Spring 2022 - URB 670 G100

Urban Research Methods (4)

Class Number: 6100

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 5:30 PM – 9:20 PM
    HCC 2245, Vancouver



Offers a tip-to-all approach to researching urban public policy problems, from imagining projects, to gathering interpreting data and presenting findings to the public. The emphasis of this program is for students to be able to understand the work of others and design their own studies. In addition to this, students are trained in how to apply descriptive statistics such as means, measures of spread and cross-tabulation. Students wishing to deepen their quantitative skills, such as multivariate, qualitative or spatial analysis, will be encouraged to take advanced programs offered in affiliated departments.


This course will be offered in person at Harbour Centre and will be complemented by materials delivered on online platforms. We will use Canvas and Zoom for some components of the course so access to internet and a computer with camera and microphone will be required.

The objectives of this course are to: 
  • develop an understanding of urban research
  • explore the relationship between urban issues and research design and method choices
  • introduce a range of urban research methods, and
  • provide hands-on experience with a range of research tools and techniques.  

This course will introduce research methods and help students to develop an appreciation of different ways of understanding urban conditions and processes. Students will have the opportunity to experience a range of social science research methods, tools, and techniques, as applied in the field of urban studies. These range from quantitative to qualitative methods and include use of analytical software as well as a range of data collection and analysis methods. Students will also consider research in practice, including topics such as evaluation research and mixed methods approaches. Students will submit a final assignment where they will put the methods that they have been learning about into action.



  • How would you research it assignment 10%
  • Urban observation exercise 20%
  • Urban indicators exercise 15%
  • Interview exercise 20%
  • Urban survey exercise 20%
  • How will you research it? 15%



Additional readings and other course materials will be available via Canvas. We will draw extensively from three books:    

  • Babbie, E. and Benaquisto, L. 2002/2009/2014/2018. Fundamentals of Social Research (1st–4th Canadian Editions). Scarborough: Thomson/Nelson. (The newest edition is preferred.)
  • Flowerdew, R. and Martin, D. (eds). 2005. Methods in Human Geography, 2nd Edition. New York: Prentice Hall
  • Tuhiwai Smith, Linda. 2011. Decolonizing Methodologies, 2nd edition. London: Zed Books

Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: http://www.sfu.ca/dean-gradstudies/current/important_dates/guidelines.html. The deadline to drop a course with a 100% refund is the end of week 2. The deadline to drop with no notation on your transcript is the end of week 3.

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 spring 2022 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with safety plans in place.  Some courses will still be offered through remote methods, and if so, this 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 spring 2022 term.