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Spring 2014 - 63789 - PA397C - Advanced Empirical Methods for Policy Analysis

Qualitative Research Methods for Development: Ethnography, Interviews, & Focus Group Methods

Instructor(s): Morrison, Jenny Knowles
Unique Number: 63789
Day & Time: M 9:00 am -12:00 pm
Room: SRH 3.221/212
Waitlist Information:For LBJ Students: UT Waitlist Information
Course Overview

In addition to the Introduction to Empirical Methods course in the common core, MPAff students are required to take another three-hour course in quantitative analysis, selected from among a set of courses focusing on the application of quantitative theory and techniques to policy analysis. Topics offered vary from year to year but include econometrics, demographic techniques, systems analysis, simulation modeling, and quantitative indicator methods. As the second course in the two-course MPAff quantitative sequence, this course is intended to provide students with an in-depth understanding and hands-on experience with a specific quantitative method useful in policy analysis. This course is usually taken during the second semester of the first year.

Section Description

This subject is designed to build qualitative research capacities for GPS students interested in a career path as a development policy researcher within an international NGO or donor organization.  This subject would also be appropriate for MPAff students interested in gaining qualitative research skills. 

Students will develop an individual policy research topic of interest in a country of the student’s choosing, on an issue appropriate for a qualitative research design.  Students will spend the semester building a research proposal in support of their topic, submitting components and receiving feedback along the way.  Assignments include preparing an initial outline and memo explaining their topic, a literature review draft, a research design outline, protocols for a proposed interview or focus group, an in-class presentation, and a final research proposal.  

Learning Objectives:

  • Students become an educated consumer of qualitative research design
  • Students understand the philosophical underpinnings of qualitative research and are able to identify and explain major qualitative research approaches and
  • Students are able to develop a qualitative research proposal
  • Students are able to navigate feasibility issues related to limited budgets, limited human resources and time to complete qualitative research,
  • Students become well versed in challenges related to operating in complex development research environments, such as managing field teams (locally and remotely), ins and outs of international research consultancy as a career path, etc.