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The MRes provides training in research methods combined with work on a specific anthropological research project.

During this course, systematic critical discussion of your own and other research projects trains you in:

  • How fieldwork contributes to social scientific knowledge
  • How to isolate the theoretical questions that inform particular pieces of ethnography
  • How to identify the kinds of empirical evidence necessary to address those questions

You are allocated a supervisor and faculty advisor in the same way as those registered for the PhD; and you will normally continue with this supervisor throughout your PhD.


Details of the course

The taught element of this course consists of these compulsory streams:

  • The Pre-fieldwork seminar
  • The Ethnographic Methods Course, Parts I (Michaelmas) and II (Lent)
  • Statistics for Social Anthropologists (workshop in Michaelmas term)
  • The Social Sciences’ Research Methods Centre  modules on Foundations in Applied Statistics, Basic Quantitative Analysis and Designing Surveys. For further information please see the SSRMC timetable.

Please see the MRes Course Outline and the MRes/PhD1 Timetable. Reading lists for the Pre-field seminar and Ethnographic Methods courses are available from the MRes/PhD1 Moodle Course.

You are also strongly encouraged to attend other optional elements:

  • The ‘Experiences from the Field’ seminar, run by writing-up students recently returned from the field.
  • Ad hoc sessions in Transferable Skills or anthropological methods, such as technologies of research and data management, film-making and research with children.
  • The Senior Research Seminar, scheduled for Fridays during term time. This is the place where the division really gets together, and we attract very good speakers from the UK and overseas.
  • The Senior Seminar Analysis, held on Monday afternoons in Michaelmas and Easter Term.


Additional Training

You are also expected to develop your own training programme by making full use of the range of courses available in the Social Anthropology and the University more widely. You should discuss your training needs with your supervisor, but you should consider the following:

  • Language learning sessions. These can be organised through the University Language Centre or privately, or you can also arrange to attend undergraduate language courses, depending on circumstances.
  • Training in advanced statistical methods or other qualitative social science methods provided by the Joint Schools Course in Research Methods. Of particular interest to you will be the modules on Historical Methods and Sources and Doing Qualitative Interviews, but others may also catch your eye.
  • Participation in Undergraduate or Masters level lectures and seminars which address on themes specific to your research topic (this might for example include attending the seminars in the ethnography of a particular geographical area – see the course information for SAN7).
  • Research seminars at one of the Area Studies centres in the university: African, Middle Eastern, Latin American, South Asian, Mongolia and Inner Asian, Scott Polar.


Introductory week

During the first week, you are required to attend the University’s safety and risk assessment courses and the Division of Social Anthropology’s induction course. You must also attend the Social Science Research Methods Course introduction sessions.

Course Resources

For reading lists, additional teaching materials and assignment upload please see the MRes/PhD1 Moodle Course.

Please note teaching staff and students enrolled on the MRes will automatically be enrolled on the MRes/PhD1 Moodle course and you will find a link to the course in the ‘My Home’ section of Moodle.