Fall 2023

Qualitative Research Methods for Environmental Studies

Listed in: Environmental Studies, as ENST-274


Li Zhang (Section 01)


This is a seminar on qualitative research methods drawing from and providing examples for interdisciplinary environmental studies. This course introduces students to various qualitative research methods, including discourse analysis and archival research methods (especially digital living archives, including materials from social media), field site and participant observation, individual structured and semi-structured interviews, focus group interviews, oral history, and innovations in ethnographic research methods. Practical exercises will involve taking field notes, recording and transcribing interviews, and coding qualitative material for analysis. We will discuss the relationship between theory and methods, compare and assess the advantages and disadvantages of various methods, and guide students to learn how to determine which particular combination of methods are necessary, useful, and feasible for their proposed research projects. We will also work on the development of research design, the selection of field sites and research subjects, carefully examine ethical principles and requirements, and provide practical training in fieldwork safety. Students will produce a full-length research proposal with detailed presentation of methods.

Not open to first-year students. Limited to 15 students. Fall semester. Assistant Professor Zhang.

How to handle overenrollment: ENST majors first, followed by SOCI majors, undeclared, first and second years, then 5-College students

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: An emphasis on independent research, field work, and writing.

ENST 274 - LEC

Section 01
M 3:00 PM - 4:20 PM CLAR 100
W 3:00 PM - 4:20 PM CLAR 100


Other years: Offered in Fall 2023, Fall 2024