Spring 2023 - POL 803 G100

Qualitative Research Methods in Political Science (5)

Class Number: 5082

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 1:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    HCC 3122, Vancouver



A survey of the principles and techniques of qualitative research design, methods, and data collection tools needed to conduct systematic qualitative political science research.


The aim of this course is to enable students to become well-rounded qualitative researchers. Specific objectives include enabling students to understand the logic of qualitative methodologies in political science, to be aware of a range of ethical issues around research involving participants, to be sensitive to how their positionality as embodied agents impacts their research, and to develop and apply a set of techniques and methods for conducting qualitative research. Students will engage with course materials from different traditions within qualitative research, including social-scientific, interpretive, and critical approaches. They will also learn foundational skills in qualitative research, including memo writing, interviewing, coding, and archiving, as well as best practices in facilitating transparency. The course will also enable students to become proficient in the use of NVivo, which is software for qualitative analysis, and will involve periodic lab instruction and practice time. The ethos of the course is “learning by doing (and enjoying),” and as such students will have the opportunity to work on several short (and fun) assignments focused on developing specific skills throughout the semester.

There will be a two- to three-hour seminar, including periodic lab time, as well as flex time, each week. Approximately five seminars will be held via Zoom. In addition to the live seminars, there will be approximately one- to two-hours of on-line materials (e.g., videos and short exercises) posted in Canvas for you to work through each week. Students are expected to keep up with their readings on their own time.


  • Brief Positionality Statement 10%
  • Mini-Literature Review using NVivo 16%
  • Interview Questions 10%
  • Mini-Coding Scheme 15%
  • Three Short Memos using NVivo 9%
  • Research Proposal Outline Presentation 20%
  • Research Proposal Outline 20%



Fujii, Lee Ann, Interviewing in Social Science Research (Routledge, 2018).

Maxwell, Joseph A., Qualitative Research Design: An Interactive Approach, 3rd Ed. (Sage, 2013).

Saldaña, Johnny, The Coding Manual for Qualitative Researchers, 3rd Edition (Sage, 2016).

Schwartz-Shea, Peregrine and Dvora Yanow, Interpretive Research Design (Routledge, 2012).

Turabian, Kate, A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, 9th Edition (University of Chicago Press, 2018).


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: http://www.sfu.ca/dean-gradstudies/current/important_dates/guidelines.html. The deadline to drop a course with a 100% refund is the end of week 2. The deadline to drop with no notation on your transcript is the end of week 3.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html 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. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html