[The following posts were in another thread and needed their own home]
I really have not been privy to any good qually research. I'd seriously like to pick one up and take a look..any nominations for the best qually research conducted last year?
There were lots of APSA prizes given to qualitative work last year (as in previous years). There are hits and misses there, and it is certainly not a complete list of good work, but if you really wanted to explore a range of work outside your own world that's not a bad starting point.
Lily Tsai's book was multi-methods, including really strong qual work. I'll be using it as an example of how to write a really methodologically strong dissertation when I start teaching qual methods.
For the person who asked what ethnography is, it's an attempt to understand a social system through immersion in that system. So you don't just do a case study; you learn the language, live in the society, talk to real people in the society, and try to get a fuller sense of its history, culture, politics, and mode of operation. Not everyone who does qualitative work uses ethnographic methods in the same sense that cultural anthropologists do, but most solid qualitative work has some ethnographic dimension. I'd say the key distinction for those who choose this method is the belief that the rest of the world can't be held constant in order to figure out a specific aspect of human behavior, but that history and culture always shapes human interaction in the political sphere.
Mike Tomz's book Sovereign Debt and International Cooperation won the award for best qualitative or multimethod book in 2008. It's amazing.
I read Schickler's Disjointed Pluralism for a grad seminar. I'm not an Americanist, so I don't recall many details other than that it seemed to be a pretty impressive example of multi-method work.