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Unit information: Dissertation with fieldwork or community placement in 2017/18

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Unit name Dissertation with fieldwork or community placement
Unit code THRS30046
Credit points 40
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Langer
Open unit status Not open
Pre-requisites

none

Co-requisites

none

School/department Department of Religion and Theology
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description

This variant of the dissertation gives students the opportunity to combine their academic learning with practical experience of field-work or community-based placement. The students are supported to make contact and establish relationships with their chosen area of field-work / placement, and to formulate research questions enabling them to engage with the field-work / placement in a scholarly context. The students will experience first hand the interaction of religion, society and academia in their chosen community or placement and are encouraged to reflect on this in both their portfolio and dissertation. This unit aims to help students plan ahead for a career after graduation and to enhance their employability by providing opportunities to network and to develop a range of practical and transferable skills, such as effective communication, presentation, negotiation and teamwork.

Students are also introduced to higher level research and scholarly cutting edge material by fortnightly attendance at the department's research seminars and through attendance at the international post-graduate yearly conference with an opportunity to present a paper on their dissertation work to postgraduates and established scholars'

Suggestions for locations in Bristol and beyond include:  Downside Abbey, Bath  Bristol & South Gloucestershire Methodist Circuit  UoB Multifaith Chaplaincy  Clifton Diocese (catholic)  St Peters Hospice Chaplaincy  Buddhapadipa Thai Temple (Wimbledon)  The Buddhavihara Temple Kings Bromley, Staffordshire  Amaravati Buddhist Temple  The Hindu Temple, Bristol  Places of Worship Bristol  Bristol Synagogue (Park Row)  Bristol Mosques (Central and Jamia)

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of the unit students should have: 1. enhanced their research skills through the production an extended piece of independent research in accordance with high scholarly standards 2. developed proficiency in forming their own research questions 3. further developed their skills of argumentation and communication 4. demonstrated the ability to work with both secondary and primary resources and to draw reasoned and considered conclusions from them

All the above are assessed by the 8000 word project. In addition by working in a community the students should have developed 5. a sense of place, community and holistic, creative thinking in relation to contemporary conditions of uncertainty and complexity (assessed by portfolio part a) 6. a sense of developing dialogue and the ability to critically evaluate their own and others’ values, attitudes and behaviours in relation to religious issues and to determine what constitutes ethical responsibility in relation to such issues (assessed by portfolio part b) 7. reflection on learning in the field and the ability to explain and justify own action or behaviour, in relation to other (perhaps opposing) viewpoints principles or beliefs with respect to religious and cultural issues (assessed by portfolio part c)

Teaching details

1 x 1.5 hour seminar followed by a 1 hour discussion every other week
6 x 1 hour lectures/workshops across the year
5 x 1 hour meetings with supervisor across the year
1 x 3 hour conference

Assessment Details

8,000 word dissertation project and a 4,000 word portfolio consisting of: (a) description of place, situation or event; (b) structured interview and (c) reflective account.

Reading and References

Jan Blommaert, Ethnographic fieldwork: a beginner's guide, 2010. Clifford Geertz, (1973) "Thick Description" from Interpretations of Culture. James Spradley, (1979) The Ethnographic Interview. Roger Sanjek, ed. (1990) Fieldnotes: the Makings of Anthropology. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. Teater, Barbra. (2012) Social work in the community: making a difference, Bristol: Policy Press. Grimshaw, Anna (2001) The ethnographer’s eye: ways of seeing in modern anthropology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

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