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    Supervised individual research on a topic in anthropology.

    ANTH 490 is an individual research project on an approved topic under the supervision of one or more members of staff, culminating in the submission of the dissertation of no more than 20,000 words (excluding footnotes, appendices and references). Submission date for dissertations is Friday of the last teaching week in the second semester. The choosing of your topic is one of the most challenging and rewarding decisions that you will have to make in the whole exercise. It will depend on the kind of interests you have developed in Social Anthropology and the availability of supervisors with appropriate expertise. Please review the list of staff members and areas of interest on the Social Anthropology website. It is recommended that you consult with appropriate staff as soon as possible and before the end of your third year. If you have developed strengths in particular areas of your subject or become closely involved with certain courses, there would be considerable advantage in continuing with that work for your dissertation.

    One important consideration, and one reason for consulting closely with staff, is making sure that you select a topic that is practicable within the time available. The challenge here is selecting something that is going to make a satisfying and rewarding piece of research, but that will also be of such size and scope that you will be able to bring it to completion on time.

    In social anthropology, potential topics range from library-based studies based on primary and/or secondary sources, to research involving fieldwork using one or a number of the many different methods used in field research (for example, participant observation, formal interviews, unobtrusive methods). This is usually your first opportunity to carry out field research, and with the supervision that is provided by the Programme it will enable you to gain valuable first-hand experience in doing social research. Fieldwork involving human subjects requires ethical approval from the University Ethics Committee; your supervisor will advise you about this.

    About this paper

    Paper title Dissertation
    Subject Anthropology
    EFTS 0.5
    Points 60 points
    Teaching period Full Year (On campus)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $3,721.50
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    ANTH 495, ARCH 490
    Limited to
    BA(Hons), PGDipArts
    Contact or individual members of staff
    Teaching staff

    Relevant academic supervisor

    Postgraduate Co-ordinator: Dr Hannah Bulloch

    Paper Structure

    Independently driven research project and preparation of a dissertation.

    Teaching Arrangements

    Regular meetings with supervisor and periodic seminars.


    Textbooks are not required for this paper but reading relevant to topic is essential.

    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Global perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Ethics, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes

    Students who successfully complete this paper will gain:

    1. The ability to conduct independent, high-quality and rigorous research
    2. The capacity to locate, evaluate and analyse diverse sources, data and information
    3. Skills in writing a report-length dissertation based on original research


    Full Year

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system
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