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Department of Social Anthropology

‘Old’ Selva stands with her grandson and a picture of her own grandmother in front of her home

SAN7: Ethnographic Methods and Writing

This paper addresses the methods, ethical considerations, and representational issues of ethnographic research. The paper has two aims: 

  • To support students to develop the skills necessary to produce their own ethnographic research and writing 
  • To support students to develop the skills necessary to assess and interpret secondary ethnographic research 

The paper provides practical training in research methods; considers the relationship between research and writing; interrogates the ethical and political dimensions of ethnography; explores the role of comparison both within and between ethnographies; considers the relationship between anthropology and the ethnographic method. 

The paper combines lectures in different aspects of ethnography, alongside seminars that focus on two ethnographies read in their entirety. These seminars encourage students to think about issues of representation and literary style, in relationship to questions of method, ethics and analysis. 

Undergraduate students: please note that this paper is intended for IIA HSPS students on single/joint track Social Anthropology degrees. Students that intend to complete a Social Anthropology dissertation in IIB are strongly advised to take this paper in IIA. 

Paper Resources

SAN7 Paper Guide 2024-25

SAN7 Paper Guide 2023-24

For lecture reading lists, additional teaching materials, past exam questions and exam reports please see the SAN7 Moodle Course.

Please note teaching staff and students enrolled on SAN7 will automatically be enrolled on the SAN7 Moodle course and you will find a link to the course in the ‘My Home’ section of Moodle.

If you are a member of the University of Cambridge and you wish to view the reading lists, past exam questions and exam reports then you can access the SAN7 Moodle Course as a guest. For more information on how to access Moodle Courses as a guest please see Moodle Help.