ENGL488R - Topics in Advanced Writing; Qualitative Research Methods

How do student-activists spread their messages? How does social media factor into student experience? What kinds of writing and performing do UMD students do outside of class? How do students use what they learn in writing classes throughout their time in college and beyond?  How do people use writing in their workplaces and communities?  These are all questions that can be answered using qualitative research methods. Qualitative research can help you understand how and why people behave in particular ways and in particular situations. Beyond the academic context, people use qualitative research methods to better understand others’ perspectives, to come up with solutions to community problems, and even to improve businesses and products. Scholars in English studies, especially writing studies, have increasingly turned to such methods to answer questions about how writing is practiced, learned, and taught in a variety of contexts. In this class, you will learn about theoretical perspectives on qualitative research. Further, you will actually practice the methods through a class research project on UMD students’ academic and non-academic literacies. You will be guided through the research process as you and your classmates craft research questions, conduct field observations, design and distribute surveys, and conduct interviews. Together, we will analyze our data and present our results at the end of the term. By the end of this course, you will have a toolkit of methods for data collection and analysis and a working knowledge of when and how to use those methods effectively and ethically. 

Prerequisite: Two English courses in literature; or permission of ARHU-English department.

Notes: Repeatable to 9 credits if content differs.