitative research methods. Each student will design and conduct his/her own qualitative study. Issues related to data collection, negotiating access to the field, ethics, and representation will be of particular importance. While it is not assumed that you will gain a comprehensive, rich understanding of any one particular qualitative research tradition over the trajectory of the course, it is expected that upon completion you will acquire the foundational knowledge and experience to begin evaluating, selecting, and defending appropriate qualitative methods for use in your own future research projects.

Goals:
1. Understand historical background and fundamental tenets of qualitative research.
2. Understand ethical issues within qualitative research.
3. Develop a researchable question.
4. Identify the limits and affordances of qualitative research designs.
5. Develop a beginning awareness of qualitative inquiry approaches, including ethnography, case studies, narrative, postmodern, critical, and basic interpretive.
6. Engage in qualitative research activities, including: field observations, interview, coding, analysis, and report writing.

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Introduction to Qualitative Research - Syllabus Spring 2014

  1. 1. Introduction to Qualitative Research (Unique # 10180) Spring 2014 * EDC 386R Wednesdays, 4:00 – 6:45 PM Instructor Joan E. Hughes, Ph.D. 244M Sanchez Bldg Office Hours: Tuesdays 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM Phone/Voice Mail: 512.232.4145 E-mail: joanh@austin.utexas.edu Course Description & Goals The purpose of this class is to introduce you to the theories, assumptions, and practices underlying the use of qualitative research in education. In the tradition of survey courses, this class examines the broad history, concepts, and themes that distinguish multiple methods of qualitative research, specifically as they relate to education research. Students will study, practice, and reflect on different qualitative research methodologies and consider the components and challenges faced when engaging in qualitative research methods. Each student will design and conduct his/her own qualitative study. Issues related to data collection, negotiating access to the field, ethics, and representation will be of particular importance. While it is not assumed that you will gain a comprehensive, rich understanding of any one particular qualitative research tradition over the trajectory of the course, it is expected that upon completion you will acquire the foundational knowledge and experience to begin evaluating, selecting, and defending appropriate qualitative methods for use in your own future research projects. Goals: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Understand historical background and fundamental tenets of qualitative research. Understand ethical issues within qualitative research. Develop a researchable question. Identify the limits and affordances of qualitative research designs. Develop a beginning awareness of qualitative inquiry approaches, including ethnography, case studies, narrative, postmodern, critical, and basic interpretive. 6. Engage in qualitative research activities, including: field observations, interview, coding, analysis, and report writing. Course Required Texts Merriam, S. B., & Associates. (2002). Qualitative Research in Practice: Examples for Discussion and Analysis. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Glesne, C. (2011). Becoming qualitative researchers: An introduction (Vol. 4). Boston: Pearson. American Psychological Association Publication Manual, 6th edition Additional Articles as assigned and noted in the schedule. 1
  2. 2. Course Required Technology 1. Laptops/tablets are welcome but not required in class. They may make some activities easier to do. 2. Attend a PCL Library introduction to the online databases and researching using databases if you have not already done so. a. Classes: http://www.lib.utexas.edu/services/instruction/classes/index.html b. Online Resources for Graduate Students: http://www.lib.utexas.edu/gradstudents/ 3. Digital Voice Recorder, Microphone (optional but recommended), Footpedal (for interviews) a. These are available for checkout in the Learning Technology Center on the 5th floor of Sanchez: http://www.edb.utexas.edu/ltc b. Radio Shack and other stores also have these for purchase. 4. Express Scribe Free Transcription Software: You can get a little excited about this. This is software that controls playback of audio via a footpedal, which eases the task of transcription, making your hands free to type. Unfortunately, it does not transcribe for you! Express Scribe Pro has more features and is modestly priced ($29) and is available for Mac and Windows. http://www.nch.com.au/scribe/index.html 5. Nvivo Qualitative Software, QSR Inc. (PC Windows only) a. 30-day trial available at: http://www.qsrinternational.com/products_free-trialsoftware.aspx. Do not download until you are ready to analyze your data. b. COE has 10 copies of the software available (NVivo 10.0) in the LTC (SZB 439 labs). c. Student Pricing: $80 – Semester (6 months); $120 – for 12 months. Or $670 full version, no time limits. See: http://www.qsrinternational.com/products_nvivo_pricing_pricelist.aspx d. This software will be available for Macintosh in summer 2014 and will be a free upgrade for full Windows versions. Course Recommended Technologies for Exploration 1. Adobe Acrobat Professional ($99 at Computer Store; Also available in most UT Student Computer Labs) a. You may choose to use Adobe Acrobat Professional to add each assignment into the same file to expand it into a research notebook using Chapters or bookmarks to organize the material. It takes about 10 minutes in the computer lab to create your Adobe Research notebook. (You can then easily share your work with others, such as your advisor, committee members etc. in the future.) 2. ATLAS.ti Qualitative Software: (PC Windows only) $99 Student Pricing for licensed version. http://www.atlasti.com/index.html 3. HyperResearch Qualitative Software: (Mac and PC, files can be used across platforms too) Free fully functioning trial with no time limits, only limits to codes/cases; $199 Student Price for licensed version. http://www.researchware.com/products/hyperresearch.html 4. HyperTranscribe: Functions similarly to Express Scribe (above) but plays more audio/video formats. $79 http://www.researchware.com/products/hyperresearch.html 5. Bibliography Software (your choice) 2
  3. 3. a. Zotero - http://www.zotero.org/ (Free)- Please download and install on your computer. Consult help materials on their website, as needed. b. Endnote - $79; Available at the campus computer store. c. NoodleBib - http://www.lib.utexas.edu/noodlebib/ 6. Dragon Dictate (optional - $$): Some have experimented using dictation to transcribe interviews. To do this, you would play the interview in your headphones, stopping often to repeat what is said out loud to your dictation software, which would transcribe it. It does not transcribe from the audio files as the software first needs to be trained on your voice. It does not work well with multiple voices. http://www.nuance.com/dragon/index.htm Course Web Page The website for this course will use UT’s Canvas website: http://canvas.utexas.edu Course Requirements Reading Response Journal (Not Graded) Each week prior to our class session, please write a reading response to the readings for the week. Your response may be varied. You may reflect upon one or more of the readings. You may reflect about questions you have about the reading, ideas the reading has prompted, issues that surprised / did not surprise you, exploration of your research area(s) from the perspective under consideration, “playing” with qualitative research questions, questions you might ask the Student Panel at the end of semester, etc. The response journal is individual to you, but the instructor is able to read your posts. Epistemological/Biographical Statement (10 points) You will complete a written statement of your positionality for research. Typically, this is a narrative form but can be of varied format. This statement will help reveal the subjectivities that play a role in framing our epistemologies. These subjectivities can bias or limit what we see but also may allow us to see or notice what others may not. Research Site Proposal (15 points) You will write a mini-proposal for research that you will conduct at one site this semester as a course project. You will describe the site, the research question you are pursuing, and the amount of time you’ll be spending at this site. A brief literature review will precede the stated research question(s) in order to provide context and identify the research gap. Code Book (3 points, total) As you analyze your data, you will begin to create codes to categorize the phenomenon under study. As you do so, you will create a Code Book, which is a list of the codes and their definitions/description (information that helps you decide if something should be coded with that code or not). You will turn-in your Code Book with your Field Observations, Interview, and Artifact Analysis assignments. You develop 1 (one) codebook that functions across your entire data set, but you may change, add, delete codes as you work through your data. You can generate a Code Book within the Nvivo software. 3
  4. 4. Field Observations (30 points) Within your selected research site, you will gain consent and conduct field observations and take fieldnotes in order to help answer your research question. You will describe the setting, what you observed, and insights—if any—you gained from your observations. Also discuss your overall impressions of doing and writing up what you noticed during your observation, as well as, any challenges that emerged in this process. You will share a first draft (one observation) that includes your observer comments along with your analytical expansion and at least half of it coded for themes. Your final fieldnotes will reflect at least two observations, analytical expansion, coded for themes, an analysis portion that describes your codes, themes, and developing understandings, and a brief reflection on observation activity. Include your codebook. Interview (30 points) You will develop an interview protocol (a set of questions) that fit the scope of your research question for an adult at your research site. Interviews should be no more than 20 minutes, and you may not use interview collected prior to this course. The interview protocols will be reviewed prior to conducting the interview. You will gain consent, conduct, digitally audiotape, transcribe, and analyze the interview. You will also note in a memo the setting of the interview, your perception of how the interview was conducted, the rapport you developed with the interviewee. After analysis, you will write a report that includes a discussion of who you interviewed, why you selected this person, and interesting/unique insights you learned from this interview in regards to your research question using your codes/themes. You should append a copy of your interview protocol, transcript with coding into your paper, and your codebook. Artifact Analysis (10 points) As part of the process to answer your research question, you will also collect at least one artifact from your site, such as (but not limited to): leaflets, fliers, syllabi, bulletins, prayer sheets, handbooks, student work, printed meeting agendas, items from a website, photos, videos, meeting notes. You will code and analyze this artifact. You will complete an analysis paper that includes your analysis of the artifacts and developing understandings related to the research question. Please append the artifacts at the end of your analysis with coding. Include your codebook. Oral Presentation of Research (10 points) On the last day of class, each person will have ten minutes to present the findings from his/her mini-research project. Develop a professional presentation that would be worthy at a professional conference. Presentation will be strictly limited to 10 minutes. Final Paper (30 points) Your final paper will culminate all of your analysis and activities across the semester into a research paper. You will include applicable sections (see APA 6.0 guidelines and other course articles on quality work) to explicate the research study and its results. You may use all materials submitted within this class for your final paper (please take into account peer and instructor feedback for possible revision). 4
  5. 5. SCHEDULE January 15: Introduction to course, peers, instructor, research goals, research activities, software January 22: Historical view and introductions to qualitative research • Merriam, Chapter 1 (pp. 3-17) • Glesne, Chapter 1 (pp 1-26) • Denzin, N. K. & Lincoln, Y.S. (2005). “Introduction. The discipline & practice of qualitative research.” In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), The sage handbook of qualitative research. (third edition). (pp. 1-32). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. • Koro-Ljungberg, Yendol-Hopey, Smith & Hayes (2009). (E)pistemological awareness, instantiation of methods, and uniformed methodological ambiguity in qualitative research projects. Educational Researcher, 38(9), 687-699. January 29: The Situated Researcher • Stanley, C. A. & Slattery, P. (2003). “Who reveals what to whom? Critical reflections on conducting qualitative inquiry as an interdisciplinary, biracial, male/female research team.” Qualitative Inquiry, 9(5), 705-728. • Glesne, Chapter 5 (pp. 139-161) • Field Trip (tentative): Digital technologies available in the Learning Technology Center (SZB 536) • Demonstration: Adobe Acrobat Professional February 5: Preparing for The Research; Quality in Qualitative Research • Glesne, Chapter 2 (pp. 27-62) • Glesne, Appendix A (pp. 277-279) • Merriam, Chapter 2 (pp. 18-37) • Re-review: Koro-Ljungberg et al. (2009) • Optional Reading: Agee, J. (2009). Developing qualitative research questions: A reflective process. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 22(4), 431447. • Briefing: Human-subject protocols; Institutional Review Board (process, examples, stories etc.) by Sandra Borucki, 512-471-8653 DUE TODAY Feb 5: Epistemological Statement of a Biographically Situated Researcher (you) February 12: Basic Interpretive Research; Ethics (wear comfortable shoes today) • Merriam, Chapters 3 (pp. 37-61) [Ch. 4 is optional] • Glesne, Chapter 6 (pp. 162-183) • APA 6.0 Manual, Appendix C – Ethical Standards (pp.11-20) • AERA (February, 2011). Code of Ethics. http://www.aera.net/AboutAERA/KeyPrograms/SocialJustice/ResearchEthics/tabid/1095 7/Default.aspx 5
  6. 6. • In-class Activity: Fieldnotes, Part 1 [might be helpful to have a computer with you inclass] DUE TODAY Feb 12: Research Site Proposal February 19: Case Study & Participant Observation (wear comfortable shoes today) • Merriam, Chapters 9 and 10 (pp. 178-235) • Glesne, Chapter 3 (pp. 63-100) • In-class Activity: Fieldnotes, Part 2 [might be helpful to have a computer with you inclass] DUE TODAY Feb 19: Peer Review of Assigned Research Site Proposal (provide feedback within Canvas) February 26: Grounded Theory & Fieldnote Analysis (Meet in 439B) • Merriam, Chapters 7 & 8 (pp. 142-177) • Emerson, R. M., Fretz, R. I. & Shaw, L. L. (1995). “Processing fieldnotes: Coding and memoing.” (pp. 142-168) • Watch: Nvivo videos (see Canvas module for links) • Bring: Digital copy of field notes (Word file, preferred; but can be PDF, scanned file, etc.) • In-class Activity: Analyzing field notes and building a codebook in NVIVO - Meet in Computer Lab C in SZB 439B DUE TODAY: Fieldnotes, First observation completed and typed up (draft) March 5: Interviewing (Meet in 439B) • Glesne, Chapter 4 (pp. 101-137) • Fontana, A. & Frey, J. H. (2005). “The interview: From neutral stance to political involvement.” In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), The sage handbook of qualitative research. (3rd edition). (pp. 695-727). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. • DeCuir-Gunby, J. T., Marshall, P. L., & McCulloch, A. W. (2011). Developing and using a codebook for the analysis of interview data: An example from a professional development research project. Field Methods, 23(2), 136-155. • Listening Demonstration: Why quality of interview recording is important • In-class Activity: Peer reliability of your codes DUE TODAY March 5: Fieldnotes, First Draft (to be shared within class). Import second copy of your fieldnotes into Nvivo and label it “peer” to distinguish it from your original fieldnotes that you already started to code. Bring 1 printed copy with nodes showing (Save to PDF) and your Code Book. Identify one-page of your fieldnotes that will be coded by a peer in class. This portion should not contain examples that are used in your Code Book. Partner will code in Nvivo on a clean copy of your fieldnotes. Discussion will focus on the reliability of coding across the notes coded by peer and by yourself. 6
  7. 7. SPRING BREAK MARCH 12 March 19: Data Analysis (Meet in 439B) • Glesne, Chapter 7 (pp. 184-217) • Watch: Nvivo tutorials (see Canvas modules) • Demonstration: Digital Audio Recorders (handheld, iPhone, iPad); Microphones • Listening Demonstration: Conducting interviews • Activity with Nvivo: Analyzing data through queries DUE TODAY March 19: Interview Protocol (to be shared within class; bring 4 printed copies) March 26: Ethnography • Merriam, Chapter 12 (pp. 236-238; 262-285) [Merriam, Chapter 11 optional] • Sarroub, L. K. (2001). The sojourner experience of Yemini American high school students: An ethnographic portrait. Harvard Educational Review, 71(3), 390-415. • Demonstration: Footpedal; Transcribing DUE TODAY March 26: Fieldnotes, Complete April 2: Critical Research & Postmodern Research • Merriam, Chapters 15 (pp. 327-351) [Ch. 16 optional] • Merriam, Chapters 17 (pp. 374-398) [Ch. 18 optional] April 9: Narrative Analysis Research & Phenomenological Research (Meet in 439B) • Merriam, Chapters 14 (p. 286-288; 314-326) [Chapter 13 optional] • Merriam, Chapter 6 (p. 93-95; 120-141) [Chapter 5 optional] • Nvivo: Work session, questions, further query techniques April 16: Manuscript Writing • Glesne, Chapter 8 (pp. 218-240) • Glesne, Chapter 9 (pp. 241-263) • APA 6.0 Manual, Chapter 1 “Content and Organization of a Manuscript” (pp. 9-11; 2160) • APA 6.0 Manual, Chapter 1 “Expressing Ideas and Reducing Bias in Language” (pp. 6187) • My Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Dissertation (by Rachel Herrmann) DUE TODAY: Interview, Transcription, Coding, Analysis, Write-Up April 23: Reflections on Becoming Qualitative Researchers • Glesne, Chapter 10 (pp. 264-277) • Merriam, Chapter 19 (pp. 420-424) • Dissertation Abstracts from Panelists (to be provided) 7
  8. 8. • In-class Activity: Advanced Graduate Student/Graduate Panel: On Doing Qualitative Research DUE TODAY: Artifact Analysis April 30: Presentations of Qualitative Research Projects • No Readings • 10-minute presentations DUE MAY 4: Final Report and Nvivo backup file Relevant Policies Questions about the Course: Please direct all questions about the course, assignments, etc. directly to the professor. Do not ask peers in the class and come to a conclusion without also consulting the professor. If you have a question, someone else in the class likely does as well. Course Drop: January 16 is the last day of the official add/drop period; after this date, changes in registration require the approval of the department chair and usually the student’s dean. January 29 is the last day to drop and possibly receive a refund. Policy On ADA: The University of Texas at Austin provides upon request appropriate academic accommodations for qualified students with disabilities. For more information, contact the Office of the Dean of Students at 471-6259, 471-4641 TTY. Attendance and Participation In order to have a conversation that we all share and that grows across the semester, everyone has to be in class just about all the time. Ideas can’t grow for the group if some people missed the last meeting or the one before. Therefore, attendance is required. You can have one excused absence without it affecting your grade. An excused absence means that you let me know about the very good reason why you have to be out, preferably before class. A class session is an experience, a conversation, not something you can get from me in an email, so there is no need to ask me to email you what happened. Sometimes, it will be worthwhile to ask a classmate for their notes, though it is no substitute for being there. For each absence beyond the first, you will receive a reduction in the final grade by one-half letter grade. Participation, of course, does not just mean putting your body in a seat. You need to bring your mind, your concentrated thinking and involvement to what other students and the professor are saying. Look at who is talking, and listen to them; really try to understand how they think. Though I know everyone in a class will not speak up in the same amount, you need to say something sometimes, and you do need to speak freely when we talk in pairs or smaller groups. You need to write things down – things I say and things other students say – because those notes 8
  9. 9. will be useful in spurring your own thinking when you do the assigned writing. Everyone will be at their best only if they believe that everyone else is thinking intently together. There are many things you might do that present a clear sign that you are not participating. They are also disrespectful to the professor, the class, and your own learning. Monitor yourself in terms of off-task activities, such as: Recreational surfing the Internet, Facebook or other activities Doing other work during class Texting or instant messaging Answering phone calls, or even allowing the phone to ring (turn phones off) Students and the professor should expect that everyone in the room is part of this ongoing conversation in which our statements gather meaning over time. Work habits All work must be done on time. This means written work as well as readings. Almost always, what we do in class will depend upon you having completed the work for that day, in that we’ll build our discussion on what you have read or what you have written. Policy on Scholastic Misconduct Scholastic misconduct is broadly defined as "any act that violates the rights of another student in academic work or that involves misrepresentation of your own work." Scholastic dishonesty includes, (but is not necessarily limited to): cheating on assignments or examinations; plagiarizing, which means misrepresenting as you own work any part of work done by another; submitting the same paper, or substantially similar papers, to meet the requirements of more than one course without the approval and consent of all instructors concerned; depriving another student of necessary course materials; or interfering with another student's work. Plagiarism is scholastic dishonesty. Changing a few words here and there does not prevent plagiarism. As a rule of thumb, consider five or more consecutive words from any printed or recorded work that is not included in quotation marks as plagiarism. If plagiarism occurs, you will receive a zero for the assignment. Refer to http://deanofstudents.utexas.edu/sjs/scholdis_whatis.php for information regarding proper referencing, citations, style manuals and avoidance of plagiarism. The University Library also offers a course on Avoiding Plagiarism. See http://www.lib.utexas.edu/services/instruction/classes/classsummary.html#plagiarism Academic dishonesty in any portion of the academic work for a course shall be grounds for awarding a grade of F or N for the entire course. Definition of Grades A - achievement that is outstanding relative to the level necessary to meet course requirements. B - achievement that is significantly above the level necessary to meet course requirements. C - achievement that meets the course requirements in every respect. 9
  10. 10. D - achievement that is worthy of credit even though it fails to meet fully the course requirements. S - achievement that is satisfactory, which is equivalent to a C- or better (achievement required for an S is at the discretion of the instructor but may be no lower than equivalent to a C-.) ---F(or N) - Represents failure (or no credit) and signifies that the work was either (1) completed but at a level of achievement that is not worthy of credit or (2) was not completed and there was no agreement between the instructor and the student that the student would be awarded an I (see also I). The grading for this course is as follows A 95 – 100% A- 90 – 94% B+ 87 – 89% B 84 – 86% B- 80 – 83% C+ 77 – 79% C 74 – 76% C- 70 – 73% D+ 67 – 69% D 64 – 66% D- 60-63% F Below 60% Incomplete Grades: The grade of “incomplete” or “X” is not a regular grade and cannot be given without special arrangements under unusual circumstances. It cannot be given merely to extend the time allowed to complete course requirements. If family or personal emergency requires that your attention be diverted from the course and that more time than usual is needed to complete course work, arrangements should be made with the instructor of the course before the quarter ends and consent obtained for receiving an "Incomplete" or "I" grade. These arrangements should be made as soon as the need for an "I" can be anticipated. A written agreement should be prepared indicating when the course assignment will be completed. I require an "Incomplete" grade for a course to be removed within two weeks into the semester immediately following its receipt. Receipt of Final Grade: Feedback will posted in the Canvas gradebook. Your grades are also available online after they are posted to the registrar. You are more than welcome to make an appointment to meet with me to discuss your work or evaluation at any time. Religious Observance Policy: A student who is absent from a class or examination for the observance of a religious holy day may complete the work missed within a reasonable time after the absence, if proper notice has been given. Notice must be given at least fourteen days prior to the classes scheduled on dates the student will be absent. For religious holy days that fall within the first two weeks of the semester, notice should be given on the first day of the semester. It must be personally delivered to the instructor and signed and dated by the instructor, or sent certified mail, return receipt 10
  11. 11. requested. A student who fails to complete missed work within the time allowed will be subject to the normal academic penalties. Use of E-Mail for Official Correspondence to Students: E-mail is an official mode of university correspondence, and it is the main means I will use to communicate with you. Keep checking it for messages from me up until you have received your final grade for this course. This also means you have to be sure that UT has an accurate and functioning e-mail address. Instructions for updating e-mail addresses can be found at: http://www.utexas.edu/its/policies/emailnotify.php. Emergency Evacuation Policy: Occupants of buildings on The University of Texas at Austin campus are required to evacuate buildings when a fire alarm is activated. Alarm activation or announcement requires exiting and assembling outside. Familiarize yourself with all exit doors of each classroom and building you may occupy. Remember that the nearest exit door may not be the one you used when entering the building. Students requiring assistance in evacuation shall inform their instructor in writing during the first week of class. In the event of an evacuation, follow the instruction of faculty or class instructors. Do not re-enter a building unless given instructions by the following: Austin Fire Department, The University of Texas at Austin Police Department, or Fire Prevention Services office. 11

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