CAAS 417 - Studying African Americans: An Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods
Section: 001
Term: FA 2009
Subject: Afroamerican and African Studies (CAAS)
Department: LSA Afroamerican and African Studies
Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
Advisory Prerequisites:
CAAS 111 or CAAS 201.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

This seminar provides an introduction to the major methodological developments in qualitative research, while specifically offering training in naturalistic data collection methods and research report writing. Considerable attention is given to inter- and cross-cultural strategies for engaging in fieldwork and presenting research (written and orally) that centers on African Americans and the cultural trope of Blackness. Naturalistic, qualitative research methods is “an umbrella term covering an array of interpretive techniques which seek to describe, decode, translate, and otherwise come to terms with meaning, not the frequency, of certain more or less naturally occurring phenomena in the social world” (emphasis mine, Van Maanen, 1983, p. 9). This course charts the terrain of inquiry paradigms to ground students in the philosophical assumptions behind, and rationales for, the selection of qualitative methodologies and their akin procedures. Emphasis is placed on oral history, participant observation, in-depth interviewing, ethnography, autoethnography, and focus group research methods as a means to study African American interpretive communities, organizations, groups, and individuals. Ethical issues associated with conducting qualitative field research are constantly reinforced.

There are two substantive writing assignments (a research paper and an autoethnographic essay) required for this class. Your writing will be completed incrementally. You will receive substantial, substantive feedback on your work. There will also be short, in-class writing exercises.

The goals and outcomes of this course are:

  1. To examine the tenets of conventional and emergent research paradigms.
  2. To understand the nature of questions served by qualitative methods.
  3. To be able to design a qualitative research project and apply its methods.
    1. To evidence skills of organization.
    2. To evidence skills of appropriate data use and analysis
  4. To be able to communicate the usefulness and trustworthiness of qualitative research.
    1. To present clear, concise, and competent written reports.
  5. To understand the disciplinary development of Black studies and the study of Black people.

CAAS 417 - Studying African Americans: An Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
M 4:00PM - 7:00PM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.

You will find additional course materials on Ctools.
ISBN: 0472088491
Bad Boys: Public Schools in t, Author: Ann Arnett Ferguson, Publisher: University of Michigan Press 2001
ISBN: 0761924949
Qualitative communication research methods, Author: Thomas R. Lindlof, Bryan C. Taylor., Publisher: Sage Publications 2nd ed. 2002
ISBN: 0761903437
Focus groups as qualitative research, Author: David L. Morgan., Publisher: Sage 2nd ed. 1997
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