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Unit information: Anthropological Methods in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Anthropological Methods
Unit code ARCH20048
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Hofer
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Anthropology and Archaeology
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This unit aims to acquaint students with a range of anthropological methodologies and techniques, especially those that underlie the specific topics of units encountered in their programme. Students will have an opportunity to experience first-hand how knowledge is produced and anthropological data is collected, through fieldwork, observation and measurement, interviews and questionnaires, and archival/library research. Data collection, synthesis, and analysis will all be covered, using a range of quantitative and qualitative approaches.


  • To explore the varieties of possible approaches to anthropological research.
  • To equip students with skills for the collection and analysis of a range of anthropological data.

  • To give students practical experience in conducting anthropological fieldwork.

  • To give students experience in preparing and managing a research project.
  • To give students experience in discussing, writing-up and presenting their results.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion students will be able to:

  • 1. identify and discuss the specific research methods associated with anthropology as a discipline.
  • 2. demonstrate knowledge of and report practical experience of methods such as interviewing, qualitative and quantitative data sets, thematic/discourse analysis, statistical analysis, and forms of presentation.
  • 3. recognise the appropriate anthropological methods used to answer different sorts of research questions.

  • 4. recognise and discuss the ways in which anthropology is inherently multi-disciplinary.

  • 5. describe and appraise the process of conducting research, including the ethical implications of being a researcher with human subjects.

  • 6. design a research question and plan a tractable project that answers the question.

  • 7. plan, conduct and write a small research project.

Teaching details

  • 11 x 2-hour lectures

  • 11 x 1-hour practicals

Assessment Details

  1. Ethnographic comparative essay (2,500 words, 50% summative), assessing ILOs 1, 2 and 3.
  2. Individual report on research project (2,500 words, 50% summative), assessing ILOs 1-7.

Reading and References

  • Bernard, H.R. (2006) Research Methods in Anthropology. AltaMira.
  • Cryer, P. (2006) The research student’s guide to success, 3rd edn, OpenUniv. Press.

  • Coleman, S. and Collins, P. (eds) 2006 Locating the Field: space, place and context in anthropology, Oxford; Berg.

  • Okely, J. (2012). Anthropological Practice: fieldwork and the ethnographic method.

  • Peterson RA (2000) Constructing effective questionnaires. London: Sage.
  • Watson, C. (ed.) 1999 Being there: fieldwork in anthropology, London: Pluto Press.