Jamie Baxter   Jamie Baxter
Associate Professor - UWO Geography

Geography 9108 - Qualitative Methods in Social Geography

Paper (45%)
Seminar (30%)
Weekly (25%)
Critical Appraisal
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Evaluative Components ( )
Qualitative Methods in Social Geography


Due:    Handed in to the instructor. For the most part, there will be no exceptions to this. Poor time management does not warrant a late submission.

Worth: 45%

Description: Please chose ONE of the following options for your final paper to write a 15 page max. (double spaced, reasonable margins) paper.  In keeping with a key theme of the course, think/write critically on the topic.

  1. Design and conduct a preliminary study involving interivews.  (CORE is required prior to fieldwork - takes about 3 hrs - please send me your certificate)
  2. Design and conduct a preliminary study involving photovoice or photo-elicitation.  (CORE is required prior to fieldwork - takes about 3 hrs - pleasesend me your certificate).
  3. Conduct a discourse analysis of a topic via written documents - e.g., a policy document(s); newspaper and magazine articles - and highlight the strenghts and limitations of this method.  Two good on-line databases for newspaper and magazine articles are Canadian Newsstand and Factiva.   You will need to carefully scope a media analysis - approximately 20 articles should be your guideline - but actually scope the selection of articles by time period.
  4. Write a research paper on any aspect of qualitative research that interests you and is relevant to the course.  Where appropriate, highlight the strengths and limitations of the method/methodology/analytical procedure.

Write in a formal style, cite appropriately, and include a title page at the begining and reference list at the end.

We probably don't need to remind you that plagiarism is a serious scholastic offence (cite appropriately!).


Worth: 30%
Schedule: see lecture schedule

DescriptionAt the beginning of term (in the introductory class) , students will be assigned (sign up for) a class session to lead.  Each class is based on the week’s readings. These students will make critically informed presentations to the class about the weekly readings and will use whatever strategies the like to stimulate discussion within the group. Students are expected to organize as a group (if more than one student is involved) and should prepare to lead the entire class session - keeping in mind that group discusison should be a focus. The key themes of the readings should be summarized, critically evaluated, and presented clearly and concisely.  You wll be assessed on any formal presentation materials provided (e.g., powerpoint, handouts) as well as contributions to the discussion.  I am happy to post handouts on this website if you provide them to me well ahead of class time.

Summary/Synthesis of the readings ~ 45%

    Are the students able to identify the key themes of the chapters?
    How well do the students understand the argument?

Critical Thinking/Assessment ~ 40%

     Do the students demonstrate critical thinking in their presentations?
     Are the students able to identify the assumptions behind the authors's arguments?

Presentation/Facilitation Style ~ 15%

    Is the presentation/facilitation clear?
    Is the presentation/faciltation well organized?

Participation and weekly written critical summaries

Worth: 25%
Due: each week by 10am on the Wed prior to class
Submit: via Sakia (go to the "Resources" section and upload to the appropriate folder - I will place the commented file here too) or if you want to keep your reflection and commments private, email to Jamie.

Description: Students are expected to contribute to discussion in every class. Participation will be evaluated on the basis of the frequency of your participation, the extent to which you demonstrate an understanding of the material, the quality of critical commentary, and the quality of the questions that you ask of the group. In order to prepare for class participation, students are required to hand in a 500 word (maximum) critical summary of the material they read for the class.  This will include three questions that will be prepared to pose in class to stimulate discussion or clarify key points.  The emphasis should be on critical commentary rather than simply retelling of the main points.

NEW 2014 Limited Edition Assignment - Inside the "culture" of Tim's!
As promised, here is a more formal statement of the assignment in lieu of a critical appraisal of the readings for March 20, 2014 (Rigour and Counting).  THIS INSTEAD OF THE WEEKLY CRITICAL SUMMARY

Write an ethnography OR a grounded theory (500 words max) about the culture of Tim Hortons.  It can be anything about this "cuture" from the lines, behind the counter, in front of the counter, to the Roll Up the Rim phenomenon. This will help us explore several issues including: doing ethnography as an insider (some of you may yet be "outsiders" to this strange culture), bracketting, reflexivity, disciplined subjectivity, what counts as (good) theory, and rigour.  I encourage you to (re)read an empirical ethnography or grounded theory study as a guide - I uploaded a journal-length ethnography by Schouten Mcalexander just now - in the Readings folder on Owl.  This mini assignment is mandatory and counts at least as much as a weekly critical summary. 


  Copyright: This material is for students registered in this class. Others, particularly instructors, please do not use without permission.