799B Dissertation (MRes) in Anthropology

Key information

Start date
End date
Year of study
Final Year
Module code
FHEQ Level

Module overview

The dissertation is a compulsory component of the MRes Social Anthropology, following on from the compulsory modules 801 Research Methods in Anthropology , 802 Research Training Seminar , a quantitative methods component and the option modules taken as part of the programme.

Students enrolled on the module are assigned a dissertation supervisor early in the year with whom the topic will be agreed. They meet fortnightly with their supervisors to produce a systematic review of the secondary 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 dissertation with their supervisors, students present their dissertation work at the two-hour weekly Research Training Seminar (802), which runs through two terms and is convened by the Director of Doctoral Studies. Together the one-to-one supervision and the seminar serve to prepare students for writing their dissertation.

The MRes dissertation consists of two parts: 

Part 1 mirrors the MA dissertation and should include an introduction to the research, conceptual framework/literature review, potential findings and empirical evidence (where relevant), and the research question. It should be approximately 12,000 words. 

Part 2 will consist of the methodology, methods, and ethics discussion. This will include a description of the methodological approach (I.e. hermeneutics, interpretivism, feminist methodology, grounded theory, etc.), and the methods/tools that will be used. The methods are not expected to be as detailed as found in the fieldwork plan – no numbers of interviews etc. Part 2 should be approximately 3,000 words. 

The module is assessed entirely (100%) on the final, 15,000-word dissertation. The dissertation element is worth 90 credits. A distinction mark in the dissertation is required for the award of a distinction overall. 



Compulsory for all final-year students on:

  • MRes Social Anthropology
  • MRes Social Anthropology + Intensive Language


Objectives and learning outcomes of the module


On successful completion of this module a student will be able 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;
  • Become precise and cautious in their assessment of evidence, and to understand through practice what documents can and cannot tell us;
  • Design a research project, set a timetable, understand the principles of fieldwork, and consider questions of ethics



Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules