Slavic and Eurasian Studies

Research Methodology Courses

SDS 385: Introduction to Statistical Learning (Statistics and Data Sciences Department)

You will be introduced to the most widely used statistical learning techniques and tools, and how to compare and evaluate their performance.  Technical material will be covered in an intuitive way.  This course will be hands-on. Our main tool will be R: www.r-project.org.  Towards the end of the semester, you will participate in a prediction competition.

Prerequisites: 

  • graduate standing
  • basic knowledge of multiple regression
  • some rudimentary programming experience

RTF 380: Research Methods in the Digital Age (Radio-Television-Film)

Research methods are the foundation of knowledge production. Drawing on literature from media studies, management, sociology, and communication, this course helps students to develop a critical understanding of major methodological approaches. It aims to equip students with critical and creative skills in critiquing, doing, and communicating media research in the digital age. The course has three major components.

1.      We start with the epistemological foundations, broadly in social research and specifically in media and communication studies.  We will discuss how the rise of big data has challenged conventional modes of knowledge production.

2.      In the second part, we examine issues such as conceptualization, sampling, operationalization and measurement, observations of texts, people, processes, and contexts. We will draw on milestone studies in media studies, management, sociology, and communication to showcase research practices that generate useful knowledge and insight for scholarly and policy communities. Beside major quantitative and qualitative methods such as survey and interview, we pay special attention to mixed methods, comparative studies, global/transnational studies, and digital research methods.  Research ethics, especially politics and privacy, will be discussed.

3.      In the third part, students will prepare a research proposal step-by-step, taking into consideration of theoretical contribution, methodological rigor and innovation, policy implications, and resource constraints.

4.      Throughout the semester, students are encouraged to engage with the instructor’s various media research projects on topics including but not limited to digital inclusion, media entrepreneurship, social and mobile media. Proposals, questionnaires, interview guidelines, IRB files as well as data are available for qualified students to explore.

Course goals:

  • Understand major methodological approaches in media studies, especially recent methodological advancements in digital media studies
  • Understand ethics, politics, and privacy issues in media research  
  • Apply major methodological approaches to specific media research topics
  • Recognize various opportunities, challenges, and implications of doing and communicating media research in a rapidly changing digital media landscape

Please direct questions to Wenhong Chen, PhD, Email: wenhong.chen@austin.utexas.edu

EDP 380E, 380P and EDP 384: Qualitative Research Methods *Recommended Course* (Educational Psychology)

This course examines research methods that are descriptive, field-based, interpretive, and discovery-focused, in contrast to traditional quantitative methods of analyzing and interpreting data. The two main objectives of the class are to prepare you to conduct qualitative research and to be able to evaluate published qualitative research. Topics covered include varieties of qualitative research (emphasizing grounded theory, but also including case studies, ethnography, and phenomenology), identifying questions and phenomena for research, planning and conducting qualitative research, coding and other analytic procedures, developing an interpretation, and trustworthiness concerns in qualitative inquiry. We will emphasize approaches that are more suited to smaller scale, lower budget projects conducted by a single investigator. Class sessions will be devoted to discussions of the text and of selected articles and chapters illustrating different forms of qualitative research in several disciplines. We will also do some limited fieldwork, conducting interviews and observations. The course has a significant “hands on” component and I encourage students whose masters or dissertation projects are using a qualitative approach (either as the core methodology or as one dimension of their study) to use the class to develop or advance their projects. However, students who are not currently involved in qualitative research efforts but who simply want to learn more about this methodology will also find the course useful.

R S 383T - ETHNOGRAPHIES OF RELIGION (Religious Studies)

This course will survey and compare contemporary ethnographic studies of religion.  The course will give particular attention to studies that have been influenced by the ethnographic turn in the field of Religious Studies since the 1990s.  It also will address select ethnographic studies in Sociology and Anthropology, in order to develop a broader interdisciplinary conversation on thematic issues of locality, place, practice, materiality, spirituality, secularity, identity and difference in relation to the study of religion.

HIS 381: Public and Digital History (History)

With Dr. Joan Neuberger

This course introduces students to the main practices of public history.  We will be learning by doing (and, of course, reading). The goal is to complement students’ academic work and preparation for dissertation writing and to both encourage students to include public history in their professional profile as historians and to offer experience, skill-building, and credentials in a variety of forms of public history. We will meet with a variety of people doing public and digital history (museum curators, archivists, preservationists, public librarians, bloggers, website managers, documentary film makers, podcasters, digital technology specialists). Visits with specialists will be coordinated with hands-on activities, such as:

  • Writing historical background for paintings on historical subjects in the university art museum, to be posted alongside the paintings and available on a phone app developed by students in the UT Digital Humanities Lab.
  • Designing exhibits of various scales, based on research in the Austin History Center (an archive and small museum), the Briscoe Center for American History (a UT archive), the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum.
  • Doing research in online repositories of texts and images.
  • Running workshops at public libraries for interested members of the public to write their own histories
  • Doing oral histories; designing exhibits that showcase oral history, making podcasts
  • Designing public history websites
  • Using new mapping programs to show site-specific events and documents.
  • Making short documentary films.
  • Blogging about all of it on a course-specific blog.
  • Additional projects that derive from students’ interests

At this point, my plan is to organize each of these activities around one or two specific projects, one of which will be a website and exhibit about the UT Tower Shooting of August 1, 1966. We may choose to work on a different project, depending on student interest.

FR 381N: Translation Studies: Theory and Practice (French & Italian)

The target audience for this course is graduate students of literature and linguistics from all language areas (Italian Studies, French Studies, Romance linguistics, Spanish and Portuguese, Comparative Literature, etc.). The course will unfold along two distinct but complementary tracks: as a seminar focusing on the development of ideas and practices in translation through the reading and analysis of key texts of translation theory (including essays by Benjamin, Jakobson, Steiner, Riffaterre, Derrida, Bassnett, Spivak and Venuti) and case studies of practices and roles played by translation; and as a workshop in which each participant will work on an individual translation project in her/his particular area of interest and share her/his work in progress with the group. 

Discussions will cover questions of translatability, fidelity, the hierarchical division between original texts and their translations, and the charged politics of translation as well as issues of style, language, register, and cultural equivalency. The course will also include guest speakers from UT and the Austin translation community.

Texts: Lost in Translation (Coppola, 2003); Adaptation (Jonze, 2003); Packet of xeroxed materials

Course Requirements: Active, thoughtful and articulate participation in course discussions and workshops; Oral Presentation on an essay from weekly reading; A final project, consisting of an original translation accompanied by a critical translator’s introduction, to be presented and discussed in class and revised throughout the semester. 

GOV 382K: Studies In Political Theory & Philosophy (Government)

The main goal of the seminar is to offer students a critical knowledge of the most relevant texts in political philosophy. Particular attention will be dedicated to the discussion of the various methods of interpreting classical works in political philosophy and to the analysis of fundamental concepts like liberty, justice, duty, rights, power, reason, rhetoric, liberalism, republicanism, socialism. No prerequisites.

Grading: students are requested to make a presentation in the seminar on an author or theme of their choice. The presentation will be evaluated in the context of the general participation. They are also requested to write a final paper of 25-30 pages. The final grade will be based on participation (50%) and on the paper (50%)

Maurizio Viroli is Professor of Government at the University of Texas (Austin), Professor of Political Communication at the University of Italian Switzerland (Lugano), and Professor Emeritus of Politics at Princeton University. He holds a degree in Philosophy from the University of Bologna and a PhD in Political and Social Sciences from the European University Institute of Firenze. He has taught and conducted research at the universities of Cambridge (Clare Hall), Georgetown (Washington, D.C.), the United Arab Emirates, Trento, Campobasso, Ferrara, the Institute for Advanced Study of Princeton, the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa, the European University Institute of Firenze (Jean Monnet Fellow), the Collegio of Milano and the Scuola Superiore di Amministrazione dell’Interno. He has promoted and directed several projects on civic education in Italian schools. In particular, he has founded and is now the Director of a Master’s program in Civic Education established at Asti by Ethica Association.

For more information on Dr. Viroli, please visit this link: http://www.utexas.edu/cola/depts/government/faculty/mv23254

EDP 384 17: Issues in Multicultural Research (Educational Psychology)

Theories and models for educational and psychological research. Designed to provide knowledge and tools to critique and evaluate theoretical, conceptual, and methodological issues related to the role and importance of culture, ethnicity, and race in multicultural research. Draws from social, developmental, counseling, and clinical psychology research, and emphasizes the challenges in conducting rigorous, culturally sound research. With consent of the adviser in the student's area of specialization, may be repeated for credit when the topics vary. Some sections are offered on the credit/no credit basis only.


HED 386/ KIN 386: Research Methods: Applied Research Techniques (Health Education)

In this course in applied research methods, students gain experience in reading and critiquing journal articles, as well as in designing an applied research project. The course covers basic concepts in literature search, problem finding, formulating research questions, sampling, measurement, and research design. The course considers the continuum of research methods, including both quantitative and qualitative methods, as well as research methods in the context of program evaluation. Statistical concepts are reviewed through lectures and practice in interpreting journal articles. Ethical issues in the conduct of research are also addressed. The course is appropriate for students who plan to be professionals in health-related or social service fields, as well as for students who plan to conduct research.

CMS 386N: Qualitative Research Methods (Communications)

Through presentation of scholarly readings and immersion into one’s own in-depth research project, this course explores a variety of qualitative research approaches, taking into account issues of epistemology (ways of knowing), methodology (ways of examining), and representation (ways of writing and reporting). We will examine interpretive theory, and several intellectual traditions that constitute this field of research including ethnography, sense-making, analytic induction, and grounded theory. We will read exemplars of qualitative research that illustrate these particular theoretical traditions as well as examine key issues such as gaining access to research sites, forms of interactions with research subjects, and research ethics. Students will carry out their own research project, engaging in 20+ hours of field research. Through this project, students will have the opportunity to collectively enact and reflect upon the central phases of qualitative research such as: planning, negotiating access, observing, interviewing, creating field texts, analyzing field texts, writing, and explicating the contribution of their work. The goal is that students will emerge from the class with first-hand qualitative research experience and a significant understanding of qualitative methods that can serve as a basis for an ongoing research program.   

Course Materials/Texts: Tracy, S. J. (2013). Qualitative Research Methods: Collecting Evidence, Crafting Analysis, Communicating Impact. ISBN-10: 140519202X | ISBN-13: 978-1405192026

Prerequisites: Restricted to CMS graduate students.

SOC 388K: Field and Observational Meths (Sociology)

Rationale and logic for field research; participant and nonparticipant observation; informant and conversational interviewing; personal documents, records, and physical traces; life histories; sources of error and bias; personal and ethical dilemmas; modes of analysis.

*May be counted toward the statistics and methods requirement.

Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

SOC 388L: HISTORICAL AND COMPARATV METHS (Sociology)

Scope and methods of historical and comparative sociology; application of historical sources to answer sociological questions; logic of comparative analysis in theory construction.

*May be counted toward either the statistics and methods requirement or the political sociology specialization.

Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

The course is devoted to the study of comparative and historical methods in sociology (CHS). It is designed to provide graduate students with a general understanding of the theoretical paradigms that scholars have developed in that genre of sociology. We pay particular attention to how evidence is used to construct theory. We will be reading closely books that span five decades of comparative and historical sociology and have received attention in the field. All these books are meant as exemplars that “do” comparative and historical sociology.  Each of them puts the methodology in practice to study a substantive sociological issue. Our purpose is to deconstruct each text in order to understand how the author has used comparisons implicitly or explicitly (in most cases) in order to build a theoretical argument.  It is also to play close attention to the sources and type of data used.  In addition, we will consider articles that comment on comparative and historical methods.  These articles should help you develop an intellectual map of the analytic strategies displayed in the books we are using as exemplars of the methodology. Thematically, the seminar focuses on states, state formation, and politics. We will invite guest speakers who use comparative/historical methods to come and tell us about their work from time to time.  An updated syllabus will be provided as necessary.

GRG 390L: Research in Geography (Geography) *Recommended Course*

Builds on topics explored in Geography 390K by focusing on epistemology and research in the field of geography. Students develop plans for research and write a research proposal. The research design and proposal writing process is among the most important, exciting, challenging, frustrating, alienating, and rewarding endeavors for graduate students and faculty alike. This course seeks to demystify the process through a rigorous but supportive environment in which students are guided through the key stages of research design and proposal writing. This course is organized as an intensive collaborative workshop in which students bring individual components of their respective projects to class for constrictive critical peer review for subsequent revision. The course objectives include: (1) to develop constructive peer reviewing skills; (2) to learn how to receive constructive criticism, rethink, and revise; (3) to begin to cultivate a scholarly/academic identity; (4) to gain an in-depth understanding of the intellectual and practical dimensions of the proposal writing and review process; (5) to produce a polished, high-quality and competitive research proposal modeled after the National Science Foundation (NSF) DDRIG (Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant).

*Required of all first-year graduate students in geography.

Prerequisite: Graduate standing and Geography 390K.

CMS 390S: 6-Social Network Analysis (Communication Studies)

Focus on quantitatively and qualitatively mapping and measuring the connections, relationships, and flows between entities, such as individuals, teams, groups, organizations, and other information sources. Communication Studies 390S (Topic: Social Network Analysis) and 390S (Topic 6) may not both be counted.

*Course number may be repeated for credit when the topics vary.

Prerequisite: Graduate standing; additional prerequisites vary with the topic.

ANT 391: Rsch & Grant Proposal Writing (Anthropology)

This graduate seminar is designed to teach research proposal writing skills that are needed to secure external funding. The overall course objective is to complete a fundable research proposal by the end of the semester. Students will draft a grant that follows an expanded National Science Foundation Model. Therefore, the course is best suited for graduate students in anthropology who have a clear research project in mind and are approximately a year away from applying for external funding. Advanced graduate students in other disciplines can enroll in the course, but only with special permission from the instructor. Over the course of the semester, students will identify and approach funding sources, produce a proposal with all necessary components—including a problem statement, literature review, theoretical framework, methodology and bibliography—learn to critique their own proposals and those of others, work with partners, and formally present their research to the class.

*Course number may be repeated for credit when the topics vary.

WGS 392: Rsch Meths Smnr Wom's/Gend Std (Women and Gender Studies)

Introduction to select feminist research methods used in various disciplines and how these methods inform interdisciplinary perspectives in the student's own field of study in preparation for a report, thesis, or dissertation. This course is designed to prepare graduate students in gender studies and the qualitative social sciences to conduct a research project for their master’s theses or similar projects. We will explore a range of research methods and traditions as well as the epistemological assumptions underlying them. We will consider what it means to conduct “feminist” research, as well as the perils and promise of the more participatory research traditions. Some of the research methods we will explore include interviewing, survey research, case studies, textual analysis, and participant observation.

Prerequisite: For master's students in women's and gender studies, graduate standing and Women's and Gender Studies 390 and 391; for others, graduate standing and consent of instructor.

SOC 394K: Contemporary Social Theory (Sociology)

The goal of this course is to familiarize students with contemporary debates in sociological theory today.  We begin with a critical analysis of the “canon” by examining the legacy of W.E.B. Dubois.  This analysis will frame our discussion of the major theoretical paradigms in the discipline, including functionalism, symbolic interactionism, rational choice, critical theory, postmodernism, and feminist and queer theory.  Among the theorists whose works we will consider are: Pierre Bourdi eu, Patricia Hill Collins, Michel Foucault, Erving Goffman, Arlie Hochschild, and James Jasper.

SOC 394K: 2-Contemporary Social Theory (Sociology)

Development of social thought; the emergence of systematic sociological theory; interrelations with other social sciences. Graduate students in sociology must take Topics 2 and 3. May be counted toward the theory requirement.

*Required of all graduate students during their second semester of study.

*Course number may be repeated for credit when the topics vary.

Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

J 381.1: Content Analysis (Journalism)

Content analysis is the systematic, objective and quantitative analysis of message characteristics. Content analysis is one of the fastest growing methods used in communication research. Content analysis is a systematic way to analyze the content of documented communications, whether they are written, audio/visual or digital. The emphasis of the course will be to explain the methodological steps involved in conducting content analysis so that you will be able to design and execute content analysis studies, whether they be traditional manual approaches or more recent computer-­‐based techniques.

J 395: Designing Experiments (Journalism)

If you are interested in causality rather than just correlation, and testing hypotheses for cause and effect, then this class is for you.

This class is different from most other experimental design courses in that it focuses on methodological and design issues in planning an experiment rather than on analyzing the data with various statistics. The class will briefly cover that aspect, but the focus is mainly on enabling you to have a fully designed experiment, which you can then carry out as a research paper, thesis, or dissertation proposal. Rather than just reading about controlled experiments and field experiments, single factor experiments and factorial designs, manipulation checks, etc., we will walk through the steps in deciding which of these elements is best used in the creation of your own experiment, including making the stimuli and questionnaire. By the end of the semester you will have submitted an application to the IRB and be ready to run subjects for your experiment. The inner workings of the statistics, formulas, and calculating them by hand will not be part of this class; you should take a traditional experimental design class if you want to learn that.

This class is not the same as the experimental design classes from the psychology department; it is a complement to those, however. If you are looking to become a qualified experimentalist, take this course and one in psychology too. 

Experiments are considered advanced research methods, so a basic research methods class and a theory class are pre-requisites. That said, this course won’t include arcane language or assume you know anything about experiments or statistics used to analyze them; you should have a basic knowledge of the scientific method, and have conducted at least one study of any kind (content analysis, survey, etc.). Knowledge of theory is necessary because experiments are used to test hypotheses posed through some theoretical framework, not just hunches. 

This class meets once a week for 3 hours. The first half of the class will cover the readings and theory of experimental issues; the second half of the class will be more like a “lab” where we work on designing your own experiment. 

Note: Out-of-department students will need to seek approval for the course from the School of Journalism, but registration assistance will be a priority.

J 395: Quantitative Research Parcticum (Journalism)

The objective of the class is for students to become acquaintance with basic theoretical and practical statistical concepts in communication research. After the completion of the class, students should be able to plan and construct most commonly needed quantitative analyses in our field. The content of the class will generically cover fundamental mathematical processes for all statistical tests. However, more emphasis will be placed on the general understanding of all necessary concepts to execute quantitative empirical tests with SPSS. From data generation to data manipulation. Students will be proficient interpreting SPSS outputs, creating tables ready to be published in academic journals, and discussing as well as interpreting most common quantitative findings in our field. In sum, the overall goal of the class is to provide students with the necessary conceptual and practical skills to feel comfortable analyzing secondary data. Topic examples include:

  • Introduction to SPSS
  • SPSS data file creation/handling
  • Data Modification and File Management
  • Frequency, distribution and graphics
  • Central tendency and split files
  • Variance, standard deviation and standard scores
  • Correlation
  • Internal reliability
  • Factor Analysis
  • Mean examination and population inference
  • Hypotheses testing
  • T-Test
  • Nonparametric test
  • ANOVA
  • Association versus causality
  • Partial correlation
  • Linear regression

  • Logistic regression 

S W 395K: Advanced Qualitative Analysis (Social Work)

Individual study in selected aspects of professional theory and practice. Some sections are offered on a credit/no credit basis only.

*Students should have taken S W 388R - RESEARCH METHODS III or a similar course prior to enrolling in this course.

Prerequisite: Graduate standing and consent of instructor or the graduate adviser. 

GRG 396T: Intro to GIS for Public Affairs/ P A 388K: Intro Geographic Info Systems

Typical topics include issues in political values and ethics and in natural resources, transportation, health, environmental, international, regulatory, urban, and labor and human resources policy. Public Affairs 387K and 388K may not both be counted unless the topics vary.

*Course number may be repeated for credit when the topics vary.

Prerequisite: Graduate standing. Additional prerequisites vary with the topic.

Courses Usually Offered in the Spring:

J 395: Advanced Social Science Research Methods (Journalism)

Advanced Social Science Methods, which takes students through the final steps of the research phase and introduces students to the post-research phase, is a hands-on seminar designed to develop proficiency in using SPSS, analyzing data, selecting statistics, interpreting statistically significant results, and writing research-based convention papers and journal articles. Through a combination of readings, hands-on computer data analysis assignments, class demonstrations and presentations, and research paper writing, editing, and reviewing assignments, students will be able to:

  1. integrate research, theory, and data analysis.
  2. use SPSS to analyze data with proficiency.
  3. conduct bivariate and multivariate analyses.
  4. understand the theory and execute the analytical steps for intervening and antecedent variables.
  5. write, revise, and submit a scholarly convention paper.
  6. critique a scholarly convention paper using the blind peer review process
  7. prepare a research poster presentation and present the results.
  8. develop a plan for getting the convention paper published in an academic journal.
  9. think like a scholar.

S W 388R 3: Research Methods III (Social Work)

Introduction to qualitative research methodologies, paradigms, epistemologies, and theories. Qualitative methods of inquiry, including research designs, specific data collection methods, and analytic and interpretive procedures. Discussion of several approaches to qualitative data collection and analysis. Required of all doctoral students in social work. Prerequisite: Graduate standing in social work and/or consent of instructor and the graduate advisor.

RTF 380G: Ethnography & Qualitative Interviews (Radio-TV-Film)

This course will introduce students to the use of ethnographic, qualitative interview, and survey research approaches to media studies, in both theory and practice. We will cover examples of media ethnographies and other qualitative studies by both anthropologists and media scholars. We will look at how ethnographic methods and thinking have developed, as well as other approaches to qualitative interviewing. We will also exam how surveys have been used to understand audiences and new media users. We will cover some theoretical material to enable students to understand some issues about media use, the digital divide and migration to prepare for class exercises with interview fieldwork and surveys in East and South Austin.

In the course, students will learn how to observe, write fields notes on, and analyze media and new media use both face to face and online. Students will learn how to conduct family history interviews and do interviews with three generations of several families to see how their use of media and cultural resources has changed over time. They will also work with recently collected.

PA 397C: Advanced Empirical Methods for Policy Analysis (Public Affairs)

This course focuses on methods that allow “learning” from such datasets to uncover underlying relationships and patterns in the data, with a focus on predictive performance of various models that can be built to represent the underlying function generating the data. The course starts with a review of basic statistical concepts and linear regression. But the course will focus mostly on classification and clustering based on non-regression techniques such as tree-based approaches, support vector machines, and unsupervised learning. In the problem sets and tutorials we will examine applications in: healthcare; energy; transportation; online markets; and patent systems. This course is intended for first and second year Masters students and Ph.D. students.

Topics to be covered: Linear Regression, Classification, Resampling Methods, Linear Model Selection and Regularization, Tree-Based Methods, Support Vector Machines, Unsupervised Learning.

Courses Usually Offered in the Fall:

GOV 391J: Statistical Analysis in Political Science I (Government)

This course will cover the basics of probability and statistical inference, including estimation, hypothesis testing, linear regression and other applied methods. This is the first course in the PhD-level Government Department statistical methods sequence.

GOV 385L: Advanced Statistical Analysis (Government)

In this course we will study some advanced statistical analyses, including models with categorical or limited dependent variable, event count models, event history models, and other models depending on your interests. Most of these models rely on the maximum likelihood method of estimation, and hence we will first discuss probability distributions and statistical estimation theory, with an emphasis on the MLE. We will use STATA for statistical analysis and MATHEMATICA for mathematical analysis.

Prerequistes: Statistical Analysis in Political Science II or its equivalent

J 380: Intro to Research Methods (Journalism)

Social science research allow scholars to make sense of the social world, to discover why people think and act like they do and how important institutions act. The main purpose of this class is to provide you with a broad introduction to the methodological foundations and tools to study mass communications.  But a secondary purpose is to convince you that the process of scientific discovery can be fun. Most of the semester will focus on the fundamentals of quantitative social science and applied research, although we will also explore qualitative research.  You will learn how to identify problems to study, develop hypotheses and research questions, specify independent and dependent variables, check for the validity and reliability of studies and design research projects.  You will be exposed to the broad range of designs used in communication research from laboratory and field experiments, surveys, content analysis, focus groups and in-depth interviewing.  Specifically, at the end of this course, you should be able to: 

  1.  Define research; explain and apply research terms; describe the research process and the principle activities, skills and ethics associated with the research process.
  2. Explain the relationship between theory and research.
  3. Describe and compare the major quantitative and qualitative research methods in mass communication research.
  4. Propose a research study and justify the theory as well as the methodological decisions, including sampling and measurement.
  5. Understand the importance of research ethics and integrate research ethics into the research process.
  6. Be able to assess and critique a published journal article that uses one of the primary research methods in the field.
  7. Be able to construct an effective questionnaire that employs several types of survey questions.

J 381.4: Qualitative Methods (Journalism)

In order to comprehend and appreciate something as complex as social behavior, a researcher is well served by being versed in a variety of methodological approaches. Qualitative research offers a wide range of practices that may help us to make sense of our world, and more specifically, the world of journalism, communication practices, and meaning making.

By the end of the semester you should be able to:

  • Describe common qualitative approaches applicable to the study of journalism and mass communication.
  • Explain the epistemology, ethics, theory, and practice of qualitative research.
  • Carry out various qualitative methodological approaches, such as in-depth interviews and textual analysis.
  • Present a well-argued justification for the validity of qualitative methods.
  • Develop research questions that necessitate qualitative methods.
  • Explain the appropriate uses of qualitative methods.

J 395: Theory Building (Journalism)

Theory Building is a three-credit graduate-level course that teaches students how to construct social science theories. Models of the theory building process will be analyzed by tracing the development of popular contemporary communication theories. Using theory building techniques and following specific theory building steps, students will attempt to advance their own theory of communication or some aspect of communication. Students in all social science disciplines are encouraged to take this unique hands-on course. 

Learning Objectives. Students will learn how to:

(1) Envision and define fully a theoretical concept;

(2) Compose an intriguing theoretical statement relating two or more concepts;

(3) Propose theoretical linkages (rationales) for a theoretical statement;

(4) Devise an appropriate measurement of each key concept in a theory;

(5) Construct and use a theoretical model;

(6) Apply creativity exercises to theory building tasks, and

(7) Evaluate new and existing theories. 

PA 388L: Advanced Topics in Management (Public Affairs)

Students desiring additional exposure to public management issues may select from seminars on such topics as managing diversity, principles and practices of effective leadership, and social entrepreneurship. As this is a graduate level course, it is expected that a person who enrolls either will have completed an undergraduate degree or will have practical experience, which is equivalent to an undergraduate degree.  Topics may vary each semester that the course is offered.

PA 397C: Evaluation Methods for Global Development (Public Affairs)

This seminar overviews the various methods used in both poverty assessment, program design and program evaluation in international development and humanitarian assistance work. We will emphasize training in qualitative methods such as Participatory Assessment, Environmental and Social Assessment, Beneficiary Assessment and Stakeholder Analysis, and Experimental Design and Evaluation. We will also study data collection methods such as interviews, focus groups, surveys, and sampling techniques.  While this course will primarily focus on qualitative methods, it will strongly emphasize wide exposure to the means by which we collect, analyze and use data in international development work, and the ethical and analytical concerns that arise therein. We will also closely examine the results-based monitoring and evaluation policies and practices of key international organizations and non-profit/ non-governmental organizations that work in international development and humanitarian assistance. We will study how to evaluate both sector-wide/strategy approaches, such as food security and post-conflict aid, as well as program/project-level evaluations in areas such as education and health. We will end with an examination of the feedback mechanisms and learning culture of agencies, and how evaluation is used (or not) within aid and humanitarian organizations. Assignments will focus on the critical assessment and application of evaluation tools, meta-evaluation strategies, and the design of an approach paper for a program or project evaluation.

RTF 380: Theory & Practice of Comm Research (Radio-TV-Film)

This is an advanced graduate course that examines epistemological, theoretical and applied issues in communication research. The course aims to fulfill three principal objectives. First, to introduce students to the main epistemological and methodological debates that have shaped communication research with particular emphasis on an examination of positivist and post-positivist methodologies. Second, to develop an in-depth understanding of the theoretical and conceptual building blocks of communication research methodology including issues of design, selection, observation and inference. Third, to develop a grasp of quantitative and qualitative communication research methods, their techniques, assumptions, strengths and weaknesses and applications. These three objectives will be achieved through multiple means. At the core of the course is a set of methodological readings available in a required course packet. These will be supplemented by empirical readings that will provide students with an opportunity to review, criticize and analyze published readings. The readings and class discussions will be synthesized through a number of in-class and take-home assignments. The final assignment of the course will be the development and analysis of a research proposal with the focus on the methodological issues involved.

R S 383M: Theory & Method in the Study of Religion (Religious Studies)

This seminar introduces graduate students to the field by considering the history of theories and methods in the study of religion. We concentrate on three fundamental questions: 1) How have scholars defined “religion”?; 2) How have they studied it?; and 3) How have they narrated the field’s history? Focusing on the period between the 1870s and the 1970s, especially the decades before and after the turn of the twentieth century, we read “classic” texts and consider multiple approaches—anthropological, psychological, historical, phenomenological, geographical, and sociological. We also identify some lineages in the study of religion that have been obscured in most of the histories.  Considering more recent trajectories and issues in the study of religion since the 1970s, we end by looking at a few works on gender studies, cognitive science, spatial analysis, poststructuralism, and postcolonial theory. Along the way, we will read a wide range of interpreters, including works by David Hume, Herbert of Cherbury, Hannah Adams, Friedrich Schleiermacher, Ludwig Feuerbach, Karl Marx, F. Max Müller, Morris Jastrow, E. B. Tylor, James Frazer, William James, Sigmund Freud, Emil Durkheim, Max Weber, Rudolph Otto, G. Van der Leeuw, Mircea Eliade, Jonathan Z. Smith, Victor Turner, Clifford Geertz, Talal Asad, Timothy Fitzgerald, Russell McCutcheon, Ursula King, Karen McCarthy Brown, Harvey Whitehouse, Edward Said, David Chidester, and Richard King.

R S 384D: Doctoral Seminar In Religious Studies (Religious Studies)

This advanced seminar is designed for third year graduate students in Religious Studies and related fields. The course aims to support the transition from coursework to doctoral exams and the dissertation proposal.  The seminar will begin with a survey of critical terms and theories important for the study of religion, and their relationship to critical terms for the study of literature. The second half of the semester will focus the relation between theory and method on one hand, and concrete textual and historical evidence, on the other, with readings selected by students in the course.

SDS 380C: Statistical Methods I (Statistics)

An introduction to the fundamental concepts and methods of statistics / quantitative methods. The course will cover topics ranging from descriptive statistics, sampling distributions, confidence intervals, and hypothesis testing. Topics could include simple and multiple linear regression, Analysis of Variance, and Categorical Analysis. Use of statistical software is emphasized. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.