This module examines how qualitative approaches can be used in planning practice and research. Qualitative methods are particularly useful in answering why and how questions; investigating differing perceptions and values; understanding unique situations; and helping describe complex situations. Focused on learning-by-doing the class will review a range of data collection and analysis methods useful in community and organizational environments. Students will learn about collecting and reviewing artifacts, observing places, asking questions, engaging with diverse groups, and using visual techniques. Such data are frequently organized into specific kinds of outputs including case studies, evaluations, and analytical memos or short assessments. Students will try out these approaches in weekly exercises.
By the end of the class students will be able to:
1. Identify the range of qualitative methods commonly used in planning practice.
2. Have experience actually using a range of data collection and analytical approaches.
3. Comprehend the strengths and limitations of qualitative approaches and how they can be combined with other methods (mixed-method approaches).
4. Understand how qualitative methods can aid more complex and systematic understanding of urban places for urban planning and design practice.