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



Course Outline (schedule subject to change) 

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

  • Finding the research object
  • In-class assignment: journal article 

Day 2

 Session 1: Collecting and Analyzing Data

  • Finding variation 

 Session 2: Making observations 

  • In-class assignment: field trip  

Day 3

   Session 1 & 2: Taking field notes

  • In-class assignment: field trip  

Day 4

   Session 1:  Coding Data 

  • Basic data analysis
  • In-class assignment: coding qualitative data

   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 exercises
  • Coding exercise 
  • Short presentations of own research interests as examined using qualitative approaches


Required readings (each will be provided in advance, except where noted *):

Borges, Jorge Luis. 1998. “Funes, His Memory.” Pp. 131-137 in Collected Fictions. New York: Penguin Books. 

Charmaz, Kathy. 2006. “Coding in Grounded Theory Practice.” Chapter 3 in Constructing Grounded Theory: A Practical Guide through Qualitative Analysis. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. 

Jensen, Katherine and Auyero, Javier. 2019. “Teaching and Learning the Craft: The Construction of Ethnographic Objects.” Chapter 4 in Research in Urban Sociology, Volume 16: Urban Ethnography: Legacies and Challenges, edited by Richard E. Ocejo. Bingley, UK: Emerald.

Lefsrud, Lianne M. and Meyer, Renate E. 2012. “Science or Science Fiction? Professionals’ Discursive Construction of Climate Change.” Organization Studies. 33(11): 1477-1506.  

*Ocejo, Richard E. 2017. Masters of Craft: Old Jobs in the New Urban Economy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Perec, Georges. 2010. An Attempt At Exhausting a Place in Paris. New York: Wakefield Press.

Timmermans, Stefan and Prickett, Pamela J. 2019. “Becoming the City: Teaching Urban Ethnography and Mentoring Urban Ethnographers.” Chapter 3 in Research in Urban Sociology, Volume 16: Urban Ethnography: Legacies and Challenges, edited by Richard E. Ocejo. Bingley, UK: Emerald. 

Other readings:

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

The timetable for this course can be found here.

ERIM PhD candidates and Research Master students can register for this course via Osiris Student. ERIM faculty members can register on SIN Online.

External (non-ERIM) participants are welcome to this course. To register, please fill in the registration form and e-mail it to the ERIM Doctoral Office by four weeks prior to the start of the course. For external participants, the course fee is 750 euro.

The registration deadline is 22 May 2020. 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.