Spring 2014 Syllabus

Urban Studies 984 is a core course in the doctoral curriculum.

The class will provide experience in mastering research techniques and in designing research projects that will be applied in writing the doctoral dissertation and conducting research in one's chosen career. We will start the semester by dissecting exemplary pieces of research to explore how they were done.  Then we will examine a variety of sources and methods for conducting urban research, including identifying and using quantitative data, archival and institutional records; constructing oral history and survey research instruments, and conceptualization of a research design. Students will prepare, execute, write up and present an individual research design paper over the course of the semester. The course will also address the ethical, financial and institutional issues surrounding human subjects’ research.

          R. Singleton and B. Straits, Approaches to Social Research, 5th ed. (NY: Oxford University Press, 2010).

If you are a student with a disability, please feel free to contact me early in the semester for any help or accommodations which you may need. See www.uwm.edu/Dept/SecU/SyllabusLinks.pdf for UWM Academic policies.  No weapons are permitted in any building on the UWM campus.. 

The url for this syllabus is:  http://www.uwm.edu/~margo/984/984syl2014.htm

Discussion Topics, Assignments, and Due Dates





Jan 22

Introductions. Varieties of Urban Research Methods.  Read Approaches, chs. 4-5

Plan for the semester.   First Short AssignmentIdentify a Piece of Research (due 1/29).


Jan 29

Reading for method: Amanda Seligman, Block by Block, Introduction, Ch. 1 and Epilogue; Beryl Satter, Family Properties, Introduction, Ch. 1;  Amanda Seligman, "'But Burn--No': The Rest of the Crowd in Three Civil Disorders in 1960s Chicago," Journal of Urban History, 37 (2011): 230-55; Beryl Satter, "Our Greatest Moments of Glory Have Been Fighting the Institutions We Love the Most": The Rise and Fall of Chicago's Interreligious Council on Urban Affairs, 1958-1969,"  U.S. Catholic Historian, 22 (Spring 2004): 33-44. Find these materials for download here.


Feb 5

Reading"  Approaches, ch. 1.   Second Short Assignment: Ask a Research Question (due 2/12). Elements of a Research Design.


Feb 12

Third Short Assignment: Citations and Footnotes (due 2/19).  Reading, TBA from results of Assignment 1.


Feb 19

Finding Existing Research on a Topic. Examples of Existing Research and Archival Sources.  Quantitative and Qualitative Research.  Archives Visit.   Reading, TBA  from results of Assignment 1' Approaches, ch. 6.


Feb 26

Fourth Short Assignment: Developing a Research Design Proposal Topic (due 3/5).  Reviewing or Replicating Existing Research.  What is known about your proposed research project? Individual Meetings.


Mar 5

Fifth Short Assignment: Developing an  Annotated Bibliography (due 3/12). Looking at Methods Again:  What techniques can you use?  What obstacles do you face?  Laying out a research plan.  


Mar 12

Paper topic proposals returned.  Research Logistics.  What resources do you need to conduct your research?  Acquiring Funding?  Setting Aside Time?  Developing Additional Technical Expertise? Reading:  Approaches, selections from chs. 7-14 depending on student paper topics.


Mar 26

Human Subjects Research and IRB Applications. Reading:  Approaches, ch. 3 and  review UWM IRB website, http://www4.uwm.edu/usa/irb/.  Bibliographies returned. 


Apr 2

Research Logistics continued.  Collecting Data and Undertaking  Analysis.  Reading:  Approaches, chs 15-16 selections. Making sense of what you've found.


Apr 9

Plans for presenting research:  Research paper or article; dissertation; research report; monograph. Reading:  Approaches, ch. 17. Additional Reference Formats.


Apr 16

Short Assignments 6 and 7: Oral  Presentations and Critiques. Guidelines for Presentations and Critiques.  Schedule Requirements for Final Paper


Apr 23

Work on Projects


Apr 30

Short Assignments 6 and 7: Oral Presentations and Critiques


May 7

Short Assignments 6 and 7: Oral Presentations and Critiques

May 14

Turn in Final Paper.