SOAS University of London

Department of Anthropology and Sociology

Dissertation in Anthropological Research Methods (90)

Module Code:
15PANC995
Year of study:
Year 1 or Year 2
Taught in:
Full Year

The module is a core component of the MA Anthropological Research Methods, following on from the core module Research Methods in Anthropology, and from region-specific, language, and other option modules taken on the programme.

Students on the module will be assigned dissertation supervisors early in the year with whom topics are agreed. They meet fortnightly with their supervisors to produce a systematic review of the secondary and regional literature which forms an integral part of their dissertation. The dissertation (15,000 words) constitutes the main work in which students demonstrate the extent to which they have achieved the key learning outcomes of research training.

In addition to discussing their dissertations with their supervisors, students present their dissertation work at the two-hour weekly MPhil/MARes seminar, which runs through three terms and is convened by the Research Tutor. The supervision and the seminar is construed as dissertation preparation that reaches its writing stage in Term 3.

 

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of this module a student will be able to:

  • To assess data and evidence critically from manuscripts and digital sources, solve problems of conflicting sources and conflicting interpretations, locate materials, use research sources (particularly research library catalogues) and other relevant sources;
  • To become precise and cautious in their assessment of evidence, and to understand through practice what documents can and cannot tell us;
  • To design a research project, set a timetable, understand the principles of fieldwork, and consider questions of ethics;
  • To communicate effectively in writing and to structure and communicate ideas effectively both orally and in writing;
  • To learn to read each other’s work for both its strengths and weaknesses, develop their skills as public speakers, learn how to compose short abstracts of their project (for funding applications), be able to think critically and yet be open to being critiques themselves

Workload

  • 2 hours of seminars per week (44 hours total)
  • 1 hour every two weeks of supervision (16 hours total)
  • 840 hours of independent study.

Seminar presentations of dissertation work. Students will present progressively more complex and fully formulated versions of their dissertations from an initial idea and abstract through to more detailed dissertation plans and draft chapters. Participation in the seminar is required but not assessed.

With the help of their supervisors and cohort, students learn to read each other’s work for both its strengths and weaknesses, develop their skills and confidence as public speakers, be able to think critically and yet be open to being critiqued themselves. Small group work and peer-assisted training are part of the MPhil/MARes seminar.

Scope and syllabus

There is no specified syllabus for this module, which is based on specific research topics drawn up by students as part of their dissertation in discussion with their supervisors.  

Method of assessment

100% - 15,000 word dissertation.

Suggested reading

The reading list will be based on specific research topics drawn up by students as part of their dissertation in discussion with their supervisors.

Disclaimer

Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules