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ANTH211 Contemporary Ethnographic Research

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

This paper focuses on qualitative research approaches. Long-term, immersive, 'bottom-up' methods help social anthropologists gain holistic perspectives on a diverse range of cultural phenomena and lifeways. In this paper students will learn how ethnographic methods can be applied across settings from small villages to complex bureaucratic organisations to illuminate issues of contemporary importance. Topics will include:

  • Planning a research project, including writing a research proposal
  • Conducting a range of data collection techniques including participant observation, systematic fieldnotes, in-depth interviews, focus groups, photographic methods, and Participatory Learning and Action approaches
  • Thematically coding materials (including through specialised software) and analysing results
  • Negotiating ethical concerns and working collaboratively with research partners in communities

The course seeks to equip students with social scientific research skills sought after by employers.

Examples will draw from diverse sub-disciplines, such as medical anthropology, environmental anthropology, and the anthropology of international development.

The 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 2023 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $955.05
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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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

100% internally assessed.

Teaching Arrangements
  • One two-hour lecture per week.
  • One one-hour tutorial per week.

Course readings are provided through eReserve on Blackboard.

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

Upon successful completion of the paper, students will be:

  • Familiar with the qualitative research project cycle
  • Equipped to develop sound research questions and plan methods that align with these
  • Familiar with an array of data collection techniques, including interviews
  • Able to manage and thematically code qualitative data
  • Aware of a range of ethical issues pertaining to cross-cultural and ethnographic research
  • Able to place ethnographic inquiry within the wider array of qualitative research methodologies

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Not offered in 2023

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system