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Department of Anthropology and Sociology

Independent Study Project in Social Anthropology

Course Code:
151802039
Unit value:
1
Year of study:
Year 3
Taught in:
Full Year

This course provides final year Anthropology students the opportunity to conduct research and to produce a dissertation on a topic of their choice. The production of a dissertation requires not only keen interest in a particular topic and strong self-motivation, but also a solid foundation in relevant topical and theoretical areas of inquiry and a firm grasp of anthropological theory and methods. Towards this end it is strongly recommended that students wishing to do the ISP take Principals of Social Investigation (PSI) either before or while taking the ISP, although PSI is neither a pre-requisite nor a co-requisite for enrollment in the ISP.  In addition students will need to clearly demonstrate their ability to undertake and successfully complete a course of this kind by obtaining course marks of 60 or higher in their second year.

Before the end of their second year (or the year preceding their final year) students wishing to enroll on the ISP will be required: (a) to produce a 500-word written proposal outlining the topic of their intended ISP; (b) to secure the agreement of a potential supervisor before pre-registration at the end of year two (or at the end of year three for four-year students); and (c) pre-register for the ISP. Following the faculty’s confirmation of a student’s registration – and only when steps (a) and (b) are completed, the ISP convener will provide faculty with a list of students who will be enrolled onto the course.

The department has adopted the above procedure to ensure that students who have achieved high marks, who have demonstrated the ability to write well and work to deadlines are allowed to do the ISP. We are aware that sometimes students wish to take the ISP who may not have achieved the required course marks. Students whose work is borderline may appeal to be allowed to take ISP. The appeal will be heard by a committee composed of the convener of ISP, the Undergraduate Tutor and the proposed supervisor of the ISP. This committee may take into consideration relevant information in assessing an individual’s ability to undertake the ISP and will, if necessary, take advice from the Learning Disabilities Office. Students will be informed about the outcome of their appeal.

This course will be structured as a workshop. En lieu of lectures and classes, students will meet together with the course convener once a week for eight weeks in the first term and two weeks in the second term. Not only will students provide the material (mostly in the form of written works-in-progress) for discussion in these sessions, student commentary on fellow students’ projects will constitute the substance of the workshop. In this collaborative intellectual endeavor, students will be expected to contribute to the production and maintenance of an environment of mutual respect and support. Regular attendance and active participation in the workshop is compulsory. Only students meeting this requirement will be permitted to proceed to the dissertation-writing phase.

In addition to the workshop, each student will work under supervision of a member of the Department of Anthropology teaching staff. Students should take the initiative to discuss their projects with potential supervisors in order to determine suitability and interest. Students will meet with their supervisors twice in the first term (once to agree the topic of their dissertation, and once to discuss the argument and outline of their dissertation), and twice in the second term (once to report progress and discuss any difficulties encountered in writing, and once to discuss a full draft completed by the end of week five in the second term).

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

Students will develop the skills to:

  • work independently on a research question of their choosing;
  • develop and pursue that question via library research (possibly augmented by personal experience);
  • Write an argued essay, of similar length to a journal article, with an apparatus of footnotes and references in standard professional format.
  • evaluate and critique the work of their peers

Method of assessment

100% coursework. Two bound copies of the final work should be submitted to the Faculty of Arts and Humanities office no later than 4:00 pm on the last day of week 2 in term three (Friday May 06, 2011 - this is also the School deadline after which no work may be submitted). Students are encouraged to submit their work well before this deadline. The work must be type-written or computer-generated, in a readable font, double-spaced, with a word count. Maximum length for dissertations is 10,000 words including footnotes, but excluding captions, bibliography, and appendices of original source materials not written by the candidate.  School policy on plagiarism will be strictly enforced.