Photo description: Traditional and modern dress in a Mei village, Papua New Guinea. Source Gita Kasthala
Photo description: Malian Tuareg: population diversity. Source, Sara Randall
Photo description: Boy with fish, Southern Lao PDR. Source C. Garaway
The Core Course : Resource Use impacts (2hr seminar/week, Term 1)
The core course focuses on key conceptual issues and methodological tools in the anthropological study of human ecology, environment and development. The aim of the course is to use an interdisciplinary approach, based on current research by contributing staff, to provide students with an overview of some of the current approaches to environmental issues, particularly in less developed countries; and the implications that contrasting understandings have for management and development. The course focuses on patterns of resource use, trends of change, and the implications both for environment and for the social groups involved, working through empirical case studies of actual developing country situations and patterns of change, and focusing primarily on the practical dimensions of the subject whilst being informed by key theoretical approaches. By investigating the way impacts of resource use are measured and interventions planned, and by critically assessing research design and method, this course will equip students with some of the theoretical ideas and practical skills required for their own original research project in the third term.
As well as academic research, this course draws on work with local communities, private firms, the media, governmental and non-governmental organisations, and international agencies, social advisors and project consultants developing policy and practice. We are seeking to develop socially and ecologically sensitive approaches to managing and monitoring natural resource interactions between local communities, national agencies and international corporations.
Topics in the current year include: Local ecological knowledge vs Western science; understanding poverty; livelihoods and wellbeing; social impact assessment/mining;political ecology and community conservation; cultural context of rainforest conservation; and tenure and access
Research Methods in Anthropology (1hr lecture and 2hr practical/week, Term 1 & 2)
The research methods seminars vary from year to year but in the current year they include the following sessions: Participant observation; Ethics; Investigating space and place; Interviews (I & II); Questionnaires (I & II); Sampling; Using new technologies for research; PRA (participatory rural appraisal)); Photography; Investigating kinship and relatedness; Ethnographic writing; Field-notes; Film; Historical sources and Researching ritual
Research methods are assessed through a take-home open-book exercise, which students are given one week to complete at the end of the spring term. Students are given a selection of research questions or problems pertinent to the content of the degree and the student selects one of these setting out a detailed, reasoned approach to investigate and answer the question concerned.
The proposal, an excellent training for both the dissertation and future professional work, includes: Selection of population and/or site; sampling method and sample size; data collection methods ; data analysis plan; timing of data collection and analysis and; a discussion of practical, technical and theoretical problems that might be encountered.
Statistics for Social Scientists (3hr lecture and practical/week, Term 1)
The Statistics course is taught through a series of lectures and practicals. Areas covered include the following: Descriptive statistics; hypothesis testing; categorical data comparisons and non-parametric methods; univariate tests of group difference; correlation and regression analysis; sample size and study design; and relation between quantitative and ethnographic methods. However, the flexible nature of the statistics provision means that, where necessary, students can take additional classes in the second term (including multivariate statistics) if they wish.
Assessment of this course is as for Research Methods in Anthropology detailed above