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Doing Ethnographic Research (ANTH20014)

Undergraduate level 2Points: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2018
Subject levelUndergraduate Level 2
Subject codeANTH20014
Semester 1
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

Ethnographic research is the signature method of socio-cultural anthropology and is increasingly important in a range of other disciplines in the natural and social sciences. In this subject, students participate in a semester-long collaborative research project. Each semester will take a specific institution or locale, within or beyond the University, as an ethnographic fieldsite. Teaching will be seminar style, with short lectures and discussions on the practice of ethnographic research and ample time for developing research plans and sharing research results. Working as individuals and in groups, students will 1) formulate a set of theoretically-informed research questions; 2) design plans for answering those questions through empirical research; 3) develop a protocol for engaging ethically with research subjects; 4) undertake a range of research activities, which may include participating in activities with research subjects, observing public events, mapping social or spatial relationships, and conducting open-ended or semi-structured interviews; 5) interpret the empirical data to produce an ethnographic analysis; and 6) reflect on the challenges and insights of ethnographic research. Through this process, students will deepen their understanding of the craft of research, gain confidence in their research and communication skills, and experience the excitement of ethnographic inquiry.

Intended learning outcomes

  • Learn how to formulate theoretically informed questions that can be answered through ethnographic research;
  • Undertake hands-on research, gaining practical experience and a critical awareness of the strengths and limitations of diverse ethnographic research techniques;
  • Gain new insights into the university and broader community as well as the issue that is the focus of the research for the semester;
  • Work collaboratively with peers and instructors on a shared project, making the most of the diverse skills and experiences of individual team members;
  • Effectively communicate with peers and a broader audience in oral and written formats.

Last updated: 20 October 2018