Welcome to #QRM2020! Qualitative research methods, including ethnography, provide essential tools for applied, client-based research. Today’s public institutions and community organizations operate in complex societies and serve an increasingly diverse set of constituents and stakeholders. Anthropological research provides tools for understanding diverse perceptions, practices, and social problems in cultural and historical context.

The centerpiece of this course is an actual group research project here in western Mass: students will act as a team to design a research project, conduct field research with a partner organization, organize and analyze data, and present research findings in two ways--1) a team poster or multimedia presentation that presents findings and offers recommendations for the partner organization and 2) an individual final research portfolio and written summary. We will read anthropological and other relevant texts related to the specific topical area of the semester’s research project. Students will learn key concepts of anthropological research design, methodological strategies, and think critically about the ethics of applied anthropological research.

In Spring 2020, the client for our class project is UMass Campus Planning. For our class project, students will learn and use ethnographic and participatory visual research methods to assess how UMass students and employees experience campus spaces, especially with respect to open spaces and campus systems for environmental sustainability. At the end of the semester, students will prepare a visual exhibition or multimedia presentation to communicate their research findings and present a research portfolio that documents their research process and includes the final report with recommendations. There will be an IE module for Anthro 394RI students and several extra readings for students taking Anthro 635/SPP 636.