Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2012-2013 (archived)


Department: Anthropology


Type Open Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2012/13 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • Human Origins and Diversity (ANTH1071) AND People and Cultures (ANTH1061).


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To provide a grounding in research methods in both biological and sociocultural anthropology.
  • To enable students to appreciate the relationship of data to anthropological theory.
  • To enable students to experience the process of collecting and analysing data, and creating anthropological knowledge.


  • Biological Anthropology: This section will include techniques in biological anthropology.
  • Students will be introduced to hypothesis testing, types of quantitative data and the process of data analysis and interpretation.
  • Sociocultural Anthropology: Research methods in sociocultural anthropology will be described and examined with relation to explanation, and the relationship between data and theory.
  • The techniques covered will concentrate on participant-observation and its attendant skills.
  • The module as a whole provides students with a baseline understanding of method and theory that will both aid in the understanding of material presented in anthropology courses in the third year, and offers practical, hands-on preparation for the dissertation.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Factual Material: Understand the methods used in ethnographic field studies.
  • Understand the methods used to analyze quantitative data in biological anthropology.
  • Aware of the vocabulary of research methods in sociocultural and biological anthropology.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Appreciate cultural relativity and its implications.
  • Know about basic biological data collection techniques.
  • Relate explanatory theories to field techniques.
  • Design, use and evaluate various research/study techniques (e.g. questionnaires, interviews, experiments, measurement).
  • Apply basic statistical and numerical skills to biological data.
  • Become familiar with quantitative data collection and analysis.
Key Skills:
  • Become familiar with basic statistical techniques.
  • Assess the value and limits of data and make critical judgements of the merits of particular arguments, including ability to reason critically and challenge received conclusions about topics and controversies.
  • Apply ethical guidelines in research.
  • Interpret both qualitative and quantitative data.
  • Plan, undertake and report on fieldwork-based enquiries.
  • Use some information technology and associated computational tools and packages.

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

  • Students are expected to attend the lectures and they are required to attend the practicals and workshops.
  • 50% of the summative assessment mark will be based on a 3000 word project to analyze and interpret a biological data set.
  • 50% of the mark will be derived from a 3,000 word essay on the nature of anthropological knowledge.
  • Formative Assessment is based on submitted essay plans and feedback in practical sessions.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 9 Biological: Weeks 1-3 & 10; Social: 1 every 2 weeks 1 hour 9
Practicals 11 Biological: Weeks 4-9; Social 1 every 2 weeks 2 hours 22
Preparation and Reading 169
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Quantitative Project Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Quantitative project 3,000 words 100%
Component: Essay Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 3,000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

Essay Plan. During each practical session on the social element there is discussion of the research projects being undertaken by students. This provides a cumulative evaluation and guide to progress. Each group also makes a joint presentation on the research project they have done, prior to submitting the journal and report required for summative assessment. For the biological element there is feedback on the practical sessions.

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