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'We must put ourselves in the position of the subject who tries to find his way in this world, and we must remember, first of all, that the environment by which he is influenced and to which he adapts himself is his world, not the objective world of science.'

W.I. Thomas
and
F. Znaniecki

Qualitative Sociology Review
2009
Volume V Issue 3


Author-Supplied Abstracts & Keywords


Barbara Kawulich
     University of West Georgia, USA
Mark W.J. Garner
     University of Aberdeen, UK
Claire Wagner
     University of Pretoria, SA

Students’ Conceptions—and Misconceptions—of Social Research

How knowledge of students’ conceptions of social research can influence the pedagogy of research methods is the focus of this article. This study explains how students’ conceptions of social research changed over the course of a two-semester research programme. Twenty-nine graduate students participated in focus groups, interviews, and open-ended surveys to inform the instructor’s pedagogical decisions in developing the course. Data were analyzed phenomenographically, and the categories that were identified defined changes in their conceptions of research related to affect and attitudes, the processes involved with conducting research, and the end products of their research projects. Pedagogical inferences were derived from the findings, and implications for future research were outlined.

Keywords:
Conceptions; Phenomenography; Social research methods
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Izabela Wagner
     University of Warsaw, Poland; CEMS-EHESS, France

Coupling career fairy tale ‘Fascinating Sociology Class’. How to teach sociology? The sociology of sociology

This paper is a simple account of my teaching experience, the aim of which is to answer the question: "How can we successfully teach interactionism, labeling theory, grounded theory and other sociological bases related to qualitative methods with the active participation of students?". Through the examples of sociologists working in the Chicago Tradition, French sociologists working with Pierre Bourdieu, and other examples from American sociology, I show that sociological work is group activity. It is argued in this paper, that to make sociological thinking understanable to students teachers may do well to contextualize key theorists in their narrative/biographcal context. The students learn, that sociologists are not magicians or genius individuals who produce attractive theories. Rather, they work in collaboration with other humans to generate knowledge. Moreoever, I demonstrate that sociologists’ contributions are often strongly related to and influenced by their broader life context.

Keywords:
TTeaching sociology; Context of sociological production; Collaborations in sociology; Sociology of knowledge; Career coupling; Chicago School
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Anne Ryen
     University of Agder, Norway

"Hi, Madam, I have a small question." Teaching QM online: Guide to a successful cross-cultural master-course

A few years ago Centre of Development Studies at my Faculty, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, started an online Master’s Programme in Development Management. The programme was implemented by a network of universities from the North (University of Agder/UiA) and the South (Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Uganda, Ghana) recruiting students from across the world. The evaluation is very positive characterising it as a big success. I will now look into one particular element of this study, teaching the qualitative methodology (QM) courses with a special focus on the South context. Each course QM included has been sectioned into modules based on a variety of students` activities including student-student and student-tutor/teacher interaction, plus a number of hand-ins across topics and formats. Evaluation of the students` performance is based on both online group activity and written material submitted either into the individual or the group portfolio. My focus is twofold. First, how did we teach qualitative methodology and how did that work? Second, what about the contemporary focus on neo-colonial methodology and our QM courses? In a wider perspective the study is part of foreign aid where higher education is a means to transfer competence to the South. As such this study works to enable and to empower people rather than being trapped in the old accusation of sustaining dependency (Asad 1973, Ryen 2000 and 2007). This study then is embedded in a wider North-South debate and a highly relevant illustration of the potentials, success and hazards, inherit in teaching QM.

Keywords:
Teaching qualitative methods; Online teaching; Cross-cultural methodology; Neo-colonial methodology; Africa
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Krzysztof Konecki
    Lodz University, Poland

Teaching Visual Grounded Theory

The paper is based on personal 20-years experience of teaching methodology of grounded theory and qualitative methods. In the following paper I would like to show the usefulness of visual analysis in teaching methodology of grounded theory. A very important tool is to use pictures and a sequencing of pictures, which give a comparative insight into empirical data and teaches the comparative method that is so important to generate theory (Glaser 1965; Glaser, Strauss, 1967; Glaser 1978). Students can learn how to compare and find patterns in empirical instances, which have visual character. Some of the sequences show stages of action and the sequence that all together is a linear representation of activity. Sequence of pictures helps to build the pattern that is conceptual understanding of the phenomena being studied. In other case, the sequences of pictures given to students are not planned. They are almost accidentally created and force students to find patterns by means of the comparative analysis. We should always know what had happened before a picture was taken as well as afterwards, it is similar to sequences analysis in textual data (Silverman 2007). We should always be aware of the context of analysed activity. Students are also encouraged to make a theoretical sampling and saturate categories using data from photos and other visual data. This helps them to proceed with the research from empirical incidents to conceptually elaborated properties of categories and finally to the definition of category and formulating the hypotheses. In this way they learn visual grounded theory that is using the visual images for generating categories, properties and hypotheses and also for presenting results of analysis in the final report.

Keywords:
Visual grounded theory; Homelessness; Photography; Visual sociology; Qualitative data analysis; Visual processes; Teaching qualitative methods; Qualitative sociology
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Ana Maria Brandão
    University of Minho, Portugal

"I’ve found more difficulties than I expected to": Raising questions from field experience

Sociology students in Portugal have usually been taught methodology and epistemology in a classical, scholastic way. If students are provided with practical contact early on, this can help them to better understand and apply theoretical concepts conveyed through lectures. During their last graduate year, Sociology students of the University of Minho are expected to design a full research project and to conduct exploratory research, completed by the last semester, and this includes either a residence period or a research seminar. To ensure this works well, methodology units are organised on a weekly basis, according to two types of classes: 1) theoretical and 2) theoretical-practical, with the purpose of gradually enabling students to develop the competencies they will need to graduate. Focusing on the teaching experience of qualitative methodologies, and using as an example the teaching of observation techniques, the purpose of this article is to illustrate the advantages of offering the students early contact with the ‘field’, and prepare them for future full-scale research. These advantages are acknowledged by students, as evidenced in their written evaluations of their field experiences. However, it is important to note that this type of learning is most fruitful when students have been previously trained in the use of the written language – namely aiming to develop their ability to describe – and social theories.

Keywords:
Teaching qualitative methodologies; Field experience; Student feedback
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Dominika Byczkowska
    Lodz University, Poland

What do we study studying body? Researcher’s attempts to embodiment research

The article presents researcher’s attempts, methodological problems and queries in embodiment research during a Grounded Theory Methodology based study on social world of ballroom dancers. The research has been conducted among ballroom dancers, flamenco dancers, belly dancers, dance instructors, choreographers and judges. One of the aspects of the research is social construction of embodiment. In the article I will present techniques and methods of research such as autoetnography, interview, observation, photo and video analysis as well as kind of results they may give and what is really studied when using these methods. I will also present how one experiences his/her body in this group. I will try to answer a question: what is the real result of researcher’s attempts in embodiment study in sociology; do we really study body, or its social practices, socially constructed individual experience; how deeply can we make the research when our object (somebody else’s body) is not entirely intersubjectively available for our recognition.

Keywords:
Grounded Theory Methodology; Interview; Observation; Visual Data Analysis; Embodiment; Dance
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