AN298      Half Unit
Research Methods in Social Anthropology

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Yazan Doughan


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 (Cape Town), 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 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 discussing a range of ethical dilemmas that may emerge 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 year, some or all of this teaching will be delivered through a combination of virtual lectures, classes and online interactive activities. The contact hours listed above are the minimum expected. 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

Amit, Vered. Constructing the Field: Ethnographic Fieldwork in the Contemporary World (2003); 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.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Anthropology

Total students 2019/20: 50

Average class size 2019/20: 13

Capped 2019/20: Yes (60)

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