Independent Research Project - ANTB5330

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2022 to 2023
Combined Autumn and Spring Terms 6 30 (15) Sarah Johns checkmark-circle


Students will be expected to conduct independent research into some aspect of anthropology, human biology, or behaviour and present their research findings in the form of a 12,000 word (maximum 13,200, minimum 9,000) dissertation, and an oral presentation. They will be assigned a supervisor who work with them, one-on-one, over the course of the module, and who will guide them on their choice of topic, data collection and analysis, and research strategy. Students will also have to submit a project participation file which documents their research process. For the project they can collect and analyse their own, original data, analyse previously collected or published data in an original manner, or combine the two approaches. The research must include collecting/analysing quantitative data, and can include other methods of data collection and analysis where appropriate.


Contact hours



BSc Anthropology, BSc Biological Anthropology, (until the completion of all current students from the 18/19, 19/20, and 20/21 entry cohorts), BSc Human Biology and Behaviour (and cognate year abroad / professional practise programmes)

Method of assessment

Dissertation (Min. 9,000 - Max 13,200 words) (70%)
Participation Folder (no word limit) (10%)
Presentation (20%)

Reassessment: Like-for-Like
Students must repeat the module in attendance if they fail and have not engaged with the supervision or data collection process. A summer re-sit will not be possible if the data collection and analysis process has not been satisfactorily completed.

Indicative reading

Dunbar, R. (2006). The Trouble With Science. Harvard University Press.
Ford, E.D. (2000). Scientific Method for Ecological Research. Cambridge University Press.
Lasker, G.L. & Mascie-Taylor, C.G.N. (2005). Research Strategies in Human Biology. Cambridge University Press.
Day, R.A & Gastel, B. (2011). How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper (7th ed). Greenwood Press.
Pechenik, J.A. & Lamb, B.C. (1996). How To Write About Biology. Prentice Hall.
Bell, J. Doing Your Research Project: A Guide for First Time Researchers in Education, Health and Social Science (Most Recent Edition). Open University Press.
Bernard, H.R. (2005). Research Methods in Anthropology. AltaMira Press.
Brace, N et al. SPSS for Psychologists (Most Recent Edition). London: Palgrave Macmillan
Dancey, C.P, and Reidy, J. (2011). Statistics Without Maths for Psychology. London: Prentice Hall.
Field, A. Discovering Statistics using IBM SPSS Statistics (Most Recent Edition). London: Sage
Fowler, J, Cohen, L and Jarvis, P. (1998). Practical Statistics for Field Biology. John Wiley & Sons.
Madrigal, L. (2012) Statistics for Anthropology. Cambridge University Press.
Pallant, J. SPSS Survival Manual (Most Recent Edition). Open University Press
Rowntree, D. (2000). Statistics Without Tears. Penguin
Sokal R, and Rohlf, F.J. (1995). Biometry (3rd ed.). Freeman and Co.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
8.1 design and conduct a study into one or more aspects of anthropology, human biology, or behaviour (sensu lato).
8.2 interpret research findings and relate them to other research that is published in the relevant literature.
8.3 handle data and use appropriate statistical tests.
8.4 communicate effectively to a variety of audiences and/or using a variety of methods
8.5 appreciate both the reliability and limitations of scientific research.


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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