Fall 2021 - SA 356W E100

Ethnography and Qualitative Methods (SA) (4)

Class Number: 6515

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 5:30 PM – 9:20 PM
    HCC 1315, Vancouver

  • Instructor:

    Cristina Moretti
    Office Hours: 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.


When asked “Why ethnography?” Kirin Narayan replied: “For the discipline of paying attention; for learning from others; for becoming more responsibly aware of inequalities; for better understanding the social forces causing suffering and how people might somehow find hope; and most generally, for being perpetually pulled beyond the horizons of one’s own taken-for-granted world” (McGranahan, 2020: 12, describing her interview with Kirin Narayan).

In this course, we will study ethnography and qualitative research methodologies. Through research and writing exercises, class discussions, and small group work, we will investigate what is entailed in “paying attention” (ibid.) to people’s words, lives, concerns, and contexts; consider ethical issues in research; and engage with ethnographic writing.

There are three main aspects to the course. First, students will have the opportunity to practice several research methods including interviewing, observation, listening to life stories, and visual methods. Secondly, we will read and discuss different ethnographic texts to learn about voice, representation, reflexivity, and the position of the researcher. Craig’s book “The End of Kinship” will help us develop a critical appreciation of how ethnographers use various genres of writing in their work. Thirdly, students will gain an understanding of the necessary components of research, such as developing questions, selecting a site, ensuring ethical engagements, and analyzing research results.

SA356W is a reading and writing intensive course and students are expected to complete weekly readings prior to each class.


  • Research exercises 40%
  • Reading responses 30%
  • Research project proposal 25%
  • Presentation 5%


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.



Craig, S. (2020) The Ends of Kinship: Connecting Himalayan Lives between Nepal and New York. University of Washington Press.

Print ISBN: 978-0-295747682
VitalSource ebook ISBN: 978-0-295747705

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

Limited user access to text available via the SFU Library here.

Print ISBN: 978-1-487593124
VitalSource ebook ISBN: 978-1-487593155

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


Teaching at SFU in fall 2021 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with approximately 70 to 80 per cent of classes in person/on campus, with safety plans in place.  Whether your course will be in-person or through remote methods will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the fall 2021 term.