ANTH 282 – Research Methods in Anthropology
Instructor: Dr. Melanie Medeiros
Course Meeting Times: Mon. and Wed. 1:00-2:15pm in Bailey 201
Office hours: Mondays 2:30-3:45pm and
You may also email me to make an appointment 3 days in advance.
This course is designed to explore the current state of the art in anthropological methods. Data collected by
participant observation, available in archives, recorded by direct observation or by interview schedules will be
presented. Appropriate qualitative methods will be used to analyze and interpret these materials. Students will be
required to actively engage in data collection, analysis and interpretation.
Required Reading [Complete the reading assignment before coming to class]
Essential Ethnographic Methods: A Mixed Methods Approach, 2nd Edition. 2012. Jean Schensul and Margaret
LeCompte. [do not purchase the 1st Edition].
Additional Reading assignments will be posted to this course's myCourses page under Course Materials.
The reading assignments are mandatory. You should be prepared to discuss these assignments in class and in
their written assignments. The completion of all the reading assignments and participation in class
discussion and activities are essential to your grade in this class.
Attendance and Participation
Your participation grade includes coming to class prepared to discuss the reading assignments, as
well as preparation for and performance in in-class activities such as small group discussions and
workshops, presentations, etc.
Assignments. All assignments are due by 1pm on the day they are due. Detailed descriptions of all these
assignments are available on this course's myCourses page.
1) CITI training certificate (due 9/3) 5 points
2) Key Informant Interview Guide (due 9/29) 7 points
3) Research Design (due 10/1) 20 points
A Participatory Learning Environment
This course, at times, deals with sensitive topics and material. Please be respectful of your classmates
-- listen with interest and be open to ideas and opinions that may differ from your own. Treat your
classmates just as you would like to be treated in classroom and online discussions. This class should
be a comfortable and open environment for you to learn, so please contribute to that environment.
Although this course already has objectives and a structure, I encourage your input on its direction.
Please email me if you have any particular topic you are interested in learning more about, an
assignment or project not listed in the syllabus that you would be interested in doing (to replace one
already listed), etc. I will do my best to accommodate student requests, but cannot guarantee that I
will be able to fulfill all of them.
4) Participant Observation Notes & Essay (due 10/6) 10 points
5) Structured Interview Guide (due 10/13) 7 points
6) Key Informant Interview Essay (due 10/15) 10 points
7) Structured Interview Essay (due 10/22) 10 points
8) Semi-structured Interview Guide (due 10/27) 7 points
9) Literature Review (due 10/29) 20 points
10) Focus Group Interview Guide (due 11/3) 7 points
11) Life History Interview Guide (due 11/10) 7 points
12) Semi-structured Interview Essay (due 11/17) 10 points
13) Focus Group Results Essay (due 11/24) 10 points
14) Life History Interview Essay (due 12/1) 10 points
15) Community Map (due 12/8) 10 points
16) Research Presentation (due 12/3 or 12/8) 20 points
17) Annotated Bibliography (due 12/15) 15 points
18) Ethnography (due 12/15 at 3pm) 100 points
Attendance & Participation 15 points
TOTAL : 300 points
Standard Grade Curve:
Earning 282-300 points = A
Earning 270-281.99 points = A -
Earning 261-269.99 points = B+
Earning 249-260.99 points = B
Earning 240-248.99 points = BEarning
231-239.99 points = C+
Earning 219-230.99 points = C
Earning 204-218.99 points = CEarning
174-203.99 points = D
Earning 0-173.99 points = E
All written assignments and projects must be completed by the start of class (1 pm) on the date they are
listed as due on the syllabus. Late written assignments and projects will be marked down one letter grade for
each day (day = 5 minutes to 24 hours) late.
Plagiarism constitutes a violation of academic honesty and will be dealt with very strictly. Plagiarism is the
representation of someone else’s words or ideas as one’s own, or the arrangement of someone else’s material(s)
as one’s own. Such misrepresentation may be sufficient grounds for a student’s receiving a grade of E for the
paper or presentation involved or may result in an E being assigned as the final grade for the course.
Any one of the following constitutes evidence of plagiarism:
1. direct quotation without identifying punctuation and citation of source;
2. paraphrase of expression or thought without proper attribution;
3. unacknowledged dependence upon a source in plan, organization, or argument.
You can read the college's academic dishonesty and plagiarism policy on-line at:
It is your responsibility to complete course requirements to pass this course. Please contact me if you are
having problems with the course assignments as soon as possible. I have office hours on Mondays from 2:30-
3:45pm and Wednesdays from 2:30-4:15pm. If you are not able to meet on those days/times please email me to
schedule an appointment for another time.
Accommodations: SUNY Geneseo will make reasonable accommodations for persons with documented
physical, emotional, or cognitive disabilities. Accommodations will be made for medical conditions related to
pregnancy or parenting. Students should contact Dean Buggie-Hunt in the Office of Disability Services
(firstname.lastname@example.org or 585-245-5112) and their faculty to discuss needed accommodations as early as
possible in the semester.
Class 1) Monday, 8/25 Introduction to the Course & Research Projects
Class 2) Wednesday, 8/27 Ethnography
- Read: (1) LeCompte, M.D. & Schensul, J. 2010. What is Ethnography? In Designing and Conducting
Ethnographic Research: An Introduction. pp. 1-27.
(2) Wolcott, Harry F. 1999. Ethnography as a Way of Looking (Chapter 3). Walnut Creek, Ca:
AltaMira Press. pp. 41-65
Wolcott, Harry F. 1999. Ethnography as a Way of Seeing (Chapter 4). Walnut Creek, Ca:
AltaMira Press. pp. 65-101.
Class 3) Monday, 9/1 NO CLASS: LABOR DAY
- Homework Due Wednesday 9/3: Complete the CITI "Social and Behavioral Responsible Conduct of
Research" training at https://www.citiprogram.org. Directions for registering can be found in
myCourses/Course Materials/Assignment Descriptions.The training takes several hours to
complete. After completing the training, email the CITI certificate you receive to me by
Wednesday at 1:00pm.
Class 4) Wednesday 9/3 Human Subjects Protection & Research Ethics
- Read: (1) Silverman, Marilyn. 2003. Everyday Ethics: A Personal Journey in Rural Ireland, 1980-
2001. In The Ethics of Anthropology: Debates and Dilemmas. P. Caplan, ed. London:
Routledge, pp. 115-128.
(2) Bourgois, Phillipe. 2007. Confronting the Ethics of Ethnography: Lessons from Fieldwork in
Central America. In Ethnographic Fieldwork: An Anthropological Reader. A. Robben &
J Sluka, eds. pp. 288-297.
(3) Love, Bridget. 2007. Fraught Field Sites: Studying Community Decline and Heritage
Food Revival in Rural Japan. Critical Asian Studies 39(4): 541-557.
Barber, Gill. 2003. To Tell or Not to Tell? Ethics and Secrecy in Anthropology and
Childbearing in Rural Malawi. In The Ethics of Anthropology: Debates and
Dilemmas. P. Caplan, ed. pp. 133-153.
Scheper-Hughes, Nancy. 2004. Parts Unknown: Undercover Ethnography of the
Organ- trafficking Underworld. Ethnography 5(1): 29-73.
- Assignment: Email me the CITI certificate you receive from the "Social and Behavioral
Responsible Conduct of Research" training by 1pm today.
1st Field site Visit Between 9/4 and 9/9: Volunteer and get to know your field site.
Class 5) Monday, 9/8 Ethnographic Fieldwork
- Read: (1) Agar, Michael. Beginning Fieldwork (Chapter 6). 1980. In The Professional Stranger:
An Informal Guide to Ethnography. New York: Academic Press. Pp. 83-117.
(2) Warren, Carol. 2001. Gender and Fieldwork Relations (Chapter 9). In Contemporary
Field Research: Perspectives and Formulations, R. Emerson, ed. Prospect
Heights, Illinois: Waveland Press. Pp. 203-222.
Altork, Kate. 2007. Walking the Fire Line: The Erotic Dimension of the Fieldwork
Experience. In Ethnographic Fieldwork: An Anthropological Reader. (A.
Robben and J. Sluka, editors). Blackwell Publishing, pp. 92-107.
Kondo, Dorrine. 2001. How the Problem of “Crafting Selves” Emerged. In
Contemporary Field Research: Perspectives and Formulations (Robert
Emerson, editor). Prospect Heights, Illinois: Waveland Press, pp. 188-202.
Class 6) Wednesday, 9/10 Participant Observation
- Read: (1) Schensul and LeCompte. 2012. Participant Observation and Informal Interviewing in the
Field (Ch. 4). In Essential Ethnographic Methods: A Mixed Methods Approach.
Rowan & Littlefield. Pp. 83-111.
(2) Emerson, Robert M., Fretz, Rachel, and Shaw, Linda. 1995. Writing Ethnographic Field
notes. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, (Chapter 1) pp. 1-16.
(3) DeWalt, K. & DeWalt, B. 2002. Informal interviewing in participant observation (Chapter
7). In Participant Observation: A Guide for Fieldworkers. CA: Altamira Press. pp. 120-
Angrosino, Michael. 2007. Naturalistic Observation. Walnut Creek, Ca.: Left Coast
Press. pp. 1-22.
DeWalt, Kathleen, Dewalt, Billie with Wayland, Coral. 1998. Participant Observation.
In Handbook of Methods in Cultural Anthropology, H.R. Bernard, ed. Walnut
Creek, Ca.: Altamira Press. pp. 259-291.
Emerson, Robert M., Fretz, Rachel, and Shaw, Linda. 1995. Writing Ethnographic Field
notes. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, (Chapter 2).
-Assignment: Be prepared to discuss your first visit to your field site.
2nd Field site Visit Between 9/11 and 9/16: Conduct Participant Observation
Class 7) Monday, 9/15 Research Design
- Read: LeCompte & Schensul. 2010. Choosing and Designing a Research Project. In Designing and
Conducting Ethnographic Research: An Introduction. pp. 129-146.
Class 8) Wednesday, 9/17 Research Design Workshop
- Assignment: Be prepared to discuss your 2nd visit to your field site
3rd Field site Visit Between 9/18 and 9/23: Continue Participant Observation during this visit and all visits
Class 9) Monday, 9/22 Conducting Key Informant Interviews
- Read: (1) Tremblay, M. 1957. The Key Informant Technique: A Nonethnographic Application.
American Anthropologist 59(4): 688-698.
(2) Marshall, MN. 1996. The Key Informant Technique. Family Practice 13(1): 92-97.
(3) Manderson, Lenore, Bennett, Elizabeth, and Andajani-Sutjaho, Sari. 2006. The Social
Dynamics of the Interview: Age, Class and Gender. Qualitative Health Research
Class 10) Wednesday, 9/24 Key Informant Interviews Workshop
- Assignment: Be prepared to discuss your 3rd visit to your field site
4th Field site Visit Between 9/25 and 9/30: PO & Schedule a Key Informant Interview for your next visit
Class 11) Monday, 9/29 Data Analysis
- Read: (1) McLellan, E. MacQueen, K., and J. Neidig. 2003. Beyond the Qualitative Interview:
Data Preparation and Transcription. Field Methods 15: 63-81.
(2) Markovic, M. 2006. Analyzing Qualitative Data: Health Care Experiences of Women
with Gynecological Cancer. Field Methods 18: 413-427.
(3) Bernard, H.R., and G. Ryan. 2010. Finding Themes (Chapter 3). In Analyzing
Qualitative Data: Systematic Approaches. Los Angeles: Sage Publications. pp. 53-73.
-Assignment: Key Informant Interview Guide Due
Class 12) Wednesday, 10/1 Literature Reviews & Library Research
Meet in Milne Library Room 104
- Read: (1) Denney, A. and R. Tewksbury. 2013. How to Write a Literature Review. Journal of
Criminal Justice Education 24(2): 218-234.
(2) Taylor and Procter. The Literature Review: A Few Tips on Conducting It. 1-2.
(3) Waterston, A. The Editor's Note: Marriage and Other Arrangements. 2013. Open
Anthropology 1(1): 1-8.
(4) Cummings, N. M. Literature Review: Anthropological Perspectives on Contemporary
Andean Healing Practices. 1-8.
(5) Knott, D. 2004. Writing An Annotated Bibliography. New College Writing Center. 1-2.
Nichter, M. 2010. Idioms of Distress Revisited.
- Assignment: Research Design: Problem Statement, Research Questions and Objectives Due
5th Field site Visit Between 10/2 and 10/7: PO & Conduct at least 1 Key Informant Interview
Class 13) Monday, 10/6 Structured Interviews
- Read: Schensul and LeCompte. 2012. Structured Approaches to Ethnographic Data Collection:
Surveys (Ch. 9). In Essential Ethnographic Methods: A Mixed Methods Approach. Rowan &
Littlefield. Pp. 241-279.
- Assignment: Participant Observation Notes & Essay Due
Class 14) Wednesday, 10/8 Structured Interview Workshop
- Assignment: Be prepared to discuss your 4th 5th visit to your field site
Holiday Weekend: Field Site Visit is Not Mandatory
Class 15) Monday, 10/13 NO CLASS
- Assignment: Structured Interview Guide Due via Email
Class 16) Wednesday, 10/15 Visual Research Methods/Visual Ethnography
- Read: (1) Keller, Colleen, Fleury, J., Perez A., Ainsworth, B. and L. Vaughn. 2008. Using
Visual Methods to Uncover Context. Qualitative Health Research (18): 428-436.
(2) Wang, C. Morrel-Samuels, S., Hutchinson, P., Bell, L, and R. Pestronk. 2004. Flint
Photo voice: Community Building among Youths, Adults and Policy makers.
American Journal of Public Health 94(6): 911-913.
(3) Tanjasiri, S.P., R. Lew, D. Kuratani et al. Using Photovoice to assess and promote
environmental approaches to tobacco control in AAPI Communities. Health
Promotion and Practice 2011 (12): 654-664.
(4) Hannay et al. 2013. Combing Photovoice and Focus Groups: Engaging Latina Teens
in Community Assessment. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 44(3S3):
- Assignment: Key Informant Interview Results Essay Due
6th Field site Visit Between 10/16 and 10/21: PO & Conduct at least 5 Structured Interviews
Class 17) Monday, 10/20 Semi-structured Interview
- Read: (1) Schensul and LeCompte. 2012. In Depth, Open Ended Interviewing (Ch. 6). In Essential
Ethnographic Methods: A Mixed Methods Approach. London: AltaMira Press. pp. 121-
(2) Schensul and LeCompte. 2012. Semistructured Interviews and Observations (Ch. 7). In
Essential Ethnographic Methods: A Mixed Methods Approach. London: AltaMira
Press. Pp. 171-194.
Class 18) Wednesday, 10/22 Semi-structured Interview Workshop
- Assignment: (1) Be prepared to discuss your 6th visit to your field site
(2) Structured Interview Results Essay Due
7th Field site Visit Between 10/23 and 10/28: PO & Conduct at least 5 more Structured Interviews
Class 19) Monday, 10/27 Focus Groups
- Read: (1) Schensul, Jean and LeCompte, M.D. Focus Group Interviews (Ch. 8). 2012. In Essential
Ethnographic Methods: A Mixed Methods Approach. New York: AltaMira Press. Pp.
(2) Kitzinger, Jenny. 1994. The Methodology of Focus Groups: The Importance of Interaction
Between Research Participants. Sociology of Health and Illness 16(1): 103-121.
- Assignment: Semi-structured Interview Guide Due
Class 20) Wednesday, 10/29 Focus Group Interview Guide Workshop
- Read: Hollander, Jocelyn. 2004. The Social Contexts of Focus Groups. Journal of Contemporary
Ethnography 33(5): 602-637.
- Assignment: (1) Literature Review Due
(2) Be prepared to discuss your 7th visit to your field site.
8th Field site Visit Between 10/30 and 11/4: PO & Conduct at least 4 Semi-Structured Interviews
Class 21) Monday, 11/3 Life History Interviews
- Read: (1) Jovchelovitch, Sandra and Martin Bauer. 2000. Narrative Interviewing [online].
London: LSE Research Online. pp. 1-13.
(2) Ochs, Elinor and Capps, Lisa. 1996. Narrating the Self. Annual Reviews of
Anthropology 25: 19-43.
- Assignment: Focus Group Interview Guide Due
Class 22) Wednesday, 11/5 Life History Interview Workshop
- Read: (1) Yarris, Kristin. 2011. The Pain of “Thinking Too Much”: Dolor de Cerebro
and the Embodiment of Social Hardship among Nicaraguan Women.
Ethos 39(2): 226-246.
(2) Seligmann, Linda J. 2009. Maternal Politics and Religious Fervor: Exchanges between
an Andean Market Woman and an Ethnographer. Ethos 37(3): 334-355.
-Assignment: Be prepared to discuss your 8th visit to your field site
9th Field site Visit Between 11/6 & 11/11. Conduct at least 4 more Semi-structured Interviews
Class 23) Monday, 11/10 Writing Ethnography Part 1
- Read: (1) Marcus, G. and D. Cushman. 1982. Ethnographies As Texts. Annual Review of Anthropology
(2) Tierney, W.G. 2002. Get Real. Qualitative Studies in Education 15(4): 385-398.
-Assignment: Life History Interview Guide Due
Class 24) Wednesday, 11/12 Writing Ethnography Part 2
- Read: (1) Stoller, Paul. 1994. Ethnographies as Texts/Ethnographers as Griots. American Ethnologist
(2) Geertz, C. 1973. Thick Description: Toward an Interpretive Theory of Culture. In The
Interpretation of Culture. pp. 3-30.
- Assignment: Be prepared to discuss your 9th visit to your field site
10th Field site Visit Between 11/12 and 11/18. Conduct at least 2 Life History Interviews
Class 25) Monday, 11/17 Community Participatory Research
- Read: (1) Wallerstein, N. and Duran, B. 2006. Using Community-based Participatory Research to
Address Health Disparities. Health Promotion Practice. 7(3): 312-321.
(2) Minkler, Meredith. 2004. Ethical Challenges For the “Outside” Researcher in
Community-based Participatory Research. Health Education and Behavior 31: 684-
(3) Schensul, S., LoBianco, L., C. Lombardo. 2004. Youth Participatory Action Research
in Public Schools: Opportunities and Challenges in an Inner City High School.
Practicing Anthropology 26(2): 10-14.
(4) Shulman, S., Katz, J., C. Quinn, & P. Srivastava. 2005. Empowering Environmentally
Burdened Communities in the US: A Primer On the Emerging Role For
Information Technology. Local Environment 10(5): 501-510.
- Assignment: Semi-structured Interview Results Essay Due [Use thick description]
Class 26) Wednesday, 11/19 Community Mapping
- Read: (1) Maman et al. 2009. Using Participatory Mapping to Inform a Communityrandomized
trial of HIV counseling and testing. Field Methods 21(4): 368-385.
(2) Perin, Jodi. 2007. Participatory Community Mapping in a Family Literacy Program.
Practicing Anthropology 39(4): 19-23.
(3) Smith, D.A. 2003. Participatory Mapping of Community Lands and Hunting Yields
Among the Bugle of Western Panama. Human Organization 62(4): 332-343.
(4) Nichter, Mark. Forward. 2007. Participatory GIS. Practicing Anthropology 29(4): 2-3.
- Assignment: Be prepared to discuss your 10th visit to your field site
11th Field site Visit Between 11/20 and 12/2. Conduct at least 2 more Life History Interviews
Class 27) Monday, 11/24 To-Be-Determined
- Assignment: Focus Group Results Essay Due [Use thick description]
Class 28) Wednesday, 11/26 NO CLASS
Holiday Weekend: Field Site Visit is Not Mandatory
Class 29) Monday, 12/1 To-Be-Determined
-Assignment: Life History Interview Results Essay Due [Use thick description]
Class 30) Wednesday, 12/3 Research Presentations
-Assignment: Be prepared to discuss your 11th visit to your field site
12th Field site Visit Between 12/4 and 12/7: Create a Community Map
Class 31) Monday, 12/8 Research Presentations
-Assignment: (1) Be prepared to discuss your 12th and final visit to your field site
(2) Community Map Due
Ethnography & Annotated Bibliography Are Due on Monday, December 15th at 3:00 pm
NOTE: This syllabus is subject to change. Reading and written assignments may be removed or added
when the instructor believes it necessary for the course.