Research Methods 2

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Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation CoreSGA2GS4054

Semester and Year Offered: 2nd Semester, 1st Year

Course Coordinator and Team: Kaustav Banerjee

Email of course coordinator: kb[at]aud[dot]ac[dot]in

Pre-requisites: None

Aim: The course is in line with the interdisciplinary vision of the University. It has an interdisciplinary approach with a wide array of methods prevalent in the social sciences thereby equipping students to comprehend different methods employed by scholars who have specialised in a specific discipline. The specific programme, that is, MAGS takes the approach of interdisciplinarity seriously, and for that reason, this is its advanced research methods courses. The research methods utilized in social sciences rely on interpretative understandings of social realities and are generally suited to study social experiences and interactions, but biases do stand in the way of studying globality. Research methods for comprehending the ‘global’ have to take into certain factors like understanding that these are phenomena which are largely invisibilised and hence would require different methods and a different set of ethics. The course will offer a comprehensive understanding of the complex issues involved in studying the ‘global’. The diverse research methods which would be utilized to undertake empirical research for global studies will be discussed in this course. The course will also deal at length with the requisite quantitative research techniques available for measuring global phenomena. Often, such processes are often not captured by quantitative research and hence there will be a comprehensive coverage of qualitative, ethnographic, archival and historical research techniques which can be used or modified from its existing forms to comprehend the ‘global’. More importantly, the course will teach students to deal with intersectionalities. What particular research ethics and sensitivities should be taken into account while researching the ‘global’? This course will expose students to these various aspects and prepare them to undertake field or survey based research.

Course Outcomes:

  1. To equip students with a wide range of methods which will help them in their compulsory summer internship as well as their MA dissertation.
  2. To help students communicate effectively, through speaking and writing, and make them aware about comprehending the nuances related to the interconnectedness of the ‘global’.

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

  1. Challenges of Researching Global Inequalities: The challenge will be to understand how to study global phenomena and invisibilised processes. There is already existing research methods in social sciences, but what are the shortcomings of using such methods. For example the preponderance of “fieldwork” in social sciences does not take into account the disability of students as a major barrier in undertaking research in various spaces. There are other forms of disabilities which conventional techniques are not sensitive about – e.g. what is the role of perceptions in research. These kinds of issues will be discussed so as to help students grasp the challenges of using classical disciplinary methods in comprehending global phenomena. The course introduces students to critically understand fundamental research techniques, their relevance, objective and subjective basis and various related paradigms and theories. The focus will be on the evolving methodologies to understand global dimensions at various sites and the debates between usages of different methodologies.
  2. Ethics & Biases in researching the global: Discriminatory practices continue in society because of long held biases among people. It is important to locate one’s own biases before we do research to examine discrimination and exclusion. The ethics of doing research in understanding global discrimination and exclusion will have to be based on interpretative understanding and empathy. The use of false information in audit or correspondence studies will be discussed in greater detail. The attempt will be to understand the various complexities involved in the undertaking of such research.
  3. P There are broadly three methods which can be employed in studying various aspects of global processes and outcomes. One is the experimental method, like audit studies to uncover biases in perceptions leading to certain discriminatory outcomes. The second is qualitative methods to understand processes of globality. The third is quantitative methods to understand the trends, extent and recurrence of these phenomena. This unit will deal with various audit, quantitative and qualitative techniques that are available. Field based surveys and secondary data analysis will be the focus of this unit. However the focus will also be on various kinds of field survey that takes into account several kinds of disabilities. This unit will equip students with an in-depth understanding of various techniques and methods of collecting data, as well as enable them to choose best set of methods contingent on the particular type of research undertaken. This unit will deal with the relevance and applicability of various types of research. Emerging research methods which use a mix of both approaches especially to deal with intersectionalities will be covered in greater detail. Techniques & Methods that will be covered will include – Research design, Types of Sampling, Ethnography, Participant Observation, Questionnaires & Interviews
  4. Focus Group Interviews, Case Studies & Life Histories, Archival Methods, Statistical Techniques, Questionnaires & Interviews, Coding, Analysis & Interpretations, Correspondence and Audit studies.
  5. Confronting Intersectionalities - Analysis of Policies, Consequences & Outcomes: Intersectionalities often manifests itself as outcomes or consequences. This unit equips students with the tools to analyse consequences, causality and outcomes. For example the Tribals in Central India face a different form of exclusion and discrimination than say Dalits or Muslims. They face a process of exclusion from the development process itself. Muslims may be denied employment opportunities and could be found to be disproportionately in ”illegal” or “informal” activities. Also, the State’s undertake policies for the amelioration of such discrimination and exclusion. The impact and consequences of such policies will be examined and methods of policy analysis will be introduced and discussed in this unit. The various methods of collecting data, despite having their particularities, do not form isolated categories. Many of these techniques intersect and are used in conjunction with one another for undertaking an empirical research. In this unit, focus will be on these overlaps and intersections.

Assessment Details with weights:

  1. Monthly Assessment (3X20% = 60%): Assessments based on different methods covered.
  2. End Semester Project (40%): Term paper based on fieldwork/desk based research of students’ interest

Reading List:

Essential readings:

  • Babble, E R., The Practice of Social Research, Cengage Learning, 2013.
  • Garfinker, H. G., Studies in Ethnomethodology, Prentice Hall, 1967.
  • Stuert Clark (eds.), The Annales School: Critical Assessment, 4 vols., New York, Routledge, 1999.
  • Durkheim, E. The Rules of Sociological Method, The Free Press, 1982 [1895].
  • De Haan, A., “Ways of seeing”, Economic and Political Weekly, 200
  • Fonow, M. (eds.), Beyond Methodology: Feminist Scholarship as Lived Research.
  • Kuhn, T., The Structure of Scientific Revolution, Chicago University Press, 2012.
  • Popper, K., Logic of Scientific Discovery, Routledge, 2002.
  • Weber, M., The Methodology of Social Sciences, The Free Press, 194
  • Burgess, R., Field Research: A Sourcebook and Field Manual, Allen and Unwin London,1982.
  • Foucault, M., Ethics: Subjectivity and Truth, Penguin Pres, 1977.
  • Pager, D., Marked: Race, Crime, and Finding Work in an Era of Mass Incarceration, University of Chicago, 2007.
  • Shrader-Frechette, K., Ethics of Scientific Research, Littlefield, 2000.
  • Deshpande, A. (2011) The Grammar of Caste: Economic Discrimination in Contemporary India, Oxford University Press, New Delhi.
  • Anand, S., and A. K. Sen, Gender inequality in human development: theories and measurement, New York: United Nations Development Programme, 1995.
  • Bertrand, M., R. Hanna, and S. Mullainathan (2003) ‘Are Emily and Greg more employable than Lakisha and Jamal? : A field experiment on labour market discrimination, NBER Working paper 9873.
  • Brewer, J. D., Ethnography, Open University Press, Philadelphia, 2000.
  • Clifford, J., Writing Culture: The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography, University of California Press, 1986.
  • Davies, C. A, Reflexive Ethnography: A Guide to Researching Selves and Others, Routledge, London, 1999.
  • J. Le Goff and P. Nora (eds.) Constructing the past: Essays in Historical Methodology, Cambridge: CUP, 1985.
  • Krueger, A.R Focus Groups: A Practical Guide for Applied Research, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2009
  • Rubin, Herbert J., Qualitative Interviewing: The Art of Hearing Data, Thousand Oaks, 1995.
  • U. Kalpagam, ‘The colonial state and statistical knowledge’, History of the Human Sciences, (2000) 13: 3, 37-55
  • Lutz, H. (eds.), Framing Intersectionality: Debates on a multifaceted concept in gender studies, Ashgate, 2012.
  • Leslie McCall. 2005 “The Complexity of Intersectionality.” Vol 30, No 3 Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society
  • Kimberle Crenshaw.1989. “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics” University of Chicago Legal Forum 1989: 139-167
  • Kimberle Crenshaw. 1991. “Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics and Violence against Women of Color.” Stanford Law review 43 ( 6) : 1241-1299
  • Fernandez, Leela. 1997. Producing Workers: The Politics of Gender, Class and Culture in the Calcutta Jute Mills. Philalelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
  • Menon, Nivedita. 2015. “Is Feminism About ‘Women’?” Vol 50, Issue No 17, Economic and Political Weekly
  • John, Mary E. 2015. “Rejection or critical Dialogue? Intersectionality” Vol 50, Issue No 33, Economic and Political Weekly
  • Anand, S., and A. K. Sen, "Concepts of human development and poverty: a multidimensional perspective" in Readings in human development : concepts, measures and policies for a development paradigm, eds. S. Fukuda-Parr and A. K. Shiva Kumar, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2003,pp. 204-220.
  • Winker, G. and Degeli, N., “Intersectionality as multilevel analysis: dealing with Social Inequality”, European Journal of Women Studies, 18 (1), pp. 51-66.

Supplementary readings:

  • Bernard, Russell, Research Methods in Anthropology: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches, Sage Publication, 1994
  • Banerjee, K, Social Development Index in Social Development Report, Council for Social Development,Oxford University Press, 2010
  • Fields, G. S, Distribution and development: a new look at the developing world, New York, London: Russell Sage Foundation; MIT Press. Chapter 2 "The Meaning and Measurement of Income Inequality", 2001
  • Harding, S G., Feminism and Methodology: Social Science Issues, Indiana University Press, 1987.
  • Hammersley, M. and P. Atkinson (2007), Ethnography: Principles in Practice, Taylor & Francis London,2007
  • Jayaraj,D. and S.Subramanian, `Poverty and Discrimination: Measurement, and Evidence from Rural India’, in Barbara Harriss-White and S.Subramanian (eds.): Illfare in India: Essays on India’s Social Sector in Honour of S.Guhan. Sage Publications, New Delhi, 1999.
  • Lorenz MO, Methods of measuring the concentration of wealth, Publications of the American Statistical Association 9(70):209-219, 1905.
  • Marc Bloch, The Historian’s Craft, Manchester, MUP, 1954.
  • Murchison, J. (2010), Ethnography Essentials: Designing, Conducting, and Presenting Your Research, John Wiley and Sons, Hoboken,2010.
  • Seale Clive, Social Research Methods: A reader, Part-V Critiques of Quantification pp.157-192. Routledge India, 2008
  • Sen, A. K, Inequality reexamined, New York and Oxford: Russell Sage Foundation; Clarendon Press. Chapter 1 "Inequality of what?" 1992.
  • Silber, J, Factor components, population subgroups and the computation of the Gini Index of Inequality, Review of Economics and Statistics 71, 107–115, 1989.
  • Srivastava, Vinay Kumar (Ed.), Methodology and Field Work, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2004
  • Wooldridge, J M., Introductory Econometrics: Modern Approach, South-western Cengage Learning, 2009.
  • Yadav Yogendra, Epilogue: What does fieldwork do in the field of elections?” in A M Shah, The Grassroots of Democracy: Field Studies of Indian Elections, Delhi: Permanent Black, 2007.