Summer 2020 - SA 356W D100

Ethnography and Qualitative Methods (SA) (4)

Class Number: 2197

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 1:30 PM – 5:20 PM

  • Instructor:

    Natasha Ferenczi
    Office: AQ 5078
    Office Hours: Mo/We 11:30-12:30
  • Prerequisites:

    SA 255.



An examination of qualitative field methods, including participant observation, interviewing, archival research, cross-cultural research, life histories, network analysis, mapping, and ethical problems of fieldwork. Writing.


This course is an exploration of ethnography and qualitative research methods through the practical and analytical study of fieldwork and ethnography. Using a student-led learning format, we will undertake original research and also read and analyze qualitative research conducted within the disciplines. As a class, we will critically address issues of representation, voice, reflexivity and researcher positionality as we engage in discussion of methodological choices, research motivations, knowledge politics, ethics, and fieldwork experiences in academic and applied research settings.

Students will apply several of the qualitative methods learned in class, including observation, observant participation, interviewing, textual and visual analysis, archival research, life histories, cross-cultural research, mapping, and network and meshwork analysis, by designing and carrying out an original field research project. Through this process and various exercises carried out in class, students will learn to generate thoughtful research questions, meaningful data, and learn coding strategies to interpret and analyze data, as well as develop writing skills to present data in creative and engaging ways that are attentive to representational issues and reflexive awareness. The practical application of these skills will highlight the ways in which methods and theories work together to shape knowledge production and deploy power relations, and in doing so will generate a more profound understanding of ethical considerations in the devising of research questions and methodological tools.


  • Participation and attendance 15%
  • Discussion facilitation 10%
  • Ethnographic exercises 30%
  • Research proposal 15%
  • Presentation of proposal 15%
  • Analysis review 15%


Grading: Where a final exam is scheduled and the student does not write the exam or withdraw from the course before the deadline date, an N grade will be assigned. Unless otherwise specified on the course syllabus, all graded assignments for this course must be completed for a final grade other than N to be assigned. An N is considered as an F for the purposes of scholastic standing.

Grading System: The Undergraduate Course Grading System is as follows:

A+ (95-100) | A (90-94) | A- (85-89) | B+ (80-84) | B (75-79) | B- (70-74) | C+ (65-69) | C (60-64) | C- (55-59) | D (50-54) | F (0-49) | N*
*N standing to indicate the student did not complete course requirements

Academic Dishonesty and Misconduct Policy: The Department of Sociology & Anthropology follows SFU policy in relation to grading practices, grade appeals (Policy T 20.01) and academic dishonesty and misconduct procedures (S10.01‐S10.04). Unless otherwise informed by your instructor in writing, in graded written assignments you must cite the sources you rely on and include a bibliography/list of references, following an instructor-approved citation style.  It is the responsibility of students to inform themselves of the content of SFU policies available on the SFU website.



Universal Access Remote learning for this semester requires a computer or tablet, camera, and internet access. Most laptops and desktops are running OSX and Windows. Tablets may be Android, iOS or Windows based. Headsets are advised but not necessary. Note that students have access to free Office 365 or Adobe Creative Cloud found here.


Mannik, L., & McGarry, K. (2017). Practicing ethnography: A student guide to method and methodology. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

This book is available online through the SFU Library here.
ISBN: 978-1-487593124

Narayan, K. (2012). Alive in the writing: Crafting ethnography in the company of Chekhov. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
ISBN: 978-0-226568195

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University.


Please note that all teaching at SFU in summer term 2020 will be conducted through remote methods. Enrollment in this course acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning ( or 778-782-3112) as soon as possible to ensure that they are eligible and that approved accommodations and services are implemented in a timely fashion