CER Summer Workshop in Qualitative Research Methods

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Offered with support from the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues and the Joseph A. Myers Center for Research on Native American Issues

May 21 - June 27, 2024

(In-person May 21 - June 20 in Berkeley, CA; Virtual the last week June 24-27)

Click here for program details and application

Program Overview

The Center for Ethnographic Research (CER) Summer Workshop provides mentorship, hands-on research experience, and advanced training in designing and executing a project using qualitative methods for motivated undergraduates and beginning graduate students.  The CER Summer Workshop will provide students with six weeks of intensive accelerated methodological training in the design and practice of qualitative methods in weekly seminars. The topics in the seminars include the following:

  • The Logic and Practice of Qualitative Research Design
  • Participant Observation
  • In-Depth Interviewing
  • Qualitative Data Analysis

In addition to these group meetings, each participant will meet individually with the instructor and receive feedback on research project development and design.  

During the CER workshop, students develop an empirical research project proposal for an honors thesis, masters thesis, advanced methods class, scholarly article, or conference presentation. In this process, students develop hands-on research and logistical experience and receive structure and guidance in the development of an independent and original project. Students will walk away with a refined 6-page research proposal for an honors thesis, masters thesis, graduate school, or fellowship application. They will also gain first-hand experience in qualitative research data collection and analysis methods through a collective research project conducted during the six weeks of the workshop.

There will be six hours/week of group meetings. In addition, participants are expected to meet weekly with the instructor on their individual projects. Participants should expect to spend about 20 hours per week in seminars, meetings, and completing assignments.

Workshop Fee

The six-week training course costs $1,400. There are two scholarship spots for students from any college or university focusing on contemporary Native American issues.

Are there scholarships available?

There are two scholarship spots for students from any college or university focusing on contemporary Native American issues.  Scholarships will be awarded based on an assessment of the student’s academic record and proposed project.  Scholarships cover $1,300 of the program costs (students will pay $100).  Scholarships do not provide funds for room and board.

What is expected of participants?

Students must attend all seminars and complete all assigned readings and research projects (approximately 15-20 hours each week).  Students must develop or continue developing an empirical research project proposal that uses qualitative methods.  

Can the CER Workshop count for college course credits?

The Center for Ethnographic Research is not a university department that can provide credit for successful completion of the course.  However, some universities will award students credit for participating in the workshop.  Please check with your university and home department.  

Is the workshop appropriate for graduate students?

It is designed for advanced undergraduates and beginning graduate students. People who are not currently enrolled but planning to apply to graduate school are also welcome to apply.

What do students do with their training?

CER workshop participants have been accepted to graduate programs in the social sciences and policy at Harvard, UC Berkeley, University of Wisconsin-Madison, New York University, UCLA, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, and Northwestern University, among other universities. Others have used their training to enter academic and community-based research positions and to work as activists in local and international contexts. 

What can students gain from the CER Workshop?

  • Methodological Training:

Students will obtain advanced knowledge and training in observational and interview research methods.  These skills will assist with undergraduate honors thesis, graduate school research projects, and research jobs outside both in and outside of academia. 

  • Data Analysis Training:

CER also provides extensive training in qualitative research analysis including a workshop on the use of computer assisted qualitative data analysis, which can provide a competitive advantage for research jobs and graduate school. 

  • Graduate School Preparation:

The workshop is run much like a graduate school course and is designed to give students a preview of the graduate school experience.  Additionally, the workshop participants will be able to personally discuss with graduate mentors the graduate school application process including a review of personal statements.  

What do past participants say about the workshop?

"The instructors provided really great feedback to my admissions essay and research topic interests, and I was accepted into all of the 8 masters programs that I applied to! I am so thrilled to begin this next step in my academic journey! I should also add that in addition to my acceptance into the program, I received a fellowship award which will cover my first year tuition and fees, alongside a research training opportunity with faculty members in my department. I am so grateful for this opportunity and I hope to convey how appreciative I am of your encouraging words and your authentic perspective into graduate school and research during the CER workshop."

"The weekly assignments were extremely helpful in two ways: 1) it was good practice for doing my eventual fieldwork; 2) it was especially useful to have class discussion around the exercise outputs -- the second one, which was informed by our colleagues' styles/voices, was a great experiment/learning opportunity."

“The CER workshop gave a community of inquisitive and exceptional undergraduates the opportunity to continue thinking critically about interview and ethnographic methods. I felt lucky to be among those undergraduates. Given that the workshop provided a deeper engagement with qualitative methods in six weeks than other classes offer in an entire semester, I would recommend the program to any undergraduate serious about research in the social sciences.”

“Over the course of the month, I had the opportunity to develop the idea of my research project much more extensively than I would have otherwise been able to.”

“It was great to meet all of the mentors, who I felt were always very open and available for asking questions and seeking any other kind of help. I felt that I was also a good opportunity to meet other senior undergraduates doing a thesis or similar project before the school year started. It motivated me to think through my research more and network as necessary to get prepared.”

“I appreciated the warm atmosphere and the general respect given to the undergraduates. The graduate fellows did not belittle the undergraduates, and instead treated the undergraduates as equals. I was surprised at how professional and encouraging the workshop proved to be.”

“The best part of the workshop, however, was the mentors. Being able to bounce ideas off of someone with lots of research experience and knowledge made generating manageable yet interesting projects a lot easier.”

“I could not imagine a more brilliant, compassionate, and inspirational mentor!  My mentor’s deft understanding of qualitative (and quantitative) methods and mentorship skills were extraordinary. And by extraordinary, I mean that his virtuosic ability to answer difficult questions and address weighty concerns about my honors thesis exceeded expectation. My mentor motivated me to see the merits of my honors thesis while also encouraging me to make my research question and methodological choices more rigorous and reasonable. I have a feeling that I will always be indebted to my mentor for his considerable help this summer.”

“I thought that the lecture on qualitative interviewing was especially helpful, as I had just done a day of interviews for my project. I feel that I have a much better grasp on how to go about collecting qualitative data. I know that the information given will be extremely valuable when I begin conducting my study this year.”

Click here for program details and application

Still have questions? Contact cer@berkeley.edu 510 642-0813