Dissertation: Anthropology - SE998

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
(version 2)
Autumn and Spring
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7 60 (30) DR A Waldstein


Students registering for this dissertation will have successfully completed the 6 modules respectively required for the MAs in Social Anthropology, Visual Anthropology, Anthropology of Ethnicity, Nationalism and Identity, and Environmental Anthropology or the MSc in Ethnobotany.





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. The final essay of their pre-dissertation work will draw together materials they have learned through the preceding terms and will synthesise these with students' research interests in order to set up a prospectus for the thesis proposal itself. Students will be passed into the dissertation module by the examiners meeting on the basis of a pre-presented written plan for their research project prepared under supervision by their tutor and modified in relation to questions and comments raised by staff and fellow students during the research presentation day. Subsequent to this, the student 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 with his or her supervisor and other concerned members of staff. . 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.


This module appears in:

Contact hours


Method of assessment

The dissertation will be of 12,000 words to 15,000 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 MSc degree.
Students are required to pass their dissertation to complete either the MA or 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 initial research proposal and the subsequent 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 their particular subdiscipline of 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 research question
• Design a research project to test the research question
• 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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