Spring 2016 - SA 356W D100

Ethnography and Qualitative Methods (SA) (4)

Class Number: 1922

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 5 – Apr 11, 2016: Fri, 9:30 a.m.–1:20 p.m.

  • Instructor:

    Jade Boyd
  • 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.


What is qualitative research and how does one go about it? Qualitative research spans multiple disciplines and fields of inquiry, while questions around ethics, method, methodology, epistemology, and theory are subject to constant debate. This writing intensive course covers a wide range of sociological and anthropological qualitative research methodologies that have been instrumental to research in the social sciences. Through an emphasis on ethnographic methods of research and practical qualitative skill-based exercises, students will gain familiarity with research practice, design, and ethics. Attentive to the intersectionality of gender, race, class, sex and other social identities, students will enter into conventional and critical debates, choices, and dilemmas around research motivations and processes, ethics, voice and subjectivity, ethnography, fieldwork, participant observation, interviewing, analysis, representation and presentation. The course considers the kinds of opportunities and challenges presented by diverse methods while emphasizing the link between the development of a research question and the selection of methodological approaches. Building upon several practical assignments throughout the course, students will participate in the design, creation and presentation of their own qualitative mini-ethnographic study.


  • Participation and in-class exercises 15%
  • Content Analysis 10%
  • Observation 10%
  • Interview and Interview Schedule 10%
  • Reflexivity 10%
  • Research Design and Proposal 10%
  • Research Presentation 5%
  • Mini-Ethnographic Research Project Report 30%


Where a final exam is scheduled and you do not write the exam or withdraw from the course before the deadline date, you will be assigned an N grade. Unless otherwise specified on the course outline, all other graded assignments in this course must be completed for a final grade other than N to be assigned.

Academic Dishonesty and Misconduct Policy
The Department of Sociology and 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: http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student.html.



Hesse-Biber, Sharlene Nagy, and Patricia Leavy (2010). The Practice of Qualitative Research. London: Sage Publications.

Emerson et al. (1995). Writing Ethnographic Fieldnotes. Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press.

Additional Readings (available on library reserve and through the library databases)


Linda Smith (2002). Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous People. London and New York: Zed Books.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://students.sfu.ca/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