Jamie BaxterWestern Social Science

Syllabus Geog 9108

Meeting Schedule (2018)

Mondays 1:00 - 4:00  SSC 2322E

W Date Topic  Reading Student Seminar Facilitator/Leaders
1 Jan.8 Organizational Class Meeting please fill out this survey students will select a presentation session
2 Jan. 15 Paradigms P1 Opener
Ch1, Ch2
3 Jan. 22 Feminist Approaches/Standpoint Methodology Ch 3, readings Drew
4 Jan 29 Mixed Methods  Ch4, Ch5 Chloe
5 Feb. 5 In-Depth Interviewing Ch9, readings Haitao
6 Feb. 12 Participatory Action Research  readings Angela
8 Feb. 26 Ethnography and Grounded Theory  Ch20, Ch23, Prus 1997 Parveen
9 Mar. 5 Discourse and Text Analysis P3 Opener,
Ch15, reading
10 Mar. 12 Qualitative Rigour and the Role for "Counting" readings

11 Mar. 19 JAMIE AWAY
12 Mar. 26 Interpretation, Coding and Computer-Assisted Data Analysis Ch25, reading Jamie Away, Nvivo webinar demo
14 Apr. 9 Ethics  Ch24, readings Elana
No meetings February 19, March 19, and April 2 2018.

Course Description

This course introduces students to epistemological issues that distinguish qualitative methodologies and provides an overview of key qualitative research methods, tensions and debates in the social sciences. We will consider ethical issues, data analysis and the meaning of qualitative "rigour".  This is a survey course, in the senese that we spend only one week on any given topic, leaving students to independently explore issues of interest to them personally, through the final paper.

May I Take This Course? Cap is 10 Students

Due to an arrangement between Geography and Sociology - students from those departments are allowed to sign up first (until about mid Dec.) then the course opens up further to those from other departments. If you are a Geographer or Sociologist, please sign up as soon as possible so I know the course enrolment. If you are interested in the course and are outside of these two departments contact me and ask me to put you on the waiting list. Check the news section for updates on this topic.


Classes are led by student facilitators each week and are based on the assigned readings. The group of facilitators can organize the class discussion any way they like which might include: a formal summary of the readings, a Powerpoint or similar presentation, a handout, an excercise, questions to stimulate discussion, and perhaps other things that are beyond my imagination that nevertheless, add to the learning experience of the group.


Lecture: Mondays, 3 hours, 1:00 - 4:00 SSC 2322E (Pleva Room)


Paper - 45%

Seminar Presenation - 30%

Participation/Weekly Assignments - 25%

For a full description of assignments and exams please click here.


Text: Nagy Hesse-Biber, S. and Leavy, P. 2004. Approaches to Qualitative Research: A reader on Theory and Practice. Oxford University Press. (available through online sellers)

Additional readings: Some sessions will include additional readings (see schedule). Most of these readings are available through journals to which UWO has free on-line subscriptions, but we will have space in the Resources section of Owl to share these readings too.

Substitute readings?: If you have a reading you would like to substitute into your session, please contact me to discuss at least a week ahead of your session. In terms of the amount of reading each week, I think we would prefer in most instances to replace an existing reading, rather than add more?

University Policies

Accommodation for Illness, Family Death etc.

For UWO Policy on Accommodation for Medical Illness and a downloadable SMC see:


Downloadable Student Medical Certificate (SMC): http://www.uwo.ca/univsec/pdf/academic_policies/appeals/medicalform_15JUN.pdf

Students seeking academic accommodation on medical grounds for any missed graded course components must apply to the Academic Counselling office of their home Faculty and provide documentation. Academic accommodation cannot be granted by the instructor or department.

And now some messages from our lawyers...

Mental Illness

If you or someone you know is experiencing distress, there are several resources here at Western to assist you. Please visit http://www.uwo.ca/uwocom/mentalhealth/ for more information on these resources and on mental health.


The Department of Geography has a zero tolerance policy towards plagiarism. If a student commits plagiarism, the instructor will assign a grade of zero to the assignment. A second instance of plagiarism is regarded as a scholastic offense and will be dealt with according to The University of Western Ontario policy for Scholastic offenses - more on our policy on plagiarism via this link. The most common offense is failing to cite properly - if you quote directly, cite the author! You do not get the benefit of the doubt (you are not presumed innocent until proven guilty) when such offenses are committed. That is, the burden of proof is reversed. Can you prove "it was an accident" (this is a rhetorical question)?

The following is an excerpt from the university secretariat: Scholastic offences are taken seriously and students are directed to read the appropriate policy, specifically, the definition of what constitutes a Scholastic Offence, at the following Web site: http://www.uwo.ca/univsec/pdf/academic_policies/appeals/scholastic_discipline_undergrad.pdf

Not citing the work of others is generally the main violation - ignorance is no excuse! See next...


Unfortunately turnitin has "caught" several offenders in my classes, please do not be the next one - it is awkward for everyone involved. If you do original work and write and cite properly you have nothing to worry about. The university has provided this mandatory wording: "All required papers may be subject to submission for textual similarity review to the commercial plagiarism detection software under license to the University for the detection of plagiarism. All papers submitted will be included as source documents in the reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of papers subsequently submitted to the system. Use of the service is subject to the licensing agreement, currently between The University of Western Ontario and Turnitin.com"