Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2007-2008 (archived)


Department: Anthropology


Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability
Tied to L6K407
Tied to C9K609
Tied to L6K507


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • The aim of the module is to provide students with research skills needed by all anthropologists, focusing particularly on writing academic papers and grant proposals, and on numeric reasoning. It will develop students' numerical reasoning skills in anthropology using datasets from anthropological research. Students will learn the basic statistical methods. In addition, they will become proficient in the use of at least one IT package designed for statistical methods.


  • Research skills:
  • using bibliographic databases
  • academic source criticism/literature reviews
  • writing clearly and critically
  • understanding ethical issues
  • designing a researching project
  • writing a grant proposal
  • Statistical methods:
  • frequency distributions
  • averages
  • standard scores and normal curve
  • correlation-Oearson r
  • probability and binomial distribution
  • sampling
  • x2-Chi Square
  • analysis of variance and covarience
  • using a software package

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students should understand the theory behind, and know about examples of the application of, a range of subject-specific qualitative and quantitative methods used in particularly applied anthropology.
  • They should have received sufficient practical and theoretical training to enable them, with the appropriate support and facilities, to continue to Ph.D. level research or carry out applied anthropological research in a variety of contexts.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • They should be able to synthesise critically evaluate and present complex material, including data, models and theoretical arguments.
Key Skills:
  • Communication: Students should be able to express themselves in writing clearly and concisely on technical topics, and explain why particular issues are important and/or controversial.
  • Research design and management: Students should be able to design a research project employing principles of academic rigour and tractibility (i.e. a project that is interesting, worthwhile and do-able),
  • Information technology: Students should be able to use computer software for analysis and presentation of data.
  • Data analysis: Students should be able to carry out basic quantitative and qualitative analysis, and to represent data effectively.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Lectures (1 hour):
  • Lectures provide students with a coherent review of the research skills and the relevant background to the datasets they will be asked to analyse.
  • Practicals (1 hour):
  • Practicals offer students the opportunity to implement specific quantitative methods under the supervision of a tutor. Students will be given guided step-by-step instruction in carrying out tasks on a computer; this will be followed by less guided, but still supervised, tasks which help consolidate students understanding of the skills and the relevance to anthropological research.
  • Modes of Assessment:
  • Grant proposal (summative):
  • The grant proposal (2500 words) offers students the opportunity to develop a fully elaborated research proposal. The basic research problem will normally be related to individual student's dissertation research topic. It will give the students the opportunity to demonstrate the skills they have acquired in literature review, writing clearly, ethics and research design. The proposal contributes to learning outcomes: 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3b.
  • Exam (summative)
  • 1.5 hour unseen exam. The exam contributes to learning outcomes: 1b, 3b, 3c, 3d.
  • Grant outline (formative):
  • Students will be provided with feedback on their preliminary ideas for the summative grant proposal, contributing to learning outcomes: 2a, 3a-d.
  • In class practical assessments (formative)
  • Will provide students with immediate feedback on the progress and provide the opportunity for individual interaction with tutor.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 10 Approximately fortnightly 1 hour 10
Practicals 10 Approximately fortnightly 1 hour 10
Preparation and Reading 280
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Grant proposal Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
grant proposal 2500 words 100%
Component: Unseen Examination Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
unseen examination 1. 5 hours 100%

Formative Assessment:

Outline grant proposal. In class practical assessments.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University