ENV 551a () / 2024-2025

Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design

Credits: 3
Fall 2024: Tu,Th, 10:30-11:50, Kroon 321

Qualitative research and analysis are critical for exploring complex questions of the human condition. As an approach to understanding the human-environmental nexus, qualitative research prioritizes understanding varied “ways of knowing”. The tools we learn, through the exploration of academic literature include 1) oral methods (interviews, life histories, focus groups), (2) text-based methods (archival research and document or textual analysis), and (3) participatory methods, based in observation and knowledge co-production. Students learn how to interpret and analyze qualitative data, as well as evaluate the claims made by qualitative researchers. The course is intended for doctoral students who are in the beginning stages of their dissertation research, as well as for MESc students developing research proposals for their thesis projects. Advanced undergraduate students are welcome. The final project for this course is a research proposal. While we discuss the value of mixed methods, this course does not cover quantitative approaches such as survey research, econometrics, Q methodology, spatial analysis, or social network analysis.