AN298      Half Unit
Research Methods in Social Anthropology

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Rita Astuti OLD 6.11


This course is compulsory on the BA in Social Anthropology, BSc in Social Anthropology and Exchange Programme for Students in Anthropology (Melbourne). This course is available on the BA in Anthropology and Law, Exchange Programme for Students in Anthropology (Fudan) and Exchange Programme for Students in Anthropology (Tokyo). This course is not available as an outside option nor to General Course students.

Course content

The aim of this course is to guide and support students as they identify, execute and write-up their own ethnographic project in London. In parallel with their research activities, students will develop research skills for the collection, analysis and representation of ethnographic data. The course will provide training in ethnographic observation, participation, listening, questioning, interviewing, analysing and writing. One session will be dedicated to the discussion of a range of actual ethical dilemmas encountered by PhD students in the Anthropology Department during the course of ethnographic research.

Students will demonstrate their research skills by applying them to the research questions pursued in their ethnographic project. They will write a 4,500 to 5,000- word essay reporting on their research activities and findings.


1 hour of lectures in the MT. 20 hours of seminars in the LT.

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

Formative coursework

A short description of the student’s proposed research project will be discussed in LT week 1 in a student-led workshop. Students will then produce a 1000-word report due between weeks 5 and 7, describing the progress made on the research, including a sample ethnographic description and an explanation of the methods used to date. Students will receive feedback on the report within two weeks of submission.

Indicative reading

Narayan, K. Alive in the Writing: Crafting Ethnography in the Company of Chekhov (2012); DeWalt, K.M. & DeWalt, B.M Participant Observation: A guide for fieldworkers (2010); Bernard. H.R. Research Methods in Anthropology, 5th edition (2011).


Essay (100%, 5000 words) in the ST.

Teachers' comment

In interpreting the Course Survey results, bear in mind that over the period covered by the survey this course has been taught by a number of different teachers (who might not be teaching you in the next session). In addition, the course material may have changed quite considerably.

Key facts

Department: Anthropology

Total students 2018/19: 49

Average class size 2018/19: 12

Capped 2018/19: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills