Curriculum and Policy Studies in Urban Education
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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

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

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.