Course Description

Introduction to the theory and application of ethnographic and qualitative methods in educational settings with special emphasis on applications for educational linguistics, educational anthropology, and research related to language arts instruction. Surveys the basic rationale for qualitative/ethnographic inquiry and basic concepts and methods for applications in teacher-as-researcher approaches and for action research. Same course as LING 595. Letter grade only (A-F).

This course was completed in Spring 2007.


Article Critique

The assignment was to take an article and critique the qualitative research study and results. The goal of this assignment was two fold. First, I needed to read the article and critique it for its qualitative research study methods and results. Having just learned the meaning and study methods of a qualitative research study, this was challenging. Second, the assignment was teaching the class how to look at scholarly literature and evaluate it for potential use in a project. This assignment was preparation for the next and more challenging assignment, the research proposal.

The article critique aligns with learning objectives for introduction to qualitative research methods to students.

Research Proposal

This assignment was to develop a qualitative research proposal complete with a literature review, study parameters, and results. The assignment was meant to mimic a masters research thesis or project though that it had many of the major sections one would expect to find in such a paper, however it relied soly on qualitative research methods.

This project was my first introduction to doing such a project. I found the academic research and writing difficult at first, but once I narrowed down my topic and found a few reliable references, it became a bit easier.

This assignment aligns with the learning objectives for qualitative inquiry, basic concepts and methods for applications in teacher-as-researcher approaches, and for action research.


The reason I chose to take qualitative research methods instead of quantitative research methods is due to how it applied to my work environment in higher education. As a college webmaster, I found that I frequently observed faculty and staff in my college and how they interacted with technology. This lead to many discoveries about technology use and how I could improve it at the college.

The artifacts I selected reflect my journey through the class. The article critique was one of the first literature review style pieces where I was doing more than just looking for information that backed my writing. In this piece, I read and reflected on what I though the author got out of the study and determined the validity of the study based on the information provided in the article. This is a critical skill needed for a student who may be preparing for a masters thesis or project. The second artifact is my original draft for a possible research proposal. This project took up the majority of the semester, went through five drafts, peer review, and finally a presentation. What this project taught me was that while I knew a lot about technology, I was just learning about how to back that knowledge up with an academic literature review and study.

Overall, I thought the class was very informative. Having taken statistics before, I felt the class was a better choice for me as I had had very little experience with formal qualitative research methods.