Rural Sociology 597C



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Course format


The course will combine discussion of readings, discussion of students’ research projects and online threads of relevance through CourseTalk. We will also view a couple of videos over the course of the semester.

Required text


Strauss, A., J. Corbin. 1998. Basics of Qualitative Research. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
You’ll also be asked to download N4 (software for qualitative data analysis)

Grading procedure


Item

Percent

points

Participation

35%

175


Grades will be given on a straight percentage (90-99% A; 80-89% B; 70-79% C, etc.)
In class

15




Readings preparation (2)

10




Online discussion threads

10




Photo interpretation project

5%

25

Peer review of research project

10%

50

Research project

50%

250

Totals

100%

500



Assignments

Assignment

Date due

Points

Sign up twice to lead discussion

Aug 29 (wk 2)




Photo project--prepare poster board

Aug 29 (wk 2)



Photo project--interpretation

Sept 5 (wk 3)

25

Take human subjects exam

Sept 5 (wk 3)



Develop two draft project ideas

Sept 5 (wk 3)



Develop two-page research proposal

Sept 12 (wk 4)



Prepare human subjects submission

Sept 12 (wk 4)



Discussion of student reviews of proposals

Sept 19 (wk 5)




Download N4

Sept 26 (wk 6)



Should have begun data collection (& analysis)

Oct 3 (wk 7)



Should have begun write-up of project

Oct 31 (wk 11)



Peer review of research project

Nov 14 (wk 13)

50

Final research project

Dec 7

250

Class participation



175



Total points

500


Readings




Wk 1

Aug 22

Introduction to course

Wk 2

Aug 29

Background

Weber, M. 1978. Economy and Society. (On the concept of sociology, Pp 4-22, Vol. I);

Berger, P., and T. Luckmann. 1967. The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge. (‘The Foundations of Knowledge in Everyday Life,’ Pp 19-46);

Schutz, A. 1970. Interpretative sociology. Pp 265-93 in H. Wagner (ed) On Phenomenology and Social Relations: Selected Writings. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Hammersley, M. 1999. Deconstructing the qualitative-quantitative divide. In J. Brannen (ed) Mixing Methods: Qualitative and Quantitative Research. Aldershot: Avebury, 1992) Also Pp 70-83 in A. Bryman and R. Burgess (eds) Qualitative Research (vol. I). London: Sage Publications.

Mills, C.W. 1940. Situated actions and vocabularies of motive. American Sociological Review (December):904-13.


Wk 3

Sept 5

Research design

Marshall, C. and G. Rossman. 1989. Designing Qualitative Research. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications (Chapter 3, How to conduct the study: Designing the research, pp 45-120);

Strauss, A. and J. Corbin. 1998. Basics of Qualitative Research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage (chapter 4, ‘practical considerations,’ pp 35-53)



Study:

Stull, D. 2000. Tobacco barns and chicken houses: Agricultural transformation in Western Kentucky. Human Organization 59(2):151-61.





Wk 4

Sept 12

Entering the field

Burgess, R. 1991. Sponsors, gatekeepers, members, and friends: Access in educational settings. Pp 43-52 in W Shaffir and R. Stebbins (eds) Experiencing Fieldwork. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.

Anderson, M. 1999. Studying across difference: Race, class and gender in qualitative research. Pp 127-38 n A. Bryman and R. Burgess (eds) Qualitative Research. London: Sage Publications, Vol. IV.

Van Maanen, J. 1991. Playing back the tape: Early days in the field. Pp 31-42 in W Shaffir and R. Stebbins (eds) Experiencing Fieldwork. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.

Shaffir, W. 1991. Managing a convincing self-presentation: Some personal reflections on entering the field. Pp 72-81 in W Shaffir and R. Stebbins (eds) Experiencing Fieldwork. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications

Wilson, W. 1974. The new black sociology: Reflections on the ‘insiders’ and ‘outsiders’ controversy. Pp 322-37 in (J. Blackwell and M. Janowitz (eds) Black Sociologists—Historical and Contemporary Perspectives. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Oakley, A. 1999. Interviewing women: A contradiction in terms. Pp 44-66 in A. Bryman and R. Burgess (eds) Qualitative Research. London: Sage Publications, Vol. IV

Neff Gurney, J. 1991. Female researchers in male-dominated settings. Pp 53-61 in W Shaffir and R. Stebbins (eds) Experiencing Fieldwork. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.

Studies:

Whyte, W.F. 1952. The social structure of the restaurant. American Journal of Sociology 57(March):302-310;

Orwell, G. 1963. The pecking order of a restaurant. In Coser (ed) Sociology through Literature. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.


Wk 5

Sept 19

Ethics

Punch, M. 1989. The Politics and Ethics of Fieldwork. Newbury Park, CA: Sage. (pp 29-48; 70-84)

Kelly, A. 1999. Action research: What is it and what can it do? Pp 201-19 in A. Bryman and R. Burgess (eds) Qualitative Research. London: Sage Publications, Vol. IV

Taylor, S. 1991. Leaving the field: Research, relationships, and responsibilities. Pp 238-47 in W Shaffir and R. Stebbins (eds) Experiencing Fieldwork. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.

Song, M and D. Parker. 1995. Commonality, difference and the dynamics of disclosure in in-depth interviewing. Sociology 29:241-56. (p112 in Bryman and Burgess, Vol. IV)



Study:

Becker, H. 1953. Becoming a marihuana user. American Sociological Review 59(3):235-42.



Also: Read each student’s research proposal, be prepared to discuss, offer comments in class.

Wk 6

Sept 26

Data collection

Gans, H. 1968. The participant-observer as a human being: Observations on the personal aspects of field work. In H. Becker (ed) Institutions and the Person: Papers Presented to Everett C. Hughes. Chicago: Aldine. (Pp 39-54 in Bryman and Burgess, II)

Holstein, J., and J. Gubrium. 1997. Active interviewing. In D. Silverman (ed) Qualitative Research: Theory, Method and Practice. London: Sage. (In Bryman and Burgess, 105-21, Vol. II)

Gorden, R. 1987. Interviewing: Strategy, Technique and Tactics. Chicago: Dorsey Press. (chapter 3, pp 63-81, ‘the Social Context of the Interview’).

Kitzinger, J. 1999. The methodology of focus groups: The importance of interaction between research participants. Sociology of Health and Illness 16(1):103-21. (Pp 138 in Bryman and Burgess, Vol. II)

Emerson, R., Fretz, R., and L. Shaw. 1995. Writing Ethnographic Fieldnotes. Chicago: University of Chicago Press (Chapter 2—‘in the field’)

Study:

Rosenhan, D.L. 1978. On being sane in insane places. Science 179(4070):250-59.



Wk 7

Oct 3

Data collection

Gilchrist, V. 1999. Key informant interviews. Pp. 354-71 in A. Bryman and R. Burgess (eds) Qualitative Research. London: Sage Publications (vol. I).

Strauss, A. and J. Corbin. 1998. Basics of Qualitative Research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage (chapter 6, ‘basic operations’);

Altheide, D. Qualitative media analysis. Pp 235-55 in A. Bryman and R. Burgess (eds) Qualitative Research. London: Sage Publications, Vol. II.

Poland, B. 1995. Transcription quality as an aspect of rigor in qualitative research. Qualitative Inquiry 1(3):290-310. (1995—in Burgess and Bryman, Vol. III);

Drucker, D. 1986. Ask a silly question, get a silly answer—Community participation and the demystification of health care. Pp 161-71 in D. Korten (ed) Community Management: Asian Experience and Perspectives. West Hartford, Connecticut: Kumarian Press.

Study:

Grey, M. 2000. ‘Those bastards can go to hell!’ Small-farmer resistance to vertical integration and concentration in the pork industry. Human Organization 59(2):169-76.



Wk 8

Oct 10

Data analysis

Robinson, W.S. 1951. The logical structure of analytic induction. American Sociological Review 16:812-18. (116-24 in Bryman and Burgess, Vol. III);

Buston, K. NUD*IST in Action: Its use and its usefulness in a study of chronic illness in young people. Pp 183-202 in A. Bryman and R. Burgess (eds) Qualitative Research. London: Sage Publications. (online at http://www.socresonline.org.uk/2/3/6.html);

Bloor, M. 1978. On the analysis of observational data: A discussion of the worth and uses of inductive techniques and respondent validation. Sociology 12:545-52. (p. 444 in Bryman and Burgess, Vol. III);

Emerson, R., Fretz, R., and L. Shaw. 1995. Writing Ethnographic Fieldnotes. Chicago: University of Chicago Press (Chapter 5, ‘Pursuing members’ meanings,’ pp 108-41, chp 6, ‘coding and memoing,’ pp 142-68)



Wk 9

Oct 17

Data analysis, grounded theory

Strauss, A. and J. Corbin. 1999. Grounded theory methodology: An overview. In N. Denzin and Y. Lincoln (eds) Handbook of Qualitative Research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. (also p. 72 Vol. III);

Strauss, A. and J. Corbin. 1998. Basics of Qualitative Research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage (chapters 5, ‘analysis through microscopic examination of data,’ pp. 57-71; chp 7, ‘analytic tools,’ pp. 87-99; chp 8, ‘open coding,’ 101-21; chp 11, ‘coding for process,’ pp 163-79; chp 13, ‘theoretical sampling,’ pp 201-14)



Wk 10

Oct 24

Ethnography

Harris, M. 1979. Cultural Materialism. New York: Vintage Books. (pp 32-41, ‘emics and etics’)

Agar, M. 1990. Speaking of Ethnography. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications (pp 11-48).



Study:

Geertz, C. 1973. The Interpretation of Cultures. New York: Basic Books (Deep play: Notes on the Balinese cockfight, Pp 412-53).



Wk 11

Oct 31

Case study

Platt, J. 1992. Cases of cases . . . of cases. Pp 21-52 in C. Ragin and H. Becker (eds) What is a Case? Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Eisenhardt, K. 1999. Building theories from case study research. Pp 135-59 in A. Bryman and R. Burgess (eds) Qualitative Research (vol. I). London: Sage Publications.

Lieberson, S. 1992. Small N’s and big conclusions: An examination of the reasoning in comparative studies based on a small number of cases. Pp 105-18 in C. Ragin and H. Becker (eds) What is a Case? Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Harper, D. 1992. Small N’s and community case studies. Pp 139-58 in C. Ragin and H. Becker (eds) What is a Case? Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.



Wk 12

Nov 7

Applied research

Patton, M.Q. 1999. The nature of qualitative inquiry. Pp 139-59 in A. Bryman and R. Burgess (eds) Qualitative Research. London: Sage Publications (vol. IV)

Knapp, M. 1985. Ethnographic contributions to evaluation research: The experimental schools program evaluation and some alternatives. Pp 160-80 in A. Bryman and R. Burgess (eds) Qualitative Research (vol. IV). London: Sage Publications.

Finch, J. 1999. Developing policy-oriented qualitative research. Pp 181-88 in A. Bryman and R. Burgess (eds) Qualitative Research. London: Sage Publications (vol. IV).

Study:

Hunter, A. 1993. Local knowledge and local power. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography. 22(1):36-58.



Wk 13

Nov 14

Evaluating qualitative research

Kirk, J., M. Miller. 1986. Reliability and validity in qualitative research. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications. (pp. 21-59).

Strauss, A. and J. Corbin. 1998. Basics of Qualitative Research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage (Chapter 16, Criteria for evaluation, pp. 265-74).

Lincoln, Y., E. Guba. 1999. Establishing trustworthiness. Pp 397-444 in A. Bryman and R. Burgess (eds) Qualitative Research. London: Sage Publications (vol. III).


Wk 14

Nov 21

Thanksgiving break

‘free time’ to work on research projects, get ahead on readings

Wk 15

Nov 28

Presentation

Turner, V. 1968. Schism and Continuity in an African Society: A Study of Ndembu Village Life. Manchester University Press. (‘The analysis of social drama’)

Geertz, C. 1973. The Interpretation of Cultures. New York: Basic Books (Thick Description: Toward an interpretive theory of culture, Pp 3-30.).

Golden-Biddle, K., K. Locke. 1999. Appealing work: An investigation of how ethnographic texts convince. Pp. 367-96 in A. Bryman and R. Burgess (eds) Qualitative Research. London: Sage Publications (vol. III).

Emerson, R., Fretz, R., and L. Shaw. 1995. Writing Ethnographic Fieldnotes. Chicago: University of Chicago Press (Chapter 7, ‘Writing an ethnography,’ pp. 169-210).



Wk 16

Dec 5

Decompression, discussion, closure

Be prepared to come to class and discuss your research, impressions, any unaddressed or lingering issues, etc.



Assignments


Leading discussion (part of class participation grade): Two times during the semester, I’d like each of you to lead discussion of the readings. Part of this is just to give you practice at facilitating discussion, part to watch how you summarize, synthesize and abstract from the readings.
Photo project: This is a sort of ‘presentation of self’ exercise. You can purchase a disposable camera, use your own, etc. Choose 12-15 pictures that present to observers what you would like them to know about you. I’ll try to come up with some poster board and adhesive, and you can get as artistic as you want in displaying the photos. Students will have the week to spend some time looking at others’ photos, treating them as data, trying to interpret them and what they say about the subject. It would be a good idea for each person to put some sort of description or rationale for each photo he/she takes (just a memory jog). There is no written assignment—we will discuss interpretation of the photos in class on Sept 5.

Take human subjects exam (Sept 5): Each of you will need to prepare a submission for human subjects review for your research. You’ll need to take the ‘Training on the protection of human subjects’ Web-based tutorial (http://www.research.psu.edu/orc/human/training/welcome.html) before you can submit. The submission will be made as a class, and the level of review required will likely depend on the subject matter of the proposals.
Develop two draft project ideas (Sept 5): One of these will end up being your research project. They don’t have to be long or elaborate, but the more detail and thought you devote to them, the more you’ll benefit from class discussion and the subsequent development of a proposal.
Develop two-page research proposal (Sept 12): You need to address the basic areas—design, some description of the research field, theoretical orientation (if relevant), a brief discussion of how you will gain entry into the research field, data collection methods, brief description of analyses proposed, sampling strategy, the direction you would like to take the research (e.g., part of dissertation, separate publication, get a grade, etc.). On Sept 19 we’ll discuss these in class (you should read each proposal and be prepared to provide comments, suggestions, etc.).
Prepare human subjects submission (Sept 12): In order to begin data collection, we’ll need to try to have these submitted as soon as possible to the Penn State Institutional Review Board . . .
Peer review of research proposal (Sept 19): You’ll be asked to review another student’s research proposal, and offer written comments (no more than one page).
Download N4 (Sept 26 or sooner): N4 is a version of a popular qualitative data analysis software, originally referred to as NUD*IST (stands for ‘Non-numerical Unstructured Data Indexing Searching & Theorizing’). This is available from QSR’s Website, http://www.qsr.com.au/home/home.asp, also worth checking out in more detail.
Peer review of research project (Nov 14): Toward the end of the semester, you’ll be asked to review another student’s research project and progress. Thus, if you haven’t begun writing by this point, you will need to produce a document describing what you’ve done, how you’ve looked at the data, etc., for another person in the class to review.
Final research project (Dec 7): No more than 20 pages, double-spaced, please. You have some latitude in how you present your findings, and you will have been exposed to many studies and writing styles. Remember, that to some extent the way you organize the write-up should flow from your data, interpretations, and supporting rationale.

RSOC 597C /

Fall 2001



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