Spring 2018 - 61002 - PA 397C – Advanced Empirical Methods for Policy Analysis
Qualitative Research Methods for Development
In addition to the core Introduction to Empirical Methods course, students are required to take a second three-hour course in empirical research methods selected from among a set of courses focusing on the application of quantitative or qualitative theory and techniques to policy analysis. Topics offered vary from year to year but include econometrics, demographic techniques, systems analysis, simulation modeling, qualitative methods, and much more. As the second course in the two-course research methods sequence, this course is intended to provide students with an in-depth understanding and hands-on experience with specific methods useful in policy analysis. This course is usually taken during the second semester of the first year.
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 is also appropriate for MPAff students interested in gaining qualitative research skills. Such students can work with the instructor to develop an appropriate research topic that fits the aims of the class.
Students will develop an individual policy research topic of interest in a country or region 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. In addition, students will complete a series of short assignments emulating field experiences typical of a qualitative researcher.
Assignments include: a series of memos developing research topic and approach, research design development, a series of activities to build fieldwork capacities, preparation of a mock protocol for an interview or focus group, two in-class presentations (article analysis and presentation of research proposal), and a final research proposal.