Summer 2021 - SA 356W D100

Ethnography and Qualitative Methods (SA) (4)

Class Number: 1943

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    May 12 – Aug 9, 2021: Thu, 11:30 a.m.–2:20 p.m.

  • Instructor:

    Natasha Kim Ferenczi
    Office Hours: We 10:30-12:30
  • 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, observant participation, interviewing, textual and visual analysis, archival research, life histories, cross-cultural research, mapping, and network or meshwork analysis, in various ethnographic exercises and by designing an original field research proposal. Through this process students will learn to generate thoughtful research questions, reflect upon positionality, consider ethical implications, learn analytical approaches and coding strategies to interpret and analyze data, as well as develop writing skills 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 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.


  • Participation and attendance 15%
  • Discussion facilitation 10%
  • Ethnographic exercises 30%
  • Analysis review 15%
  • Research proposal 15%
  • Presentation of proposal 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.



Please see SFU Bookstore website for information on textbook purchase options.


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

This title is available for free online through the SFU Library here (restrictions apply).

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

This title is available for free online through the SFU Library here.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site 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.


Teaching at SFU in summer 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods, but we will continue to have in-person experiential activities for a selection of courses.  Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges 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. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning ( or 778-782-3112).