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(Ute på fältet, inne vid skrivbordet) (From field to desk)
A transdisciplinary qualitative method course

Andreas Diedrich, GRI, University of Gothenburg.
2017/2018, 15 ects

This course is intended for doctoral students in social sciences interested in qualitative research methods. It includes two parts: the first nine seminars focus on the experiences of students/researchers beginning their work ("the field"), and the last seven put emphasis on the experiences of those who are in the phase of the analysis and writing up their thesis ("the desk"). The course places heavy emphasis on own work (exercises, homework, pre-readings etc.) and assumes knowledge of indicated literature. It ends with a paper.

The sessions take place mainly in two-week intervals, to give participants time to prepare. However, there may be several exceptions to this rule, necessary to avoid collision with national conferences or holidays.

The course will be given in English or in Swedish (if only Swedish students apply). To facilitate participation for people Gothenburg seminars are given two at a time. The number of participants is limited to 12; therefore a serious commitment is required. For questions and registration, write to Kajsa Lundh: kajsa.lundh@handels.gu.se

The main textbook used is Czarniawska, B. (2014) Social science research from field to desk (London: Sage). The Swedish version is called Ute på fältet, inne vid skrivbordet (Lund: Studentlitteratur). In the syllabus below it is called "Textbook". Students are expected to read the relevant parts of the textbook connected to each session before coming to class.

Course syllabus

Homework 1:
Textbook: Prologue, Chapter 1
Write: Answer the following questions about your own work:
1.What do I want to know?
2.Why do I want to know just this?
3. How will I learn about it?

Homework 2:
Textbook, Chapter 2
Write: An outline of the literature review for your dissertation:
- what kind of positions will be included (theory, methodology, earlier studies, etc.)?
- what structure will it have (e.g. chronological, argumentative, etc.)?

1. 10 October 2017, 13-16
Studying management and organizing in contemporary organizations.

2. 11 October 2017, 9-12
Literature review


Homework 3:
Read: Textbook Chapter 3.
Write: Based on your answers to "3 questions", design a study (in a format of a research application)

Homework 4:
Read: Textbook Chapter 4
Write: An interview transcript (from your fieldwork or from a radio/TV interview)

3. 24 October 2017, 13-16
Grounded theory: Study design

4. 25 October 2017, 9-12
Fieldwork I: Interviews


Homework 5:
Read: Textbook Chapter 5
Write: Direct observation (own fieldmaterial, observation of a meeting or shadowing somebody for 2-3 hours)

Homework 6:
Read: Textbook Chapter 6
Write: A plan for following an object or a quasi-object (an idea, a document, a model) crucial for the practice of interest to you

5. 7 November 2017, 13-16
Fieldwork II: Direct observation & shadowing

6. 8 November 2017, 9-12
Fieldwork III: Following objects and quasi-objects


Homework 7:
Read: Textbook Chapter 7.
"Write": A time-budget (based on your electronic calender) or a photoreportage of your day

Homework 8:
Read: Textbook Chapter 8.
Write: "My worst day in the field"

7. 21 November 2017, 13-16
Fieldworking tools.

8. 22 November 2017, 9-12
Surviving in the field


Homework 9:
Read: Textbook Chapter 9
Write: List the ways in which you could use (or could have used) virtual material in your dissertation.

Homework 10:
Read: Textbook Chapter 10
Write: Describe the kind of field material you have collected (will collect) in your fieldwork and suggest possible ways of analyzing it.

9. 5 December 2017, 13-16

10. 6 December 2017, 9-12
The field on the desk


Homework 11:
Read: Textbook Chapter 11
Write: Find a story in your daily or weekly newspaper (or choose a story you found in one of your interviews) and analyze it in two different ways.

Homework 12:
Read: Textbook Chapter 12.
Write: A review of a book selected from the following list:
Kunda, Gideon: Engineering culture, Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1992/2006 (two editions);
Leidner, Robin, Fast food, fast talk: Service work and the routinization of everyday life. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993;
Orr, Julian, Talking about machines: An ethnography of a modern job. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1996.
Ho, Karen: Liquidated. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2009.

11. 23 January 2018, 13-16
Text analyses

12. 24 January 2018, 9-12
Writing it up


Homework 13:
Textbook Chapter 13
Write: A review of a book selected from the following list:
Hirschman, Albert O., Shifting involvements: Private interest and public action. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1982/2002;
Latour, Bruno, Aramis or the love of technology. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1996;
Mol, Annemarie: The body multiple. Ontology in medical practice. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2002.

Homework 14:
Read: Textbook Chapter 14
Write: Prepare a presentation of a novel or a movie that illustrates the issues of work or organizing. Compare it with a doctoral dissertation of your choice.

13. 6 February 2018, 13-16
How to write well and be believed

14. 7 February 2018, 9-12
When to stop, and what to do next


Homework 15-16:
An essay (about 20 pages) built on extended answers to the "3 questions"

15. 27 February 2018, 13-16
Miniconference: Presentation of essays

16. 28 February 2018, 9-12
Miniconference cont.: Presentation of essays

The written essays will then receive a feedback from the course instructor. The points will be given upon the acceptance of the paper.


Sidansvarig: Henric Karlsson|Sidan uppdaterades: 2017-04-04

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