Policy Studies in Urban Education
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It has not yet been approved by the Committee.
CORE 3: Logics of Inquiry
Proposed Course Outline
I. The Uses of Research in Education
A. Seeking significant and researchable issues in a fieldsite
B. Matching methods to research concerns: the multiple methods approach
C. Theories, data, and methods
- theories as determinants of method
- research questions as determinants of method
- data types as determinants of method
- methods as determinants of research questions, data, and theories
II. Introductions to Useful Research Methods and Techniques [see Note 1]
Ethnographic fieldnotes, observation protocols
Interviewing, focus groups, stimulated recall, sociolinguistic interviewing
Audio-, video-taping; transcribing
Document collection; database archives
Text analysis (hermeneutic, critical); linguistic discourse analysis; CA
Visual analysis: nonverbal communication, behavioral action, visual semiotics
III. Philosophical Approaches to Method, Methodology, and Meaning [see Note 1]
Ethnography, micro-ethnography, participant observation
Semiotics, discourse analysis, visual analysis
Phenomenology, ethnomethodology, conversation analysis
Hermeneutics, Grounded theory
Critical theory, Historical analysis, Action research
Feminisms and Postmodernisms
Cultural psychology, Social psychology, Activity Theory
Actor-Network Theory; Systems theories
IV. Issues and Debates in Qualitative-Interpretive Research Methodology
A. Relationship between interpretive and experimental methods
B. Units of analysis and single vs. multi-scale approaches
- material vs. semiotic units
- micro- vs. macro-analysis
- multiple scales: spatial-extensional, temporal-durational
C. Focus on ecological interactions vs. meaning systems
V. Critical Perspectives on Research Methodology
A. Critiques of quantification, causal analysis, and controlled experimentation
B. Critiques of classification, formal models, static representations
C. Frontiers of methodology: affect, process, multimodality, heterochrony
VI. Sample Research Debates in the Published Literature
VII. Ethics and Politics of Research
VIII. Writing and Presenting Research Reports
1. Although listed here sequentially, the discussions of various research techniques and of different theoretical groundings for research methodology will be discussed in parallel.
2. Not all topics, approaches, or methods will be covered in equal depth. For some topics, the entire class will read and discuss (both in class and on an email listgroup) the General Readings, but because of the large range of topics in this course, those not included in the General Readings will be assigned to individual students and/or small groups to lead discussions in the more specialized areas.
3. Concurrently, students will be taking Core 4 (Pedagogy in the Urban Classroom), in which they will have field site placements where they will generate small data archives relevant to particular research concerns and make reasoned choices of theoretical approaches and analytic techniques for specific research purposes.
4. The accompanying Course Bibliography represents a broad sampling of the kinds of works students will be encouraged to read. Specific Course Readings each year will keep current with the most recent work in the field and also be directed (e.g. the exemplary studies and sample research debates) to the special interests of each cohort of students.