PhD Social Anthropology / Programme details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Issues in Ethnographic Research II

Course unit fact file
Unit code SOAN70652
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? No


For Research Students only

The workshops and exercises will include:

Access and arrivals
Mixed methods
Keeping a record


As with Issues in Ethnographic Research 1 (SOAN70641), this course aims to give students the opportunity to explore anthropological research methods, and to encourage experimentation and reflection. It will develop awareness of ethical and political issues in anthropological research specifically, and empirical social research generally. It will help to locate anthropological field methods within social science research methods and to explore the underlying premises of different methodologies and the meaning of data.

Learning outcomes

The course focuses on techniques for the collection, recording and analysis of data.  It will address questions about the relationship between general theories and empirical research with a particular, but not exclusive, emphasis on ethnographic fieldwork. The module will raise 'foreshadowed questions' about the processes of ethnographic fieldwork such as access to 'the field', ethics, fieldnotes, issues of representation, dissemination and the different genres of academic writing.


The course consists of up to nine three-hour workshops over one semester. It is organised to foreground student participation and thereby further the development of each project. The aim is to make the course relevant to your own projects and priorities. For those with the intention of authoring a dissertation as a stand-alone degree, the short proposal for this course sets up the dissertation to be researched and written in the summer. For those with the intention of preparing a research proposal for doctoral research the task of writing a short proposal focuses the mind on the larger more comprehensive version to be submitted later. Readings and discussion topics are intended to help you think about how you go about the practical features of your research. 

Teaching and learning methods

Workshops, Practical Exercises, and Readings, including short Lectures.   

Assessment methods

The assessment for the course is a 4000-word research proposal of a professional standard (for example, in the style of the Wenner Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research). 

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 30
Independent study hours
Independent study 120

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Constance Smith Unit coordinator

Additional notes

For Research Students only:

This module is the second of two training modules for postgraduate research students who intend to use ethnographic research methods in their doctoral study. It is targeted at social anthropology students on the MA in Anthropological Research (MAAR) and those in the first year of a PhD in Social Anthropology. However, as with IER I, it is not a methods course per se, but a forum for discussing what most anthropologists would see as a, if not the, core aspect of their disciplinary identity: ethnography. At this pre‐fieldwork stage, the course offers the opportunity to consider the strengths and limitations of each method in the company of, and more importantly, with the support of others.


Return to programme details