Readings related to sampling / corpus construction

American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) – report on challenges of phone surveys in an era of mobile phones

Counting people: Census sensitivity (the Economist) – “numbers mean power, which is why counting people is so controversial”

Also highly recommended: Small, Mario Luis (2009). ‘How Many Cases Do I Need?’ On Science and the Logic of Case Selection in Field-Based Research. Ethnography 10(1): 5-38. [doi: 10.1177/1466138108099586] abstract excerpt: Today, ethnographers and qualitative researchers in fields such as urban poverty, immigration, and social inequality face an environment in which their work will be read, cited, and assessed by demographers, quantitative sociologists, and even economists….. Many have responded by incorporating elements of quantitative methods into their designs, such as selecting respondents ‘at random’ for small, in-depth interview projects or identifying ‘representative’ neighborhoods for ethnographic case studies, aiming to increase generalizability. This article assesses these strategies and argues that they fall short of their objectives

Course Description

Tuesdays and Thursdays 12:30pm – 2pm
South Hall, Room 205

Professor Jenna Burrell (e-mail: ude.yelekreb.loohcsinull@annej)
Office Hours: Tuesdays, 4pm-6pm, Room 312

[A word version of the course syllabus.]

This course will focus on the use of qualitative methods for research on the development, diffusion, and use of information technologies as well as information and management practices. Its core concern is with an epistemological question – how do we arrive at credible knowledge through qualitative research practices? The methods covered will include interviewing, focus groups, participant observation, and ethnography. Along the way we will confront the issues of quality, validity, and rigor.

This course has several goals: 1) to help students develop a better understanding of how data relates to knowledge 2) to negotiate the logistical limits and respect the ethical issues inherent in any research practice 3) to generate an awareness of the inevitable imperfections and alterations that are introduced by the structures imposed in any research design. 4) to give students hands-on experience with these methods.