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    Department of Anthropology and Sociology Logo
  • Study Type

    Full time & Part time available

  • Subject Areas

    Anthropology

  • Start Date

    September

  • Course Duration

    1 year full time, 2-3 years part time

  • Course Type

    MA

  • Course Fees

    website

  • Last Updated

    26 September 2018

Course content

The MA in Anthropological Research Methods (MaRes) may be taken either as a free standing MA or as the first part of a PhD [e.g. as a 1 + 3 research training program]. In either case, the student completes a program of research training that includes the Ethnographic Research Methods, Statistical Analysis and the Research Training Seminar as well as a language option. All MaRes students are assigned a supervisor at the start of the year, who will help the student choose other relevant course options. Candidates must also submit a number of research related assignments which, taken together with the dissertation, are equivalent to approximately 30,000 words of assessed work. All students write an MA dissertation, but for students progressing on to a PhD, the MA dissertation will take the form of a research report that will constitute the first part of the upgrade document for the PhD programme.

Learn about the modules (courses) for this programme

The MaRes is recognised by the ESRC.

Aims and Outcomes

The MA is designed to train students in research skills to the level prescribed by the ESRC’s research training guidelines. It is intended for students with a good first degree (minimum of a 2.1) in social anthropology and/or a taught Masters degree in social anthropology. Most students would be expected to progress to PhD registration at the end of the degree. By the end of the program students will:

  • Have achieved practical competence in a range of qualitative and quantitative research methods and tools;
  • Have the ability to understand key issues of method and theory, and to understand the epistemological issues involved in using different methods.

In addition to key issues of research design, students will be introduced to a range of specific research methods and tools including:

  • Interviewing, collection and analysis of oral sources, analysis and use of documents, participatory research methods, issues of triangulation research validity and reliability, writing and analysing field notes, and ethnographic writing.
  • Social statistics techniques relevant for fieldwork and ethnographic data analysis (including chi-square tests, the T-test, F-test, and the rank correlation test).

Discipline specific training in anthropology includes:

  • Ethnographic methods and participant observation;
  • Ethical and legal issues in anthropological research;
  • The logistics of long-term fieldwork;
  • Familiarisation with appropriate regional and theoretical literatures;
  • Writing-up (in the field and producing ethnography) and communicating research results; and
  • Language training.

Teaching & Learning

This MA is designed to be a shortcut into the PhD in that two of its components (the Research Methods Course and the Research Training Seminar, which supports the writing of the dissertation) are part of the taught elements of the MPhil year. Students on this course are also assigned a supervisor with whom they meet fortnightly as do the MPhil students. The other two elements of the course are unique to each student: and might include doing one of the core courses from the other Masters degrees (Social Anthropology, Anthropology of Development, Medical Anthropology, Anthropology of Media, Anthropology of Travel and Tourism, Migration and Diaspora, or Anthropology of Food), as well as any options that will build analytical skills and regional knowledge, including language training. The MaRes can also be used to build regional expertise or to fill gaps in particular areas such as migration or development theory.

The dissertation for the MaRes will normally be assessed by two readers in October of the following year (that is, after the September 15th due date). Students who proceed onto the MPhil course from the MA will then have the first term of the MPhil year to write a supplementary document that reviews the dissertation and provides a full and detailed Fieldwork Proposal. This, along with research report material from the original MA dissertation, is examined in a viva voce as early as November of the first term of the MPhil year by the same examiners who have read the dissertation. Successful students can then be upgraded to the PhD in term 1 and leave for fieldwork in term 2 of the first year of the MPhil/PhD programme. This programme is currently recognised by the ESRC and therefore interested students who are eligible for ESRC funding can apply under the 1+3 rubric. (ESRC).

Employment

Students of the Masters in Anthropological Research Methods develop a wide range of transferable skills such as research, analysis, oral and written communication skills. 

The communication skills of anthropologists transfer well to areas such as information and technology, the media and tourism. Other recent SOAS career choices have included commerce and banking, government service, the police and prison service, social services and health service administration. Opportunities for graduates with trained awareness of the socio-cultural norms of minority communities also arise in education, local government, libraries and museums.


Visit the Anthropological Research Methods - MA page on the SOAS University of London website for more details!

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