Qualitative and Quantitative Methods for Anthropologists

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Deborah James OLD 6.06, Prof Mathijs Pelkmans OLD 5.08 and Dr Megan Laws


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

Course content

The twofold aim of this course is to provide students with insights into the process by which anthropological knowledge is produced, and to train them in the collection and analysis of qualitative and quantitative data. In doing so it offers students a methodological framework for conceptualising and designing their own PhD research projects. The course discusses the nature of ethnographic data and evidence, its implications for research, and ways of incorporating empirical data in ethnographic texts. 


40 hours of seminars in the MT.

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 MT.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 2 presentations in the MT.

Students will carry out fieldwork exercises and read selected texts. They will present their findings as part of two scheduled presentations, on which they will receive in-seminar verbal feedback.

Indicative reading

A. Robben and A. Sluka (eds.) 2007. Ethnographic Fieldwork: An anthropological reader; P. Atkinson.2015. For Ethnography; R. H. Bernard. Research Methods in Cultural Anthropology: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches.Fifth Edition. A. Cerwonka and L. Malkki. 2007. Improvising Theory: Process an Temporality in Ethnographic Fieldwork. K. Narayan. 2012. Alive in the Writing: Crafting Ethnography in the Company of Chekhov.


Essay (50%, 3000 words) and essay (50%, 3000 words) in the MT.

Students will write two 3,000-word essays (each worth 50%), which can draw from issues covered in either the Tuesday or the Friday class, or both. The first essay is to be submitted on the first day after reading week, Monday 8th November at 12 noon, and the deadline for the second essay is the last day of MT, Friday 10th December at 12 noon.

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 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 differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching 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 2020/21: 7

Average class size 2020/21: 6

Controlled access 2020/21: Yes

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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