Spring 2020 - SA 356W J100

Ethnography and Qualitative Methods (SA) (4)

Class Number: 3127

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 6 – Apr 9, 2020: Sat, 1:30–5:20 p.m.

  • 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, participant observation, 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.


  • Research proposal 10%
  • Ethnographic exercises 20%
  • Final research paper 30%
  • Presentation of research 15%
  • Discussion facilitation 10%
  • Participation and attendance 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.

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.



Langwick, Stacey. (2011). Bodies, Politics, and African Healing: The Matter of Maladies in Tanzania. Indiana University Press.

This book is available online through the SFU Library here.
ISBN: 978-0-253222459

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

This book is available online through the SFU Library here.

  • Number of simultaneous users allowed: 1
  • PDF downloading or exporting is not permitted for this title
  • Text selection and copying is not permitted for this title

ISBN: 978-1-487593124

Narayan, Kirin. (2012). Alive in the Writing: Crafting Ethnography in the Company of Chekov. University of Chicago Press.
ISBN: 978-0-226568195

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