Spring 2023 - SA 356W D100

Ethnography and Qualitative Methods (SA) (4)

Class Number: 2555

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 9:30 AM – 12:20 PM
    BLU 10655, Burnaby

  • Instructor:

    Natasha Ferenczi
    Office: AQ 5069
    Office Hours: Wed 12:30PM-2:15PM (or by appointment)
  • 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. Students will undertake original research and apply anthropological approaches in analyzing a current event or social phenomena, which will culminate into a final ethnographic research project. While conducting field research students will read qualitative research conducted within the disciplines and using a student-led learning format, analyze ways in which they might be relevant to their own research. 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, genre use, and fieldwork experiences and advocacy in academic and applied research settings.

Students will apply several of the qualitative methods learned in class, including observation, observant participation, interviewing, thematic and visual analysis, archival research, auto- ethnography, cross-cultural research, mapping, genre use, and meshwork analysis, in ethnographic exercises and by designing an original field research project. Through this process, students will learn to generate thoughtful research questions, develop observation skills, reflect upon positionality, consider ethical implications of research, learn analytical approaches, practice interview coding to interpret and analyze data, and develop writing skills and other genres of expression to present research in creative and engaging ways that are attentive to representational issues and reflexivity. The practical application of these skills will highlight the ways in which methods and theories work together to shape knowledge production and power relations, and, in doing so, will generate a more profound understanding of ethical considerations in the devising of research questions and choosing methodological tools.


  • Applying anthropological analysis, using holistic and comparative approaches, to contemporary social issues and cultural practices.
  • Developing first-hand experience of data collection methods central to anthropology and sociology and be able to identify the ethical and political issues they involve.
  • Applying research, writing and analysis to community settings and critically reflecting on one’s own perspective within this emerging awareness.
  • Locating concepts within specific historical and cultural contexts. Understanding scholarly materials within the contexts in which they were produced and developing an ability to explain them in your own words and relate them to real-world problems.


  • Research Proposal 10%
  • Ethnographic exercises 30%
  • Final Research project 30%
  • Presentation of research project 15%
  • Participation 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.

Assignments must be submitted by the indicated deadline in the syllabus. You have the option to submit one of the ethnographic exercises one week late without penalty. Please let me know of your decision in advance of the deadline. Otherwise, a late penalty of 5%/day will be applied to any late work submitted without a medical reason or appropriate documentation.

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 Honesty and Student Conduct Policies: The Department of Sociology & Anthropology follows SFU policy in relation to grading practices, grade appeals (Policy T20.01), and academic honesty and student conduct procedures (S10‐S10.05). 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.

Centre for Accessible Learning: Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need classroom or exam accommodations are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (1250 Maggie Benston Centre) as soon as possible to ensure that they are eligible and that approved accommodations and services are implemented in a timely fashion.

The Sociology and Anthropology Student Union, SASU, is a governing body of students who are engaged with the department and want to build the SA community. Get involved!  Follow Facebook and Instagram pages or visit our website.



Mannik, Lynda, and Karen McGarry. (2017). Practicing Ethnography: A Student Guide to Method and Methodology. University of Toronto Press.

Narayan, Kirin. (2012). Alive in the Writing: Crafting Ethnography in the Company of Chekhov. University of Chicago Press.

Other readings will be posted on Canvas


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.

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