Qualitative research seeks to understand how people perceive and interact with the world around them. Qualitative researchers are thus driven to understand particular phenomena based on “discourse, actions and documents, and how and why individuals interpret and ascribe meaning to what they say and do, and to other aspects of the world (including other people) they encounter” (TCPS2; emphasis added). This course introduces students to the nature and scope of qualitative research methods in human geography with respect to data collection and analysis, giving them theoretical and practical foundations to build upon.
Course Description: This 3.0 credit Field School offers an immersive introduction to Indigenous (Mi’kmaq) peoples’ perspectives on environmental and health issues, focusing on the interconnectedness of the health of the land, water, and air and how they are intimately tied to Indigenous health and wellbeing. In developing an understanding of these perspectives, Indigenous peoples’ voices must be central to the process and recognizing that their knowledge (expressed through language) is intimately tied to the land, the best approach to such learning is to engage in community-based learning. As such, this course is largely a traveling Field School in parts of Mi’kma’ki (Nova Scotia) with the remainder of our time spent in independent learning and classrooms. Throughout our travels, we will engage with Indigenous knowledge holders (Elders, elected and hereditary leaders, resource users, health care providers, and so on) concerning a wide range of content issues about the environment and health. Key Canadian legal cases affecting land use, resource access, environmental management, planning, and protection as well as Indigenous worldviews on health and the interplay human health has with environmental stability will also be explored during this course.
Course Description: Through readings, dialogue, and practice, this
course ponders how qualitative, participatory, and Indigenous modes of
inquiry open up possibilities for research by confronting the
socio-politico-historical power relations of knowledge production,
studying the how and why of every-day lived experiences and the
structures that shape/are shaped by them.
While there is no prerequisite, the instructor assumes that graduate students taking this course will already have had an introduction to qualitative research methods during their undergraduate training or applied professional experience and have some degree of theoretical social science literacy in this line of inquiry.
The course is designed to further develop these skills in terms of the nature and scope of qualitative, participatory, and Indigenous in the social and health sciences challenge traditional (conventional, positivist) knowledge production with respect to creative, innovative, and de-colonizing modes of data collection and analyses, giving graduate students a range of theoretical and practical foundations to build on.