Dissertation: Environmental Anthropology - SE838

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
(version 2)
Autumn and Spring
View Timetable
7 60 (30) DR R Puri


Students registering for this dissertation will have successfully completed the 6 coursework modules for the MA/MSc Environmental Anthropology.





Throughout the terms preceding the initiation of the dissertation module students will be encouraged by their supervisor and the instructors of other modules they take to develop ideas for their dissertation research project. They will also be taught appropriate research methods. A preliminary abstract of the project is due by the end of the first term. Students will then develop this into a research proposal, which is submitted as the fourth essay. This will be edited and presented to the school for feedback during the Student Research Day and then submitted for a final grade at the end of the second term. Students who are then passed on to the dissertation module by the examiners meeting will, on this basis, complete a written plan for their research project with advice from their tutor. This will be assessed by the tutor and by one other member of the post-graduate anthropology teaching staff, and when this is approved the student and his or her tutor will intensively discuss methods of data collection, theoretical models for the analysis of this material, and the use and integration of research methods into both its preparation and its final presentation. The student will then independently work on the thesis over the summer until mid-September when it will be submitted. Throughout this time the student will be able to gain supervision through electronic mail, and wil have the opportunity to attend various workshop sessions on data analysis and writing.


This module appears in:

Contact hours


Method of assessment

The dissertation will be of 10,000 words to 12,000 and will propose a field of research, review earlier and cognate approaches to that topic, and mobilize ethnographic and other materials so as to set out and test a hypothesis pertaining to that domain. The work will be presented in the form of an academic paper. The thesis will have an abstract and a full bibliography (set out according to the style of the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute) and will provide within its text a literature review, a discussion of methodology, a delineation of the field, a theoretical presentation of the argument, and a testing of that argument against the data collected.
The dissertation will be double marked out of 100% (and scrutinized by the external examiner) and will make up 60 of the 180 credits needed for the MA/MSc degree.
Students are required to pass their dissertation to complete the MA/MSc.

Indicative reading

There is no specific required reading for this module, apart from readings included in the research methods module.
All students will be required to complete their own project specific literature searches and read relevant literature for their research project. They will provide an account of this in the literature review section of the dissertation.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The module will:
• develop the student's ability to conduct research applied to environmental anthropology
• develop the student's ability to organise and express cogently a body of research.
On completion of this module students will be able to:
• Set up a testable hypothesis
• Design a research project to test the hypothesis
• Select an appropriate methodology, involving either qualitative or quantitative approaches, or a combination of the two
• Negotiate access to the field of study, arrange the research and carry out the study
• Conduct data analysis using appropriate methods
• Write up the dissertation

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