Research Methods - 2

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Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation CoreNA4

Semester and Year Offered: Second Semester

Course Coordinator and Team: Partha Saha & Nakkeeran Nanjappan

Email of course coordinator:

Pre-requisites: RM 1

Course Objectives/Description:

This course will help students to develop an in-depth understanding of various tools and techniques of both qualitative and quantitative research methods, data collection, conducting Focused Group Discussions, and both qualitative and quantitative data analysis. They will also be familiarized with working with data in worksheets and qualitative data software. Classroom teaching will be supported by group activities and empirical exercises. In this course, due attention will be given to reflectivity, reflexivity and ethics.

In a nutshell, at the end of this course, students are expected to have confidence in carrying out both qualitative and quantitative research studies including while working on their MA Dissertation.

Course Outcomes:

On successful completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. Use secondary for undertaking various kinds of statistical analysis
  2. Critically analyse various concepts of poverty and inequality
  3. Undertake independent field survey involving data collection, in-depth interview, focussed group discussion
  4. Use reflexivity and reflectivity in qualitative research
  5. Analyse qualitative data using software

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

  1. Introduction to Database: This module will introduce students to some of the important data bases (Census and National Sample Survey in particular), their concepts and definitions.
  2. Tabulation and graphical representation of data: This module will introduce students to some of the basic and fundamental techniques of exploring graphical and tabular representation of data in different contexts.
  3. Measures of Central Tendency: This module will introduce students to some measures of central tendency like mean, median, and mode.
  4. Measures of Dispersion: This module will introduce students to some measures of dispersion like range, standard deviation, coefficient of variation.
  5. Index Numbers: This module will introduce students to construction of different kinds of index numbers.
  6. Measuring Poverty & Inequality: This module will examine the interconnections between different measures in case of both poverty and inequality, review their conceptualizations and methods of estimations.
  7. Preparation of data collection tools: Questionnaires, Interview schedules and interview guides: This module will equip students with different types of data that will get collected, types of variables, kind of analysis that will follow, directed vs. non-directed questioning, sequencing of questions, phrasing the questions, probing, filters/skips, potential kinds of errors in data collection, metadata and code definitions etc as well as familiarity with online platforms for preparation and canvassing interviews.
  8. Data collection methods: In-depth Interview, FGD: In this module, apart from emphasizing procedural aspects of conducting an in-depth interview and FGD, students will learn about reflexive, ethics and sensibilities involved in qualitative research.
  9. Data collection methods: Ethnography: This module will introduce ethnography as a process and product of research. Ethnography as a process involves a long period of intimate and holistic study of a small well defined community and involves prolonged fact-to-face interaction.
  10. Data collection methods involving rapid appraisal techniques: This module will introduce students to important research techniques in ecological, development, and health studies using rapid appraisal techniques.
  11. Rigor and quality in qualitative research; reflectivity and reflexivity; ethics: This module will introduce students to qualitative research techniques like rapport building, empowering and enhancing the scope for participation by participants in various aspects of research, reflexivity, reflectivity and transparency are some such key principles and values.
  12. Analysis of qualitative data; Introduction to qualitative data analysis software: This module will introduce students how to use of softwares for analysis of qualitative data has facilitated some aspects of analysis such as speed of word processing, enhanced memory and retrieval and permanence of coding.

Assessment Details with weights:

  • Assessment 1: Empirical exercise using computer software – 25%
  • Assessment 2: Written Examination – 25%
  • Assessment 3: Term Paper – 30%
  • Assessment 4: Field Report – 20%

Reading List:

  • Statistics in Social Sciences: Current Methodological Developments – S Kolenikov, D Steinley, L Thombs (eds)
  • Elementary Statistics – Neil A Weiss
  • Straightforward Statistics: Understanding the Tools of Research – G Geher and S Hall
  • Feminist Research Practice: A Primer – Sharlene J, Hesse Biber (eds)
  • Development Economics, Debraj Roy, OUP
  • Bell, J., Waters, S., & Ebooks Corporation. (2014). Chapter 8: Designing and Administering Questionnaires .in Doing your research project: A guide for first-time researchers (Sixth ed.). Maidenhead, Berkshire: Open University Press.
  • David L. Morgan: Portland State University, Focus Groups As Qualitative Research
  • Erving Goffman: The presentation of self in everyday life (Selected extracts – Co-presence and Metaphors for social interaction)
  • Atkinson and Hammersley, “Chapter 1: What is ethnography?” and “Chapter 3: Access” in Ethnography: Principles in Practice
  • Comaroff, John and Comaroff, Jean : Ethnography and historical imagination
  • Bernard, Russell H., Research Methods in Anthropology, Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches, Altamira Press, 1995
  • Atkinson and Hammersley, “Chapter 2: Research design: problems, cases and samples” in Ethnography: Principles in Practice
  • Atkinson and Hammersley, “Chapter 8: The process of analysis” in Ethnography: Principles in Practice



  • Spencer, Ritchie and O'Connor “Analysis: Practices, Principles and Processes” in Ritchie and Lewis (ed) Qualitative research practice: A Guide for Social Science Students and Researchers
  • Wiles, Rose, What are qualitative research ethics? Bloomsbury, London, 2013.
  • Network and Centre for Agricultural Marketing Training in Eastern and Southern Africa: “Chapter 8: Rapid Rural Appraisal”, in Marketing Research And Information Systems
  • Spradley JP., Participant Observation
  • Patton, M.Q. Chapter 7: Qualitative Interviewing. In Qualitative research and Evaluation Methods. Third Edition. Sage Publications, Inc. 2002
  • Finch and Lewis, “Focus Groups” in Ritchie and Lewis (ed) Qualitative research practice: A Guide for Social Science Students and Researchers
  • Registrar General of India, Household Schedule,