Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2007-2008 (archived)

Module ANTH54960: Dissertation - MA in Research Methods

Department: Anthropology

ANTH54960: Dissertation - MA in Research Methods

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 60 Availability Available in 2007/08 Module Cap
Tied to L6K307


  • None


Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • Through individual work, supervised by the relevant member of staff.


  • The dissertation should contain 'a review of the literature, both theoretical and ethnographic; an outline of the specific questions to be addressed, methods to be employed, and the expected contribution of the study to anthropological understanding; a discussion of the practical, political and ethical issues affecting the conduct of the research; a presentation of the schedule for the research, and its estimated budget.' (Economic and Social Research Council Postgraduate Training Guidelines 2001, Section F12, 4.1.2).

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students will develop a deep understanding of the theory and current state of knowledge in the area of socio-cultural anthropology in which they conduct their research.
  • Students will develop an advanced understanding of methodological issues in the area of socio-cultural anthropology in which they conduct their research.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students will develop the research skills necessary for progression to doctoral research.
  • Students will be able to carry out ethnographic fieldwork, drawing on qualitative and/or quantitative methods of data collection.
  • Students will be able to recognise the epistemological implications of their choice of research methods.
  • Students will be able to recognise the ethical and political implications of their choice of research methods.
Key Skills:
  • Students will further hone skills to write clearly and concisely, explaining why their topic of research is important, critiquing previous research, and providing a coherent discussion of their findings.
  • Students will become familiar with the major principles of research design, including time management and costing.
  • Students will learn to manage a research project from an initial idea, the development of a research question, collection of data to the presentation of a dissertation.
  • Students will be able to conduct advanced quantitative and/or qualitative analysis.
  • Students will be able to use computer software for analysis and presentation of data where appropriate.

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

  • Since the course is designed as the first year of doctoral research, supervision will be conducted under the arrangements for research postgraduates in the department. This means that the supervisor and student meet on orientation day to agree a plan of work. The department recognises that a bi-weekly meeting is good practice, but that different arrangements may be appropriate from case to case. Each supervisory meeting is documented: one copy is held by the student, a second by the supervisor, and a third is held in the department and monitored by the Director of Postgraduate Studies.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Tutorials 15 fortnightly during term 1 hour 15
Preparation and Reading 585
Total 600

Summative Assessment

Component: Dissertation Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Dissertation 10,000 100%

Formative Assessment:

Drafts of chapters are seen by the supervisor and commented on in writing and verbally.

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