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ANTH211 Contemporary Ethnographic Research

An introduction to the issues, methods and ethical considerations involved in carrying out ethnographic research.

From small villages to complex bureaucratic organisations, ethnography offers important tools for understanding how various human worlds operate. This paper provides an introduction to research? methods and techniques used by contemporary anthropologists, including participant observation, interviews and popular culture analysis.

The paper encourages students to explore the relationships between project design, data collection methods, data analysis and theory by working collaboratively on a 'real life' group research project that explores the nature of friendship. ANTH 211 thus provides an opportunity for students to undertake an individual interview on friendship followed by a group analysis of all students' interviews in a well-structured, ethically approved, on-going longitudinal research project led by the lecturer. At the same time, students will have the opportunity to explore the most recent debates in theoretically informed ethnographic methods as revealed in contemporary discussions about the newly emerging field of the anthropology of friendship.

Paper is offered in yearly rotation with ANTH 210.

Paper title Contemporary Ethnographic Research
Paper code ANTH211
Subject Anthropology
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Not offered in 2021 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $913.95
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $4,073.40

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ANTH 103 or ANTH 105 or 54 points
ANTH 320
Schedule C
Arts and Music

Teaching staff

Dr Hannah Bulloch

Paper Structure

This paper is particularly valuable for students who are interested in conducting research using ethnographic methods. The paper is 100% internally assessed. The paper also involves active learning, and so students are requested to read their required readings before coming to class.


  • Research interview (20%)
  • Three coding exercises using nVivo qualitative research software (30%)
  • Three reading journal entries based on any three required readings for the course (15%)
  • A written analysis of one of the major analytical themes that emerged from the shared group analysis of the friendship interviews conducted in class (35%)
Teaching Arrangements
Lectures and seminars
Required readings from journal articles and book chapters are available electronically through the library using course reserve.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Cultural understanding, Ethics, Research.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the paper, students will:

  • Enhance their capacities for conducting ethnographic research focusing on the value of the interview as a research tool
  • Appreciate the heuristic value of theoretically informed research questions for any ethnographic project (Block 2)
  • Be aware of the limits and advantages of ethnographic research and contemporary critical debates around its use (Block 2)
  • Develop a comparative perspective on ethnographic approaches
  • Be able to place ethnographic inquiry within the wider array of qualitative research methodologies
  • Understand the cultural complexities implicit within notions of 'friendship'

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Not offered in 2021

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system