TAS 2.P Research Methods in Cultural Studies

Teacher responsible:

Dr. Garry Robson, prof. UJ

Brief course description:

This course in qualitative research methodology is intended to introduce the main approaches and extend students' awareness of the possibilities of cultural studies through an examination of a wide variety approaches to the analysis of socio-cultural phenomena. Students will be encourgaed to evaluate the appropriateness and efficacy of different methods to cultural topics in which they have existing or emerging interests. As far as possible, the course will involve and encourage participation in identifying the links between theory and the conduct of research.


The course aims to help students appreciate the importance of qualitative research methods in the study of culture and social relations and to understand the connections between theory and practice. It is envisaged that participation in the course will enable students to begin to develop the skills and knowledge necessary for both the conduct of research and the analysis of qualitative data.


1.Basic Research Strategies, the Literature Search
2.Conceptualization and Measurement
3.Experiments and Experimental Thinking
4.Text Analysis (Interpretive Analysis, Discourse Analysis, Grounded Theory, Content Analysis)
5.Writing a Thesis  (Good Research Questions and Research Design, Data Using (Variety of Methods), Qualitative and Quantitative,  Data Using Computer-Based Skills, Critical Evaluation of the Research)
6.Interviews, Oral History, Biographical Research
7.Ethnography and Participant Observation
8.Focus Groups
9.Grounded Theory
10.Feminist and Foucaultian Approaches
12.Conversation Analysis and Discourse Analysis
13.Action Research and Ethical Issues
14.The Internet as Research Context
15.Visual Methods
16.ntellectual Property and Related Issues of Copyright (Theoretical and Practical Problems which an Intellectual Property Regime Examined through a Number of Case-Studies)
17.Intellectual Property on the Internet (- Innovation, Monopoly and the Software Industry, and Database Rights, Sampling and "Culture-Jamming.")
18.Web-Based Instruction How to use Others' Published and Unpublished Materials.
19.Online Access to Style Guides Including APA Style Guide, MLA Style Guide, Turabian Citation Guide, and Others

Reading list:

Bryant, A., and Charmaz, C., Grounded Theory Research: Methods and Practice, Sage, 2007
Butler, T. and Robson, G., London Calling: The Middle Classes and the Remaking of Inner London, Berg, 2003
Darlington, Y. and Scott, D., Qualitative Research in Practice: Stories from the Field, Allen & Unwin, 2002
Geertz, C., The Interpretation of Cultures, Basic Books, 1973
Goffman, I., The Presentation of the Self in Everyday Life, Penguin, 1969
Gomm, R., Social Research Methodology: A Critical Introduction, Palgrave Macmillan, 2004
Heywood, I. and Sandywell, B., Interpreting Visual Culture: Explorations in the Hermeneutics of the Visual, Routledge, 1999
Hilbert, R.A., The Classical Roots of Ethnomethodology: Durkheim, Weber, and Garfinkel, University of North Carolina Press, 1992
Hume, L. and Mulcock, J., Anthropologists in the Field: Cases in Participant Observation, Columbia University Press, 2004
Knowles, C. and Sweetman, P., Picturing the Social Landscape: Visual Methods in the Sociological Imagination, Routledge, 2004
Lee, A. and Poynton, C., Culture and Text: Discourse and Methodology in Social Research and Cultural Studies, Allen and Unwin, 2000
Morgan, D.L., ‘Focus Groups', Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 22, 1996
Murray, R., How to Write a Thesis, Open University Press, 2002
Poggenpoel, M. and Myburgh, C., ‘Obstacles in Qualitative Research: Possible Solutions', Education, Vol. 126, 2005
Robson, G., No One Likes Us, We Don't Care: Myth and Reality in Millwall Fandom, Berg, 2000
Schlenker, J.A., Caron, S.L. and Haltemann, W.A., ‘A Feminist Analysis of Seventeen Magazine: Content Analysis from 1945 to 1995', Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, Vol.38, 1998
Seale, C., Gobo, G., Gubrium, J.F. and Dilverman, D., Qualitative Research Practice, Sage, 2006
Wieder, L.D., ‘Ethnomethodology, Conversation Analysis, Microanalysis, and the Ethnography of Speaking: Resonances and Basic Issues', Research on Language and Social Interaction, Vol. 32, 1999
Yow, V., Key Themes in Qualitative Research: Continuities and Change', The Oral History Review, Vol. 31, 2006