Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2014-2015 (archived)

Module ANTH43415: Fieldwork and Interpretation

Department: Anthropology

ANTH43415: Fieldwork and Interpretation

Type Open Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2014/15 Module Cap


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To give students a comprehensive view of qualitative field methods used by social sciences, including the collection, management and interpretation of qualitative data.


  • Relation of explanatory theories to methods of research.
  • Ethnography and participant observation.
  • Interviewing (semi-structured interviews, guided conversations, life history interviews)
  • Focus groups and other group-based research techniques.
  • Participatory methods (e.g. participatory mapping, ranking, etc.)
  • Power relations and reflexivity in qualitative research
  • Management and analysis of qualitative data
  • Ethical issues in qualitative research

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • A comprehensive overview of qualitative field methods used by social scientists.
  • A thorough understanding of the ways in which social scientists interpret ethnographic and other qualitative data.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • To be able to use effectively a range of qualitative social research techniques, including ethnography and participant observation, individual and group-based interviews, and participatory research methods.
  • To be able to analyse and interpret qualitative data.
  • To understand the relationships between method and theory.
  • To appreciate some of the ethical issues inherent in qualitative social research
Key Skills:
  • Critical engagement with literature.
  • Written communication skills: producing a clear and well-argued research report.
  • Reflexivity: reflecting on own research practice

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

  • Lectures, practicals and project work.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminars (to include discussions & practical exercises) 10 weekly 2 hours 20
Preparation and Reading 130
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Research Project Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Research Project 3000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

1000 word project proposal

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