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ANTH801 – Research Methods in Anthropology

2018 – S1 Evening

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit Convenor
Greg Downey
Contact via (02) 9850 8079
AHH 2.374
Weds 3-4PM or by appointment (Note: contact Greg to get access to the offices)
Credit points Credit points
4
Prerequisites Prerequisites
Admission to MDevStud or MGlobalHlthDevStud or GradCertGlobalHlthDevStud or MDevStudGlobalHlth or GradCertDevStudGlobalHlth or MAppAnth or MDevCult or MSocEntre or MPPPMDevStud MPASRMDevStud or MPlan or MPH or GradDipSIA or GradCertSIA or 4cp in ANTH units at 800 level
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
ANTH751
Unit description Unit description
This unit introduces methodological strategies used in community research. Quantitative strategies, such as questionnaire and survey methods, will be compared with qualitative ones, such as participant observation. The epistemological and ethical dimensions of methodology, and the effects of political imperatives on the conduct of research will be discussed. It includes four weeks of community-based research.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at https://students.mq.edu.au/important-dates

Learning Outcomes

  1. Understand the processes of a human research ethics application;
  2. Relate their experiences to some of the research problems and ethical dilemmas which emerge in key ethnographic texts.
  3. Think about the selection of “informants” and field sites and how they shape both methodologies and research outcomes;
  4. Reflect on the differences/similarities between applied and academic anthropology;
  5. Design, implement, and write up their own research project;
  6. Receive regular feedback and have opportunities to discuss what they have learned with peers and instructors;
  7. Gain familiarity with a variety of methodological techniques;
  8. Develop skills in ethnographic research, writing and oral presentation;
  9. Learn about current debates over human research ethics and informed consent;

Assessment Tasks

Name Weighting Hurdle Due
Seminar Prep and Participation 20% Yes Weekly
Human Research Ethics Training 0% Yes March 13
Observational Foray 10% No 27 March
Research Proposal 15% Yes April 10
Ethnographic Journal 15% Yes May 22
Peer Review of Proposal 10% No May 1
Research Paper 30% Yes June 8

Seminar Prep and Participation

Due: Weekly
Weighting: 20%
This is a hurdle assessment task (see assessment policy for more information on hurdle assessment tasks)

Much of the work involved in exploring the material covered by this course is expected to take place during the seminars.This is where you will have the opportunity to discuss the ideas raised by the course material, films and readings.They allow the chance to express your own opinions and either confirm or challenge the main ideas of the material at hand.

Each week, all students should have read the required readings and be ready to discuss them.The readings are gathered from a wide range of disciplinary approaches - if you have any difficulty understanding these basic materials please let the course convenor know so they can be discussed in greater detail.These articles must be read carefully and it is expected that you will reflect a sound understanding of these approaches in the written work you submit.

  1. Preparation - Weekly “Discussion Preparation Guide” (10%)

Seminar preparation involves a couple of hours of reading each week. To facilitate tutorial discussion, you are required to submit a short summary and analysis of each of that week’s readings (you often have to do two of them per week).

Brief Description: Each week, you must fill out a Discussion Preparation Guide and bring it to class.  This will help prepare you to participate in seminar discussions.

Details: A sample Discussion Preparation Guide (DPG) is found at the end of this Unit Outline and is also available on iLearn. As convenor, I’ll hand out a guide in the first week of class, and after that, you should print and fill one out each week.  You will bring this to class and use it to inform class discussions.  When you first come to class, you should show it to me so that I can see if it’s been completed.  You can use it to take additional notes during the seminar discussion.  At the end of the day, you will hand in your DPG to the unit convenor.  They will be returned the following week in class.

The point of the DPG is not for me to check if you are getting the "right" answer. Rather, they are valuable tools in generating discussion so that together, as a tutorial group, we can work out what we think about the readings.

These little summaries also act as catalogues and mnemonic devices for students to organise all the information you acquire when you do readings for the course. You do not need to write reams and reams of summaries, but as long as you have a quick way of accessing the core content of each reading, you can always go to the original document if you want to look into it in more detail.

At the end of the course, you can use these in your essays, including in other courses. 

  1. Participation – Weekly discussion (10%)

Each student should fully participate in class discussions and will take turns leading a discussion of the week’s readings.

To generate discussion in class: students will spend 10 minutes at the beginning of each class just talking about their DPGs with each other or with the instructor. This will hopefully help to wake you up, breaks the ice, and also gives you confidence to talk or ask questions in class with the other students so that you can maximise your tutorial participation. 

All students are expected to actively participate in class discussion.  Your ability to do good social research (among living human beings!!) requires you to be able to actively engage in and lead discussions in a social setting. Each student will be expected to facilitate and participate in discussion from week to week.

Your research projects will also be incorporated into ongoing class discussion. We will all learn from watching each other work through an ethnographic research project, from the planning to the implementation to writing up.

In your verbal contributions to class discussions, what I will be looking for is remarks that engage thoughtfully with the readings, with other students' comments and questions, and with the theoretical issues raised by the methods you are trialling in your ongoing research projects.  It is also important that you engage respectfully with your peers.  Do not mock anyone’s contributions in seminar.  If you don’t understand or agree with something someone says, ask them to clarify, or explain respectfully why you disagree.  Everyone should feel free to speak up in class.  Please do not drown out quieter voices, interrupt, or otherwise dominate seminar discussion. 

If you are having trouble speaking up in class discussion, please come to speak with the unit convenor privately and together we can strategise ways to facilitate your contribution to the seminars.

Guidelines for discussion participation:

The kinds of contributions that are valued in seminar participation include:

  • Initiating discussion
  • Giving information
  • Asking for information
  • Raising questions
  • Asking for clarification
  • Giving examples

You will lose participation marks for:

  • Expression of unsupported opinions.  (Essentially, this means don’t talk about things you don’t know about – in particular, if you haven’t done the readings, don’t try to make up for this by pretending you have or making stuff up.  You’ll just lose points for this.)
  • Taking discussion off the topic of the readings and the issues they raise.
  • Attempts to dominate discussion.  (If you find yourself talking more than others in the group, please hold back so others have the chance to join in the discussion.)
  • Interrupting others who are speaking.
  • Mockery of others.

Throughout discussion, students should jot down in their discussion guide ideas that were mentioned by others and struck them as useful.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Understand the processes of a human research ethics application;
  • Relate their experiences to some of the research problems and ethical dilemmas which emerge in key ethnographic texts.
  • Think about the selection of “informants” and field sites and how they shape both methodologies and research outcomes;
  • Reflect on the differences/similarities between applied and academic anthropology;
  • Design, implement, and write up their own research project;
  • Receive regular feedback and have opportunities to discuss what they have learned with peers and instructors;
  • Gain familiarity with a variety of methodological techniques;
  • Develop skills in ethnographic research, writing and oral presentation;
  • Learn about current debates over human research ethics and informed consent;

Human Research Ethics Training

Due: March 13
Weighting: 0%
This is a hurdle assessment task (see assessment policy for more information on hurdle assessment tasks)

It is a requirement of this course that you complete an online training module on Human Research Ethics.

http://www.mq.edu.au/ethics_training

***The online ethics module should be done as homework for week three.  Upon completion of the quiz, print the certificate of completion and bring to class.  The module takes about 3-4 hours to complete.  Warning: start the quiz well in advance because if you fail any section of the quiz, it will not allow you to proceed to the next section of the quiz until 24 hours have passed, so it’s not a good thing to do at the last minute.

NB You must pass the ethics quiz before you can begin your research


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Understand the processes of a human research ethics application;
  • Relate their experiences to some of the research problems and ethical dilemmas which emerge in key ethnographic texts.
  • Think about the selection of “informants” and field sites and how they shape both methodologies and research outcomes;
  • Reflect on the differences/similarities between applied and academic anthropology;
  • Design, implement, and write up their own research project;
  • Gain familiarity with a variety of methodological techniques;
  • Learn about current debates over human research ethics and informed consent;

Observational Foray

Due: 27 March
Weighting: 10%

You will spend some time observing people at a busy public location that is convenient to you. For example, if you were at Uni, you could go to: (1) outside the entrance to the library, (2) the Piccolo Cafe, (3) the Campus Commons or UBar, (4) outside of a bus stop on campus, or (5) at one of the major cross-walks on campus (Anywhere really, as long as it’s a spot where there’s social activity with people moving about.)

You should spend 1 hour observing the movement of people through this space.  Take notes and log activities in your journal.  These notes should be detailed, but you will have to decide what to pay attention to.

For example, if you are observing the library, you might note how many people go in and how many people come out during that hour.  Do they walk immediately out and leave the area, or do they come out and socialize in the area immediately around the library entrance?  How many come out to smoke, and how many smoke before entering? Are their any differences among students that you think indicate demographic or educational differences (undergraduates, postgraduates, staff, international students)? Does anyone use the space that is not a student or staff member of MQ?

If you are observing at a café, you might do a time allocation analysis (see Gross supplementary reading), paying close attention to how much time café patrons spend on each activity: how much time do they spend in line?  Mixing their coffee?  Sitting and drinking?  Smoking?  Talking with friends?  Do people who are alone drink faster or slower than people who are sitting in groups?  Or you might decide to focus on the activities of the people who work in the café.  Or you might focus specifically on patron-employee interactions as they order and pay for their drinks.  For example, how many people count their change after they pay for their drink?  If you’re close enough to hear the interactions, you might note how many people say “thank you” or “ta” for their drinks. 

Take careful notes.  You may also want to sketch out a map of the social space and how people use it.  You can work with other students to divide the workload and see if this makes a difference to your findings. You may each choose to observe and record different things, or you may all decide to observe the same thing but from different angles.  

Note: This is NOT an interactional exercise.  Do not talk with or interview people.  Also, your notes should not focus on any individual person – rather, you should focus on the broader movements of people through space and aggregate social patterns that can be observed.  This is about observing unobtrusively.  Consider: is that even possible?  As you watch people and take notes, does anybody notice you doing so?  Does anybody ask what you are doing there?  What steps do you need to take to be unobtrusive?  What are the ethical and methodological challenges in trying to be unobtrusive but not covert in your observations? 

If you are observing public behaviour in public spaces but not actually talking to people, then ethical research practice does not require that you ask each person for permission to observe him or her, but it is essential that you observe in a non-obtrusive way and use no recording devices.  You should try to blend into the background.  Don’t go around peering over people’s shoulders to see what they’re eating, or otherwise violate the norms of regular social behaviour in that public space.  Some of you may need to be more careful than others (men or women, different age groups or ethnicity): make a note of this. If anyone does ask what you are doing, be prepared to explain to them that you are conducting an observational exercise for class, that it is being done completely anonymously  – i.e. no individual will be identified through the exercise – and that no data will be published.

When you come to class, you will discuss your findings in groups and then have 5-7 minutes to describe what you observed and reflect on methodological issues / problems that arose during the exercise.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Relate their experiences to some of the research problems and ethical dilemmas which emerge in key ethnographic texts.
  • Think about the selection of “informants” and field sites and how they shape both methodologies and research outcomes;
  • Reflect on the differences/similarities between applied and academic anthropology;
  • Design, implement, and write up their own research project;
  • Receive regular feedback and have opportunities to discuss what they have learned with peers and instructors;
  • Gain familiarity with a variety of methodological techniques;
  • Develop skills in ethnographic research, writing and oral presentation;

Research Proposal

Due: April 10
Weighting: 15%
This is a hurdle assessment task (see assessment policy for more information on hurdle assessment tasks)

Research proposals will be original project designs for ethnographic research projects.  Your research proposal should be a formal description of the ongoing project of ethnographic description that you are engaged in for this class. 

Undertake a literary search for your chosen topic. Identify a minimum of 6-8 academic texts of high quality, which all cover relevant aspects of the topic (the texts should be suitable for comparison).

Websites that are not explicitly part of the social science discourse do not count as references. Wikipedia is NOT an appropriate source and may not be used! Ideally, use a search engine like Web of Science (available through the library) to help find good sources. Consult the convenor if you have any issues. You may find helpful resources on the supplementary bibliography.

The proposal should include the following sections:

Proposal title: provide a short descriptive title .

Abstract: This should be a short summary of the project, maximum 100 words.

Background: Discusses the academic literature to set up the research question.  What other researchers have tackled this issue?  What have they said about the topic?  What are the points of difference between theorists? How is your project similar to, or different from, those of other researchers?

Aims: What will this research concretely demonstrate or accomplish?

Methods: This should include a detailed discussion of research methods, rationales for choice of methods, background readings on the research questions as they are relevant to methodology and analysis. This is the most heavily weighted part of the proposal.

Proposed timeline: What is you plan for completion? Please carefully consider your timeline for fieldwork so that you can submit your ethnographic journal by 22 May and research paper by 8 June.

Ethics: How does your project comply with human research ethics principles? Include a short note to demonstrate how you have thought about the ethical dimensions of your research project. Please note that your ethnographic fieldwork is limited to unobtrusive observation, informal conversations and phenomenological self-reflection.

Significance: What is the significance of this project?  What new insight will it shed on the research question?

References: Please look up the essay writing guidelines on the Anthropology homepage for citation and referencing guidelines (you should use in-text citations and Harvard-style referencing).

Make sure all pages are numbered, your student ID number and a word count appears on your proposal.

Please submit an electronic copy of the paper to the turnitin box in iLearn.

Make sure all pages are numbered, your student ID number and a word count appears on your paper. Bring 2 hard (paper) copies of your research proposal to the seminar, so that your research proposals can be peer-evaluated, AND submit an electronic copy of the paper to the Turnitin box in iLearn.

IMPORTANT

Write your student number into the header of the pages. Do NOT mention your name in the header. Your name should appear ONLY on the assignment cover page. It is crucial for this exercise that peer-reviewing is anonymous. Your name will automatically be linked to your paper on Turnitin, and this way the convenor can also mark your assignment blind to whose paper he is marking.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Understand the processes of a human research ethics application;
  • Relate their experiences to some of the research problems and ethical dilemmas which emerge in key ethnographic texts.
  • Think about the selection of “informants” and field sites and how they shape both methodologies and research outcomes;
  • Design, implement, and write up their own research project;
  • Receive regular feedback and have opportunities to discuss what they have learned with peers and instructors;
  • Gain familiarity with a variety of methodological techniques;
  • Develop skills in ethnographic research, writing and oral presentation;
  • Learn about current debates over human research ethics and informed consent;

Ethnographic Journal

Due: May 22
Weighting: 15%
This is a hurdle assessment task (see assessment policy for more information on hurdle assessment tasks)

Students will engage in a small-scale ethnographic research project over the course of the semester. Each student will keep a ‘field journal’ that documents your own life ethnographically in a series of dated fieldnotes. You should collate completed writing assignments, including observational logs, research diary entries, sketches, diagrams, and other useful data related to the on-going project. This is high volume, low quality writing! You do not need to worry about proofreading this or formatting it in any specific way, as long as the instructor can read it.

You should begin this journal from week 2.

You are encouraged to treat the journal as a ‘field diary,’ and to write in it as often as possible (a minimum of twice a week).

Even before you have a research project, you should start writing your decision making process in the journal. The key is to get you into the habit of writing journal entries and field notes and to connect you with the reflexive process of fieldwork.

I will consult the field journal on one occasion to check on progress. Because there are 8 weeks between week 2 and when the journals are due for marking, I will expect a minimum of 16 entries to pass. (Two weeks not required due to midsemester break, but you are permitted to make entries during this period.)

Details:

Obviously, you can’t document your entire life in a journal, or you’d be writing all day.  You will be picking a narrow area of your daily experience to focus on.  Will it be your school life and encounters with other students?  Encounters with teaching staff and uni bureaucracy?  Will it be your work life?  Will you document your personal grooming practices and aesthetic choices – how you dress, shop, style your hair, wear makeup?  Will you document your experiences on public transportation?  Will you document a particular sport or hobby – surfing, cricket, Second Life, World of Warcraft, canyoneering, hiking, snake wrangling?  (I’m not encouraging snake wrangling, by the way.) 

This should be a participant-observation record of your own experiences, but you should also document the advantages and disadvantages posed by the key method you’ll be using: what can participant observation tell you that you can’t discover from a quantitative survey?  What can a quantitative survey or a formal interview tell you that you wouldn’t find out through participant observation?  You may also collect and index materials related to your project (texts, music, video, pop culture ephemera, etc).  The research journal may be digital or paper in format, or both (if digital, please include materials on a USB and submit along with any paper materials in one folder, or submit online through Turnitin. If you are submitting both digital and hard copies, please make a note of this on both so that the convenor does not inadvertently grade only half your work).  These fieldnotes will form the basis of your research paper and “short ethnography”.

From the beginning of this project, you will be expected to adhere to ethical standards of research, data collection, and data storage. 

Please see “Human Research Ethics Considerations for Student Projects” protocol at the end of this unit outline for more detailed guidelines on how to ethically approach this process of writing about your everyday interactions with others, and give everyone you wish to write about an information sheet (also at the end of this unit outline).

You will be assessed based on both frequency of journal entries (*you should make journal entries at least twice weekly) and the thoughtfulness with which you analyse the experiences documented.  Several entries will be selected randomly to assess the journal, but the entire journal will not be read by the course convenor.  If there are any particular entries that you do not want me to read, please mark this by noting “private” at the top of the entry next to the date, and I will not read it.  You will receive a grade with a brief assessment of the overall journal, but you will not be assessed on any particulars of the journal assignment (i.e. I will not be making notes in the margins!), because this project is primarily about writing for yourself, not about writing for the course convenor.

All of your hard copy journal materials should be placed in a sealed envelope (so that only the convenor will read them) and submitted in class on the due date. If you have kept a digital journal, you can copy it onto a flash drive and submit that or submit through Turnitin.  Your journals will be returned to you in seminar the following week.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Relate their experiences to some of the research problems and ethical dilemmas which emerge in key ethnographic texts.
  • Think about the selection of “informants” and field sites and how they shape both methodologies and research outcomes;
  • Reflect on the differences/similarities between applied and academic anthropology;
  • Design, implement, and write up their own research project;
  • Gain familiarity with a variety of methodological techniques;
  • Learn about current debates over human research ethics and informed consent;

Peer Review of Proposal

Due: May 1
Weighting: 10%

The peer review serves as feedback to students about their research projects. Students are asked to critically comment on the quality of the text and make suggestions for improvement/future directions.

The idea of the peer review is to help you to:

  • Engage with the work of others and learn to give constructive feedback.
  • Internalise marking criteria by applying them.

Bring a print out of your peer reviews to class. Submit them together with the hard copy of the proposals you had to review AND submit an electronic copy of the review to the turnitin box in iLearn.

Each student will read 2 other research proposals, randomly distributed.  After the break, students will return their comments in class to the convenor, who will provide a grade.

Comments on your peers’ research proposals should focus on:

  • Does the abstract do a good job of summarising the project?
  • Does the background section show how the research project relates to an academic body of literature and what makes it distinctive compared to other researchers’ approaches to similar problems?  Can you think of any theorists that might be relevant to the project that haven’t been included?
  • Are the aims clear?
  • Does the methods section seem like it offers the best methodological solution for addressing the project aims?
  • Is the significance of the research project clear?
  • Is the research proposal well-written, clear and understandable for someone who doesn’t specialise in this area of knowledge?
  • Is the writing concise?  Does it make the most of every one of those thousand words, or could it be pared down?
  • Are the references done correctly?

Try to give constructive criticism: don’t just tell them what you think is wrong, but also what they could do to fix it, and be sure to provide positive feedback, too, where appropriate. If you have complained in the past about not getting good feedback in a unit, here's your chance to be the change you'd like to see!


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Understand the processes of a human research ethics application;
  • Relate their experiences to some of the research problems and ethical dilemmas which emerge in key ethnographic texts.
  • Think about the selection of “informants” and field sites and how they shape both methodologies and research outcomes;
  • Design, implement, and write up their own research project;
  • Receive regular feedback and have opportunities to discuss what they have learned with peers and instructors;
  • Gain familiarity with a variety of methodological techniques;
  • Develop skills in ethnographic research, writing and oral presentation;
  • Learn about current debates over human research ethics and informed consent;

Research Paper

Due: June 8
Weighting: 30%
This is a hurdle assessment task (see assessment policy for more information on hurdle assessment tasks)

The research paper should describe the goals of the project, the methods employed, and what you discovered during the course of your research. Do not cut and paste from your proposal! Any reported research identical to the proposed research was probably not done as things inevitably change when we try to do research.

Start early!

Select a topic that interests you (we will discuss the appropriateness of your projects throughout the course). Narrow it down so that it is suitable for a scholarly interrogation. Keep in mind that most students try too much in their research.

Undertake a literary search for your chosen topic. Identify a minimum of 12 academic texts of high quality, from the social sciences and/or humanities (books, journal articles – the texts should be suitable for comparison).

Websites that are not explicitly part of the social science discourse do not count as references. Wikipedia is NOT an appropriate source and may not be used!

Your paper must present your research in a way that maintains academic integrity whilst also engaging the reader with your ethnographic material. You should connect your material to larger processes, using sound theoretical foundations and consistent and measured analysis. However, there is no self evident logical progression between method and writing. The ethnographer’s theoretical approach and stylistic writing decisions radically shape the presentation of ethnographic data.

During seminars, we will be discussing various stylistic choices in writing ethnography.  How do they describe and analyse?  How is description linked with method?  What are the rhetorical techniques that they use to persuade the reader of the validity of their analysis or method?  What political and ethical positions lie behind the writing decisions they make?

The paper should include the following information:

  • A strategic sample of your primary ethnographic material, thoughtfully extracted from your fieldnotes to draw out the key insights of your ethnography.
  • A discussion of the academic literature relating to your research question and findings. (What other researchers have tackled this issue?  What have they said about the topic?  What are the points of difference between theorists? How is your project similar to, or different from, those of other researchers?)
  • You should use 15 to 20 academic references from the social sciences and/or humanities (books, journal articles). Websites that are not explicitly part of the social science discourse do not count as references. 
  • A detailed discussions of research methods, rationales for choice of methods, background readings on the research questions as they are relevant to methodology. 
  • What did you discover?
  • What is the significance of this project?  What new insight will it shed on the research question?
  • Format: For all assignments, please see the writing guidelines on the Anthropology homepage for citation and referencing guidelines (you should use in-text citations and Harvard-style referencing).

It is not enough to simply make declarative statements. You must present EVIDENCE from your own empirical research and from academic literature. An author must always keep in mind that he or she has to convince the reader of his or her point of view: argue, show and prove.

Critically interrogate your assumptions. How did you arrive at them? Could there be other positions? Actively search other positions. Explain the different arguments and compare them. What do you conclude from the comparison?

You will get feedback on the quality of your paper.

For class, we will be reading excerpts from a range of different ethnographies (both old and new). During seminars, we will be discussing these authors’ stylistic choices in writing ethnography.  How do they describe and analyse?  How is description linked with method?  What are the rhetorical techniques that they use to persuade the reader of the validity of their analysis or method?  What political and ethical positions lie behind the writing decisions they make?  


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Relate their experiences to some of the research problems and ethical dilemmas which emerge in key ethnographic texts.
  • Think about the selection of “informants” and field sites and how they shape both methodologies and research outcomes;
  • Reflect on the differences/similarities between applied and academic anthropology;
  • Design, implement, and write up their own research project;
  • Gain familiarity with a variety of methodological techniques;
  • Develop skills in ethnographic research, writing and oral presentation;
  • Learn about current debates over human research ethics and informed consent;

Delivery and Resources

iLearn will be used to support this unit but Echo360 will not be used. If students miss a session it is their responsibility -- not the convenor’s -- to ensure that they are up to date. The convenor strongly recommends that you make at least one friend in this unit so that you have someone to share notes with if you miss.

**Weekly attendance is compulsory**

Unit Schedule

Week 1: Introductions

Optional Readings:

  • Lave, Jean, and Steinar Kvale. 2006. What is anthropological research? An interview with Jean Lave by Steinar Kvale. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education 8(3): 219-228.
  • Porter, J. D. H. 2006. Epidemiological reflections of the contribution of anthropology to public health policy and practice. Journal of Biosocial Science, 38, 133–144.

Week 2: Field Sites and Research Questions

Readings:

  • Silverman, David. 1992. Beginning Research, Ch 1, Interpreting Qualitative Data, London: Sage.
  • Gupta, Akhil & James Ferguson. 1997. Discipline and Practice: ‘The Field’ as Site, Method, and Location in Anthropology. In Anthropological Locations: Boundaries and Grounds of a Field Science. Gupta and Ferguson, eds. University of California Press, pp.1-18.
  • Moone, Janet. 1973.  The Best Laid Plans: Research Pre-design and Field Revision, Anthropological Quarterly (46) 1: 7-14.

Week 3: Ethical and Political Issues

Readings:

  • Wynn, L.L., Paul Mason, and Kristina Everett, 2009. Human Research Ethics Online Training Module for the Social Sciences and Humanities. Available online at http://www.mq.edu.au/ethics_training. Finish reading entire module for seminar discussion in Week 3 and turn in quiz certificate results in class during Week 4. 
  • Jacobs, Sue-Ellen. 1987. Cases and Solutions. In Handbook on Ethical Issues in Anthropology, Joan Cassell and Sue-Ellen Jacobs, eds. American Anthropological Association. pp. 20-36.

Week 4: Participant Observation and note-taking

Readings:

  • Gusterson, Hugh. 2008. Ethnographic research. In Qualitative methods in international relations, pp. 93-113. Palgrave Macmillan UK.

  • Bernard, Russell. 2002. Field Notes: How to Take Them, Code Them and Manage Them. In Research methods in anthropology: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches. 4th edition. Pp. 387-412. Lanham, MD: Alta Mira Press.

Week 5: Systematic observation

Readings:

  • Kellehear, Allan. 1993. Simple observation. In The Unobtrusive Researcher: A Guide to Methods. Allen & Unwin, pp.115-137.
  • Bestor, Theodore. 2003. Inquisitive Observation: Following Networks in Urban Fieldwork. In Doing Fieldwork in Japan. Theodore Bestor, Patricia G. Steinhoff, and Victoria Lyon-Bestor, eds. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press. pp. 315-334.

Week 6: Interviewing

Readings:

  • Madison, Soyini. 2005. 22-41. In Critical Ethnography: Method, Ethics, and Performance Thousand Oaks: Sage Press
  • Briggs, Charles L. 1984. "Learning how to ask: Native metacommunicative competence and the incompetence of fieldworkers." Language in Society 13(1): 1-28. (If you did not do Anth 324 and read this.)
  • Leech, Beth L. 2002. "Asking questions: Techniques for semistructured interviews." PS: Political Science & Politics 35(4): 665-668.

Week 7: Qualitative analysis

Readings:

  • LeComte, Margaret D., and Jean J. Schensul. 1999. Creating Interpretations. In Analyzing & Interpreting Ethnographic Data. Ethnographer’s Toolkit. Volume 5. Pp. 213-225. Walnut Creek, Ca: AltaMira (Sage).
  • Silverman, David. 2006. ‘Texts’ (Chapter 5). In Interpreting Qualitative Data: Methods for Analyzing Talk, Text and Interaction. Sage. Pp. 159-205. (Available online through library.)

Week 8: Digital tools & virtual research

Readings:

  • Pink, Sarah. 2004. Performance, self-representation and narrative: Interviewing with video. In Seeing is Believing? Approaches to Visual Research, Christopher Poole, ed. pp. 61-77. Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
  • Hallett, Ronald E., and Kristen Barber. 2014. Ethnographic research in a cyber era. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 43(3): 306-330.

Week 9: Secondary research & globalisation

Readings:

  • Falzon, Mark-Anthony. 2009. Multi-sited ethnography. In Multi-Sited Ethnography: Theory, Praxis and Locality in Contemporary Research. M. A. Falzon, ed. Routledge. Pp. 1-23.
  • Stoller, Paul. 1997. Globalizing method: The problems of doing ethnography in transnational spaces. Anthropology and Humanism 22(1): 81-94.

Week 10:  Applied ethnography

Readings:

  • Trotter, R. T. II and J. J. Schensul. 1998. Methods in Applied Anthropology. (Ch 18) In H. Russell Bernard (ed.) Handbook of Methods in Cultural Anthropology. USA: Altamira Press. Pp 691-735.
  • Mosse, David. 2004. Is Good Policy Unimplementable? Reflections on the Ethnography of Aid Policy and Practice. Development & Change 35(4): 639-671.
  • Madsbjerg, Christian, and Mikkel B. Rasmussen. 2014. An anthropologist walks into a bar. Harvard Business Review 92(3): 80-88.

Week 11: Collaboration & field relations

Readings:

  • Lassiter, Luke Eric. 2008. Moving past public anthropology and doing collaborative research. Annals of Anthropological Practice 29(1): 70-86.
  • Green, Geraldine and Dickson, Kathryn L. 2001. Participatory action research: Lessons learned with Aboriginal grandmothers. Health care for women international 22(5): 471-482.

Week 12: Writing ethnography

Readings:

  • Narayan, Kirin. 2007. Tools to shape texts: what creative nonfiction can offer ethnography. Anthropology and Humanism 32(2): 130-44.

Week 13: Reflections and reports

No Readings

 

Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central (https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policy-central). Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Undergraduate students seeking more policy resources can visit the Student Policy Gateway (https://students.mq.edu.au/support/study/student-policy-gateway). It is your one-stop-shop for the key policies you need to know about throughout your undergraduate student journey.

If you would like to see all the policies relevant to Learning and Teaching visit Policy Central (https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policy-central).

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct: https://students.mq.edu.au/study/getting-started/student-conduct​

Results

Results shown in iLearn, or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit ask.mq.edu.au.

Student Support

Macquarie University provides a range of support services for students. For details, visit http://students.mq.edu.au/support/

Learning Skills

Learning Skills (mq.edu.au/learningskills) provides academic writing resources and study strategies to improve your marks and take control of your study.

Student Enquiry Service

For all student enquiries, visit Student Connect at ask.mq.edu.au

Equity Support

Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Service who can provide appropriate help with any issues that arise during their studies.

IT Help

For help with University computer systems and technology, visit http://www.mq.edu.au/about_us/offices_and_units/information_technology/help/

When using the University's IT, you must adhere to the Acceptable Use of IT Resources Policy. The policy applies to all who connect to the MQ network including students.

Graduate Capabilities

PG - Critical, Analytical and Integrative Thinking

Our postgraduates will be capable of utilising and reflecting on prior knowledge and experience, of applying higher level critical thinking skills, and of integrating and synthesising learning and knowledge from a range of sources and environments. A characteristic of this form of thinking is the generation of new, professionally oriented knowledge through personal or group-based critique of practice and theory.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the processes of a human research ethics application;
  • Relate their experiences to some of the research problems and ethical dilemmas which emerge in key ethnographic texts.
  • Think about the selection of “informants” and field sites and how they shape both methodologies and research outcomes;
  • Reflect on the differences/similarities between applied and academic anthropology;
  • Design, implement, and write up their own research project;
  • Gain familiarity with a variety of methodological techniques;
  • Develop skills in ethnographic research, writing and oral presentation;
  • Learn about current debates over human research ethics and informed consent;

Assessment tasks

  • Seminar Prep and Participation
  • Human Research Ethics Training
  • Observational Foray
  • Research Proposal
  • Ethnographic Journal
  • Peer Review of Proposal
  • Research Paper

PG - Effective Communication

Our postgraduates will be able to communicate effectively and convey their views to different social, cultural, and professional audiences. They will be able to use a variety of technologically supported media to communicate with empathy using a range of written, spoken or visual formats.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the processes of a human research ethics application;
  • Relate their experiences to some of the research problems and ethical dilemmas which emerge in key ethnographic texts.
  • Think about the selection of “informants” and field sites and how they shape both methodologies and research outcomes;
  • Reflect on the differences/similarities between applied and academic anthropology;
  • Design, implement, and write up their own research project;
  • Receive regular feedback and have opportunities to discuss what they have learned with peers and instructors;
  • Gain familiarity with a variety of methodological techniques;
  • Develop skills in ethnographic research, writing and oral presentation;
  • Learn about current debates over human research ethics and informed consent;

Assessment tasks

  • Seminar Prep and Participation
  • Observational Foray
  • Research Proposal
  • Ethnographic Journal
  • Peer Review of Proposal
  • Research Paper

PG - Discipline Knowledge and Skills

Our postgraduates will be able to demonstrate a significantly enhanced depth and breadth of knowledge, scholarly understanding, and specific subject content knowledge in their chosen fields.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the processes of a human research ethics application;
  • Relate their experiences to some of the research problems and ethical dilemmas which emerge in key ethnographic texts.
  • Think about the selection of “informants” and field sites and how they shape both methodologies and research outcomes;
  • Reflect on the differences/similarities between applied and academic anthropology;
  • Design, implement, and write up their own research project;
  • Receive regular feedback and have opportunities to discuss what they have learned with peers and instructors;
  • Gain familiarity with a variety of methodological techniques;
  • Develop skills in ethnographic research, writing and oral presentation;
  • Learn about current debates over human research ethics and informed consent;

Assessment tasks

  • Seminar Prep and Participation
  • Human Research Ethics Training
  • Observational Foray
  • Research Proposal
  • Ethnographic Journal
  • Peer Review of Proposal
  • Research Paper

PG - Research and Problem Solving Capability

Our postgraduates will be capable of systematic enquiry; able to use research skills to create new knowledge that can be applied to real world issues, or contribute to a field of study or practice to enhance society. They will be capable of creative questioning, problem finding and problem solving.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the processes of a human research ethics application;
  • Relate their experiences to some of the research problems and ethical dilemmas which emerge in key ethnographic texts.
  • Think about the selection of “informants” and field sites and how they shape both methodologies and research outcomes;
  • Reflect on the differences/similarities between applied and academic anthropology;
  • Design, implement, and write up their own research project;
  • Gain familiarity with a variety of methodological techniques;
  • Develop skills in ethnographic research, writing and oral presentation;
  • Learn about current debates over human research ethics and informed consent;

Assessment tasks

  • Human Research Ethics Training
  • Observational Foray
  • Research Proposal
  • Ethnographic Journal
  • Peer Review of Proposal
  • Research Paper

PG - Engaged and Responsible, Active and Ethical Citizens

Our postgraduates will be ethically aware and capable of confident transformative action in relation to their professional responsibilities and the wider community. They will have a sense of connectedness with others and country and have a sense of mutual obligation. They will be able to appreciate the impact of their professional roles for social justice and inclusion related to national and global issues

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the processes of a human research ethics application;
  • Relate their experiences to some of the research problems and ethical dilemmas which emerge in key ethnographic texts.
  • Think about the selection of “informants” and field sites and how they shape both methodologies and research outcomes;
  • Reflect on the differences/similarities between applied and academic anthropology;
  • Design, implement, and write up their own research project;
  • Receive regular feedback and have opportunities to discuss what they have learned with peers and instructors;
  • Gain familiarity with a variety of methodological techniques;
  • Develop skills in ethnographic research, writing and oral presentation;
  • Learn about current debates over human research ethics and informed consent;

Assessment tasks

  • Seminar Prep and Participation
  • Human Research Ethics Training
  • Observational Foray
  • Research Proposal
  • Ethnographic Journal
  • Peer Review of Proposal
  • Research Paper

PG - Capable of Professional and Personal Judgment and Initiative

Our postgraduates will demonstrate a high standard of discernment and common sense in their professional and personal judgment. They will have the ability to make informed choices and decisions that reflect both the nature of their professional work and their personal perspectives.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the processes of a human research ethics application;
  • Relate their experiences to some of the research problems and ethical dilemmas which emerge in key ethnographic texts.
  • Think about the selection of “informants” and field sites and how they shape both methodologies and research outcomes;
  • Reflect on the differences/similarities between applied and academic anthropology;
  • Design, implement, and write up their own research project;
  • Receive regular feedback and have opportunities to discuss what they have learned with peers and instructors;
  • Gain familiarity with a variety of methodological techniques;
  • Develop skills in ethnographic research, writing and oral presentation;
  • Learn about current debates over human research ethics and informed consent;

Assessment tasks

  • Seminar Prep and Participation
  • Human Research Ethics Training
  • Observational Foray
  • Research Proposal
  • Ethnographic Journal
  • Peer Review of Proposal
  • Research Paper

Changes from Previous Offering

This unit is being convened by Prof. Greg Downey for the first time. Some of the readings and topics have been changed and the assessment structure has been simplified from previous offerings. One assessment task has been removed.