Summer Training in Qualitative Methods at UC Berkeley for Sociology Students

University of California at Berkeley’s Center for Ethnographic Research
Summer Internship Training Program

Offered with support from UC Berkeley s Department of Sociology, Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, and Joseph A. Meyer s Center for Native American Issues


The Center for Ethnographic Research (CER) Internship program 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 Internship will provide students with six weeks of intensive accelerated methodological training in the design and practice of qualitative methods in weekly seminars taught by CER visiting scholars and graduate fellows. 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 ATLAS.ti

In addition to these weekly seminars, each CER intern is assigned a CER mentor.  Mentors provide feedback on research project development and design.  Mentors also offer supplemental information sessions on graduate school and graduate school application preparation.

The CER Internship program expects students to develop and sustain an empirical research project for an honors 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.


When is the CER Internship?
The CER internship will run from July 8th through August 16th 2013.
Meetings will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1-4 pm.

What is expected of CER interns?
Students must attend all seminars (approximately six hours each week) and complete all assigned readings and research projects (approximately 15+ hours each week).  Students must develop or continue an empirical research project that uses qualitative methods.

What does the CER Internship cost?
The six-week training course costs $1,200 per student.

Are there scholarships available for the CER Internship?
There are four scholarship spots available for UC Berkeley students majoring in Sociology.  Scholarships for UC Berkeley Sociology students will be awarded based on an assessment of the student s academic record and proposed project.  Scholarships cover the cost of the program. Scholarships do not provide funds for room and board.

Can the CER Internship 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 internship.  Please check with your university and home department.

What can students gain from the CER Internship?

  •  Methodological Training:

Students will obtain advance 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 using ATLAS.ti, which can provide a competitive advantage for research jobs and graduate school.

  • Graduate School Training:

The internship is run much like a graduate school course and is designed to give students a preview of the graduate school experience.

Additionally, the internship offers a workshop covering each section of the graduate school application process including a review of personal statements.  We will also cover such topics as where to apply to graduate schools, how to decide between schools once you have been accepted, and how to find research funding.

What do students do with their CER training?
CER interns 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. Others have used their training to enter academic and community-based research positions and to work as activists in local and international contexts.

What do Graduates say about the CER Internship training?

  • The CER Internship 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 internship 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 internship proved to be.
  •  The best part of the internship, 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.

When is the CER application due?
The application for the internship is due May 1st.

When will I be notified of my acceptance in the program?
You will be notified about the status of your application by May 15th.

Where can I get more information about CER and the Internship?

Please send your application to as a PDF or document.
In your application please provide the following information:
1.  Name
2.  College or University
3.  Class standing in Fall 2013 (i.e. 3rd year, senior, etc.) 4.  Major 5.  GPA in the Major 6.  Are you available to attend all seminars and meetings?
7. Will you be able to spend 15+ hours/week engaged in research?
8.  Are you currently engaged in an empirical research project as part of an honors thesis, advanced methods class, scholarly article, or conference presentation? If so, please briefly describe the project.
9.  List any previous research experiences.
10.  Why do you feel you would be a good candidate for this program?
11.  If you are a UC Berkeley Sociology major, would you like to be considered for a scholarship?
11a.  If you are not accepted for a scholarship would you still like your application to be considered for the program?

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