Skip to main content

Unit information: Anthropological Methods in 2018/19

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing and student choice.

Unit name Anthropological Methods
Unit code ARCH20048
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Lawson
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Archaeology and Anthropology
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. Fieldwork diary or reflexive essay on research process (2,500 words, 40% summative), to be submitted with final project. Assesses ILOs 1-4

Formative feedback given during drop-ins

2. Class test (20%, 1 hour, summative). Assesses ILOs 2-3

3. Final individual report on research project (40%, 2,500 words, summative). Assesses ILOs 5-7

Formative feedback given on project proposal

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.