Evidence and Arguments in Anthropology and Other Social Sciences

This information is for the 2017/18 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Matthew Engelke OLD 6.12 and Dr Michael Scott OLD 6.16


This course is compulsory on the MRes/PhD in Anthropology. This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

This seminar course considers research practices across a range of social and natural sciences in order to explore methodological issues which are specifically relevant to ethnography. In particular, it focuses on the relationship between evidence and the kinds of inferences and conclusions which are drawn by researchers in different social science fields. For one part of the course, case-studies taken from different disciplines will be considered in relation to the research practices of ethnographers. The disciplines covered may include: cognitive science & developmental psychology; philosophy; history; quantitative sociology; economics; literary criticism. For another part of the course, students will present their own draft research proposals to other both in written and oral form, focusing on (1) the questions they hope to explore in their dissertations; (2) the kinds of evidence they will need in order to adequately explore these questions; (3) the methods they will adopt in order to collect this evidence.


40 hours of seminars in the LT.

This course has a reading week in Week 6 of LT.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 essay in the LT.


Essay (25%, 2500 words), presentation (50%) and class participation (25%) in the LT.

Key facts

Department: Anthropology

Total students 2016/17: 13

Average class size 2016/17: 12

Controlled access 2016/17: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills