Aditi Mehta, Ph.D. is a scholar and educator of urban studies and planning.

Qualitative Methods For Urban Studies

This course explores theoretical underpinnings and techniques of qualitative research focusing on the urban environment and urban issues. Students choose an urban site of their choice in Toronto to explore throughout the semester using a variety of qualitative methods. The course also addresses the uses, limitations, and ethical issues of qualitative research.

In sum, the structure of the class is based on four elements: (1) reading and classroom discussions about various qualitative methods, (2) study of the research methods used in selected urban studies research literature, (3) student fieldwork exercises that use the various methods to make sense of a student-selected urban environment, and (4) a final case study describing and analyzing this urban environment, drawing upon the variety of qualitative methods we have discussed, including a reflective account of one’s own experiences as an investigator.

Over the course of the semester, students will be able to:

  • Develop research questions and research designs about urban environments
  • Use the tools of qualitative research
  • Understand the limits and ethical issues involved in qualitative research
  • Understand how qualitative research and data collection techniques are useful in urban studies, planning, and policy-making.