Spring 2020 - SA 356W D100

Ethnography and Qualitative Methods (SA) (4)

Class Number: 3003

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 6 – Apr 9, 2020: Mon, 9:30 a.m.–1:20 p.m.

  • Instructor:

    Pamela Stern
    Office: AQ 5066
    Office Hours: TBD
  • 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.


Qualitative methods—ethnography, participant observation, and interviewing—are core research activities in sociocultural anthropology and sociology. This course is intended to give students the opportunity to learn how to employ these and other qualitative methods by engaging in a series of integrated research activities and a real qualitative research project. This class outlines the basic tasks of qualitative field research. Students will learn how to formulate a fruitful question, work through personal and ethical dilemmas raised by field research, and record, analyze, and formally present qualitative findings. During the Spring 2020 term, our research methods/data collection activities will be organized around the theme of citizenship and belonging.


By the end of this course students should be able to:

  • read social science articles and identify the research question and the research methods (described or implicit)
  • articulate general ethical protocols and be able recognize ethical research
  • be able to practice several different methods of data collection in relation to a specific topic or area of sociology/anthropology inquiry
  • explain research question and recruit participants to a study
  • engage in data analysis that involves integrating more than one piece of information share findings in oral, visual, digital and/or written forms.


  • Methods summaries/analysis of journal articles (8 x 3%) 24%
  • Short written exercises related to specific data collection activities (4 x 5%) 20%
  • Multi-part term project 50%
  • Class attendance and participation 6%


SA 356W is time demanding class that involves experiential learning. Many of the assignments involve data collection in the community including interactions with people who may be unknown to you.

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.

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.



Book chapters, journal articles, and other materials available in CANVAS.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site 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