Evidence and Arguments in Anthropology and Other Social Sciences

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Nicholas Long


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 that 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; psychoanalysis; moral and political philosophy; photographic theory; archival research; quantitative sociology; economics; demography; ecology; development studies; linguistic anthropology; STS; and 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 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

Students will be expected to produce 1 case study in the LT.

This will allow students to practice and receive feedback on the direct application of different disciplinary perspectives to a body of data, in preparation for their summative assessment and for their future research.


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

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: 7

Average class size 2019/20: 7

Controlled access 2019/20: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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