SYA6315 - Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods (Section 05F9)


Fall 2018

Class: Wednesday 3:00-6:00 p.m. in 2354 Turlington





Monika Ardelt, Ph.D.


3350 Turlington




Office Hours:

T, Th 1:45-2:45 p.m. and by appointment



Course Content


This course is primarily an introduction to qualitative research methods. We will begin by briefly discussing the goal, purpose, ethic, and logic of social research, comparing quantitative and qualitative approaches. The remainder of the course is reserved for the study of qualitative research. We will discuss and practice qualitative data collection, writing fieldnotes, qualitative interviewing, and the analysis of qualitative data. At the end of the course, you should be confident enough to initiate and conduct your own qualitative research project.


Required Readings


Emerson, Robert M. 2001. Contemporary Field Research. Perspectives and Formulations. 2nd Ed. Prospects Heights, IL: Waveland.


Esterberg, Kristin G. 2002. Qualitative Methods in Social Research. Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill.


Course packet (abbreviated as "CP" in the reading list) available at Target Copy (1412 West University Avenue right next to Chipotle Restaurant; Phone: 352-376-3826;


Highly Recommended Readings


Warren, Carol A. B. and Tracy Xavia Karner. 2015. Discovering Qualitative Methods: Ethnography, Interviews, Documents, and Images. 3rd Edition. New York: Oxford University Press.


Maimon, Elaine P., Janice H. Peritz, and Kathleen Blake Yancey. 2012. A Writer's Resource. A Handbook for Writing and Research. 4th Edition. New York: McGraw-Hill.




IRB Training: To do qualitative interviewing, you first need to complete the required IRB training. Instructions for the training can be found here: (see also S:\soc\Ardelt-Intro to Qual\IRB-02 Mandatory Training Cheat Sheet.pdf)


Readings and Class Participation: An interaction between students and instructor will be the basis of most classes. Hence, it is absolutely essential that you read the assigned material in advance so that you are able to participate in class discussions.

For each class, starting after our first meeting, you will prepare one or more questions based on the assigned readings and write down possible answers to those questions or issues that should be considered when attempting to answer those questions. Questions and answers should contain a heading that identifies the reading(s) that inspired the question(s). Each set of questions and answers is worth 1 point if you write at least 300 words of original text (excluding headings and quotations) for a total of 10% of your final grade. You will have 12 opportunities to submit a Q&A entry, but you only need to submit 10 entries.

Q & A entries for each class are to be submitted via e-Learning in Canvas after the file has been saved either as a Word document (*.doc or *.docx) or as a rich text format file (*.rtf). I will not be able to download, read, and grade any other file format. The deadline for submission is noon each Wednesday for which there are readings assigned (except for the first day of class), so that I have time to compile a list of questions for discussion before class. For general information about e-Learning in Canvas visit


To submit your MS Word file or *.rtf file in e-Learning, go to the University of Florida e-Learning Support Services home page at (bookmark this page). To sign into e-Learning in Canvas, click on the "e-Learning in Canvas" link using your assigned Gatorlink username and password. If you do not have a Gatorlink ID or if you cannot remember your Gatorlink login information, go to the Gatorlink website at <> or to the CIRCA Help Desk in the Hub (phone: 392-HELP) for assistance.


After you have successfully logged into e-Learning, you will be taken to your Dashboard, which will help you to navigate through Canvas. For further assistance please contact e-Learning Support Services at (352) 392-4357 or email:


To submit a Q & A entry via e-Learning, navigate to our course and click on Assignments in the menubar. Assignments can be displayed in the order they are due or by type. Do the following to submit a Q & A entry:

Step 1: Click the Q & A entry you want to submit.

Step 2: Click on the "Submit Assignment" link.

Step 3: To upload your file, click the Choose File button. Browse for a file to upload.

Step 4: Check "This assignment submission is my own, original work"

Step 5: Click Submit Assignment when you are done. After you have submitted your work, you will see information in the Sidebar about your submission. If you choose, you may resubmit another version of your assignment using the Re-submit Assignment link.


To view your grades, click on Grades in the menubar.


Attendance: Attendance of class is required because non-attendance by several students at a time will destroy the dynamic of the class. Students who miss all or part of a class session must e-mail an excuse for their absence.


Use of Electronic Devices: I request that you do NOT use any electronic devices, such as a laptop or cell phone, which might distract you during class. Even if you use a laptop for note-taking, the temptation will be too strong to go on the internet and leave the classroom mentally.


Term Paper: There is one group term paper that is due on December 5th during regular class time. The term paper will consist of qualitative fieldwork, qualitative interviews, and the examination of one or more social groups. If you like to use the term paper as the basis of your thesis, you will need to get my permission and individual instructions to write an individual term paper. Detailed instructions for the group term paper can be found in the course packet.


Cheating: I define copying parts or all of an author's or another student's work, allowing another student to copy parts or all of your work, or simply duplicating parts or all of your fieldnotes, interview notes, interviews, analysis, or critique as cheating.

WARNING: Students who are caught cheating in this way will fail the class immediately! If cheating occurs within a research group, all members of the group will be held accountable.


UF students are bound by The Honor Pledge which states, "We, the members of the University of Florida community, pledge to hold ourselves and our peers to the highest standards of honor and integrity by abiding by the Honor Code. On all work submitted for credit by students at the University of Florida, the following pledge is either required or implied: "On my honor, I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid in doing this assignment." The Honor Code ( specifies a number of behaviors that are in violation of this code and the possible sanctions.


Exams: There are no exams in this course.


Three Tips for Staying Awake in Class (and make class more interesting to you):

(1) Ask questions. (2) If you feel yourself falling asleep, ask provocative questions. Challenge your professor. (3) Read the assigned material before class to do (1) and (2).





Q & A for class discussions

Statement of intent

IRB training

IRB approval

Qualitative research assignments

(Group) Term paper

(Group) Presentation

% of Final Grade









I will not grade on a curve, i.e. your grade will depend on your absolute performance, not your performance compared to other students.


The points that you will earn can be translated into letter-grades as follows:


92.5 - 100.0 = A

90.0 - <92.5 = A-

87.5 - <90.0 = B+

82.5 - <87.5 = B

80.0 - <82.5 = B-

77.5 - <80.0 = C+

72.5 - <77.5 = C

70.0 - <72.5 = C-

67.5 - <70.0 = D+

62.5 - <67.5 = D

60.0 - <62.5 = D-

           <60.0 = E


For information on current UF grading policies for assigning grade points, see


Requirements for class attendance and make-up exams, assignments, and other work in this course are consistent with university policies that can be found in the online catalog at:


Students are expected to provide feedback on the quality of instruction in this course based on 10 criteria. These evaluations are conducted online at Evaluations are typically open during the last two or three weeks of the semester, but students will be given specific times when they are open. Summary results of these assessments are available to students at


Accommodations for Students with Disabilities: Students with disabilities requesting accommodations should first register with the Disability Resource Center (352-392-8565, by providing appropriate documentation. Once registered, students will receive an accommodation letter which must be presented to the instructor when requesting accommodations. Students with disabilities should follow this procedure as early as possible in the semester.


Help with Writing: If you need help with writing, you can visit the University Writing Center ( in 302 Tigert Hall.


Important phone numbers and contact information

University counseling services and mental health services: 392-1575 or

University Police Department: 392-1111 or 9-1-1 for emergencies well-being is important to the University of Florida. The U Matter, We Care initiative is committed to creating a culture of care on our campus by encouraging members of our community to look out for one another and to reach out for help if a member of our community is in need. If you or a friend is in distress, please contact so that the U Matter, We Care Team can reach out to the student in distress. A nighttime and weekend crisis counselor is available by phone at 352-392-1575. The U Matter, We Care Team can help connect students to the many other helping resources available including, but not limited to, Victim Advocates, Housing staff, and the Counseling and Wellness Center. Please remember that asking for help is a sign of strength.



Tentative Class Schedule





What is social research?

Esterberg: pp.1-12; Optional: S:\soc\Ardelt-Intro to Qual: Jordan & Zanna, 1999; Warren&Karner: pp. 1-6


Qualitative vs. quantitative research

Emerson: Ch. 13; S:\soc\Ardelt-Intro to Qual\Published qualitative research: Shrum & Kilburn, 1996


Getting started:
Collecting qualitative data

Esterberg: Ch. 2 & 4; Emerson: Ch. 5 & pp.131-134; CP: Collecting qualitative observational data; Example of fieldnotes. Optional: Warren&Karner: Ch.3&5


The process of social research:
Ethics and objectivity

Emerson: pp. 134-149, Ch. 12, pp. 295-306, Ch. 17;
Esterberg: Ch. 3; CP: Belmont Report; Researcher Responsibilities; Examples of IRB submission;
S:\soc\Ardelt-Intro to Qual: The Science Wars.
Optional: Warren&Karner: Ch. 2; The Doubt Makers; Case of Korean Cloning Scientist; US Apologizes for Syphilis Tests in Guatemala


Qualitative interviewing

Esterberg: Ch. 5; CP: Qualitative interviewing; Example of interview and interview notes; Optional: Warren&Karner: Ch. 6 & 7


General characteristics of qualitative research

Emerson: pp. vii-x, Introduction, pp. 113-116 & 123-131, Ch. 11; Optional: S:\soc\Ardelt-Intro to Qual: Workshop on scientific foundations of qualitative research; Warren&Karner: pp.8-26 & Ch. 4


Theory in qualitative research

Emerson: pp. 27-53, Ch. 1-4 & 16; Esterberg: pp.12-22; S:\soc\Ardelt-Intro to Qual\Published qualitative research: Roet & Goedgeluck, 2007; Koro-Ljungberg, 2008, 2002; Optional: Warren&Karner: pp.6-8


Different types of qualitative research

Esterberg: Ch. 6 & 7; Choose 2 articles from S:\soc\Ardelt-Intro to Qual\Published qualitative research: Behavior trace studies: Cole, 1991; Material Artifacts: Walters, 1997; Documents and Records: Montini, 1996; Media Accounts: Berns, 1999; Electronic Texts: Kendall, 2000; Action Research: Dickson, 2000; Optional: Warren&Karner: Ch. 8


Analysis of qualitative data

Esterberg: Ch. 8 & 9; Emerson: pp. 281-295, Ch. 14, 15, & 18; S:\soc\Ardelt-Intro to Qual\Published qualitative research: Becker, 1999; Smith, 1999; Optional: Warren&Karner: Ch. 9


The praxis of qualitative field research: Issues of race/ethnicity, gender, and age

Emerson: pp. 116-123, Ch. 6-10


Practicing qualitative data analysis: The example of Objective Hermeneutics

CP: Methods of Objective Hermeneutics; S:\soc\Ardelt-Intro to Qual: Titscher et al., 2000; S:\soc\Ardelt-Intro to Qual\Published qualitative research: Mann & Schweiger, 2009


General issues and problems of qualitative research. Presenting and publishing qualitative research.

Esterberg: Ch. 10; Emerson: pp. 306-315; S:\soc\Ardelt-Intro to Qual\Published qualitative research: Gordon & Whelan-Berry, 2005; Smyres, 1999; Ungar, 2000; Optional: Ardelt, 2005; Warren&Karner: Ch. 10


No class!

Work on your papers and presentations.


THANKSGIVING Week: No class!

Work on your papers and presentations.


Discussion of published qualitative research

S:\soc\Ardelt-Intro to Qual\Published qualitative research: Few, 2005; Francis, 2000; Lindsey et al., 2006; Pagis, 2010; Arnett, 2000


Presentations of research findings