Introduction to Interpretive Research Designs - Peregrine Schwartz-Shea
Peregrine Schwartz-Shea is professor of political science at the University of Utah where she teaches courses in Qualitative-Interpretive Research Methods, Research Design, Public Administration, and Gender and Politics. She conducts research on interpretive methods and human subjects protection policy. With Dvora Yanow, she co-authored Interpretive Research Design: Concepts and Processes (Routledge 2012), the first volume in the Routledge Series on Interpretive Methods that they co-edit.
No prerequisite knowledge is required to take this introductory course. Those who will benefit most from the course are those currently planning research (i.e., working on a research proposal) or who will do so in the future; those who have completed field research and are in the “writing up” stage will also benefit from several parts of the course, such as understanding and communicating (e.g., to reviewers) what the appropriate quality standards are for assessing interpretive work. (Note that the pre-course assignments, given below, include basic introductions to the nature of interpretive research. For those who wish to deepen their background in this area, see: the supplementary readings section below for additional recommended readings on philosophy of social science; the sources listed on p. 44 of the required text, Interpretive Research Design.)
Short course outline
Interpretive research puts the meaning-making of those studied at the center of a research project. Guided often by an abductive logic of inquiry, such research is commonly not driven by formal hypotheses or variables. Based on a constructivist ontology and an intersubjectivist (or constructivist) epistemology, interpretive research generates data through talk, observation, and/or document selection and analyzes them through a wide array of methods, including category analysis, discourse analysis, genealogy, metaphor analysis, story-telling analysis, etc. This course in interpretive research design explains the vocabulary, processes, and quality (evaluative) standards consistent with the interpretive emphasis on meaning-making. It will enable researchers using such designs to explain its logic of inquiry to key decision makers, i.e., funding agencies, supervisors and other evaluators, as well as journal editors and peer reviewers. The course is appropriate for those doing ethnographic/participant observer, interviewing, case study, narrative, historical, and other forms of research in such fields as political science, international relations, public policy, public administration, urban studies, political sociology, organizational studies, and the like.
This course description may be subject to subsequent adaptations (e.g. taking into account new developments in the field, participant demands, group size, etc). Registered participants will be informed at the time of change.
By registering for this course, you confirm that you possess the knowledge required to follow it. The instructor will not teach these prerequisite items. If in doubt, please contact us before registering.