Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2014-2015 (archived)

Module ANTH45215: Ethnographic Enquiry

Department: Anthropology

ANTH45215: Ethnographic Enquiry

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Module Cap
Tied to L6K307


  • None


  • Fieldwork and Interpretation

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To give students a deep understanding of ethnographic theory and related field methods, including the collection and the interpretation of ethnographic data. This module will build theoretically on the knowledge of ethnographic methods in Fieldwork and Interpretation.


  • Relation of explanatory theories to ethnographic research.
  • Learning and interpreting everyday life:
  • participant observation (everyday life as field research),
  • non-participant observation
  • Analysis of ethnographic field-notes
  • Film and visual anthropology
  • Participation, power and collaborative ethnography
  • Reflexivity in ethnographic research
  • Ethical issues in ethnographic research
  • Writing ethnography

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • A comprehensive overview and thorough grounding in the use of ethnographic field methods.
  • A thorough understanding of the ways in which social scientists interpret ethnographic data.
  • A clearer understanding of the relationships between ethnographic method and theory.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • To be able to conduct an ethnographic study using a range of appropriate techniques.
  • To be able to analyse and interpret ethnographic data.
  • To appreciate some of the ethical issues inherent in ethnographic enquiry.
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

  • This is a seminar-based course. Weekly seminars will entail short introductory lectures followed by discussion based on readings. Short films may also be used in some sessions.
  • The emphasis in the seminars will be principally on the theoretical aspects on ethnographic research, to complement the more practically-based sessions in Fieldwork and Interpretation(co-requisite).
  • Summative and formative assessment consists of essays on these theoretical aspects of ethnographic research (again, more practical aspects are assessed via the Fieldwork and Interpretation field work report.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminars (to include presentations, discussions & practical exercises) 11 weekly 2 hours 22
Reading and preparation 128
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Research Project Report Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Esssay on theoretical aspects of ethnographic research 2000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

1000 word practice essay. Written feedback will be given.

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