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qualitative methods and race/ethnicity sub area


smelltheroses
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Hi all,

I am a prospective student applying to ph.d. programs for fall 2010. Do you have any insight into which programs are stronger in or value qualitative methodology? I know that many programs require students to become competent in both quantitative and qualitative methodologies, but I don't have a traditional sociology background and am not as familiar with the nuances of the different programs.

Also, which schools are you familiar with that put a strong emphasis on or have strong faculty doing research in sociology of race and ethnicity?

Many thanks for your time and input!

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Hi all,

I am a prospective student applying to ph.d. programs for fall 2010. Do you have any insight into which programs are stronger in or value qualitative methodology? I know that many programs require students to become competent in both quantitative and qualitative methodologies, but I don't have a traditional sociology background and am not as familiar with the nuances of the different programs.

Also, which schools are you familiar with that put a strong emphasis on or have strong faculty doing research in sociology of race and ethnicity?

Many thanks for your time and input!

Hi there. Coming from a background of Ethnic Studies as an undergrad, I too was very concerned about this. From what I can tell, almost all of the top ranked, more established programs are very strong in quantitative research methods. That's not to say, however, that they don't put an emphasis on qualitative research -- they do. It's just that from what I can see, more of the higher ranked programs have older, more statistics based faculty members, whereas more of the mid-to-high tier programs tend take a more progressive approach to sociology. This often times involves faculty who rely more on qualitative or mixed methods research.

I had this dilemma when I had to choose between a higher ranked, more quantitative research based program (Indiana) versus and slightly lesser ranked, more diverse program (Minnesota). What I didn't realize at the time of applying was how much the rank of the programs affects your chances of employment after graduating (a considerable amount, btw). In the end, I went with the program I was more comfortable with. It also didn't hurt that they offered me more money. :D

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Good sociologists will use qualitative methods when they're appropriate. They'll use quantitative methods when appropriate. That's the bottom line. Contrary to what the above poster said, the top ten programs each have people who employ qualitative work. In fact, higher ranked programs often frown upon people who say I prefer qualitative sociology or over quantitative sociology, or vice versa. These dichotomies are outdated, and the best schools know it. Top schools want people who can answer research questions, using whatever method is appropriate. So you better learn some statistics if you want to succeed in sociology.

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Good sociologists will use qualitative methods when they're appropriate. They'll use quantitative methods when appropriate. That's the bottom line. Contrary to what the above poster said, the top ten programs each have people who employ qualitative work. In fact, higher ranked programs often frown upon people who say I prefer qualitative sociology or over quantitative sociology, or vice versa. These dichotomies are outdated, and the best schools know it. Top schools want people who can answer research questions, using whatever method is appropriate. So you better learn some statistics if you want to succeed in sociology.

Bingo! It's very important to be proficient in both, but the questions you're trying to answer should ultimately determine which methods you choose. When I was asked at school visits, "are you a 'qualitative' person or a 'quantitative' person?" I answered, "I'm more drawn to quantitative methods but I want to do both because my last quantitative project didn't fully answer my research questions"... The response was extremely positive. They want to see that you understand that distinction. Naturally, some programs have more experience emphasizing one over the other, but if they don't expect you do to become proficient in both, regardless of your previous academic background, that's not the kind of program that will prepare you to be a good sociologist.

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