Doing Qualitative Research Summer School

Summer School


By the end of this course students will learn:

  • The key differences between qualitative and quantitative approaches to research
  • Some of the basic elements and common issues of qualitative research design, such as sampling, asking research questions, and the roles of theory
  • Best practices for data collection and analysis like observation, interviewing, and coding
  • How to think about their own research interests from a qualitative standpoint


Day 1

Session 1: Overview of qualitative research

  • History of fieldwork
  • Epistemology of qualitative research
  • Presentation and discussion of my own research projects: origins, practical and intellectual concerns and decisions, findings

Session 2: Project design and implementation

  • Selecting cases
  • "Getting in": insider/outsider research
  • Sampling
  • Research questions
  • Theory

Day 2

Session 1: Collecting and Analyzing Data

  • Finding variation
  • Field work assignment: field trip

Session 2: Making Observations

  • Field work assignment: field trip

Day 3

Session 1: Coding Data

  • Basic data analysis
  • Coding assignment

Session 2: Student Projects

  • Discussion of what a fieldwork/qualitative component to students’ own projects would be, or on how they would address their topic from a qualitative perspective


  • Preparation and active participation in class discussions
  • Field work observations
  • Coding exercise
  • Short presentations of own research interests as examined using qualitative approaches


Required books:
Masters of Craft: Old Jobs in the New Urban Economy (Princeton, 2017)

The following readings will be provided in advance:

Becker, Howard S. 1996. “The epistemology of qualitative research.” Pp. 53-72 in R. Jessor, A. Colby, and R. Shweder (eds.), Ethnography and Human Development: Context and meaning in Social Inquiry. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Maxwell, Joseph. 1992. “Understanding and Validity in Qualitative Research.” Harvard Educational Review. 62(3): 279 - 301.

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.

Snow, David A., Morrill, Calvin, and Leon Anderson. 2003. “Elaborating Analytic Ethnography: Linking Fieldwork and Theory.” Ethnography. 4(2): 181-200.

Additional info

For the timetable of this course, please click here.



ERIM PhD candidates and RM students: Please register on OSIRIS student using your student ERNA.

ERIM faculty members: Please register on SIN Online.

External (non-ERIM) doctoral students: Please fill in the registration form and e-mail it to by 4 weeks prior to the start of the course.

Please note that the number of places for this course is limited. In case the number of registrations exceeds the number of available seats, priority is given to ERIM RM students and PhD candidates.

This course is free of charge for ERIM members (faculty members, PhD candidates and RM students). For external participants, the course fee is 250 euro per ECTS credit.