Anth 410 - Anthropological Research Design

Course Description

This is a first course in the basic principles of research design for undergraduate and graduate students in cultural anthropology, biological anthropology, and archaeology. The objective is to introduce the student to a philosophy of research design and a broad range of approaches and methods. Topics to be covered include research ethics, approaches to framing questions and designing research, proposal writing, sampling, the design of questionnaires and other kinds of data collection forms, data collection techniques, and general problems of measuring quantitative and qualitative data in anthropological research.

Course Outline

Lec/Disc: MWF 11-11.50 am, 113 Davenport Hall



Jan 17


Jan 19-26

  Research Ethics

Jan 29-31

  Anthropology as Science or Art

Feb 5

  Choosing Research Problems

Feb 7-9

  Research Proposal Basics

Feb 12-14

  Theory and Its Components

Feb 16-21

  Hypothesis Formulation

Feb 26-28


Mar 5-7

  Surveys; Sampling Basics

Mar 12-14

  Questionnaire Design

Mar 16

  No class; exam due by 2 pm

Mar 19-23

  Spring Break

Mar 26-28


Apr 2

  Indirect Observation

Apr 4-9

  Document Analysis

Apr 9-11


Apr 16-18

  Experiments & Simulations

Apr 23 - May 2

  Student Presentations; Work on Projects

May 11

  Proposals due by noon


Each student will be expected to participate actively in class discussions and presentations of research design issues and projects. Problem sets that apply principles covered in class will be assigned throughout the semester. There will be one essay-type exam and a research design project.

Research Design Project (40% of your final grade)

This is the key assignment of the course. It is your opportunity to choose a research problem, formulate a design for solving the problem, and draft a research proposal to implement the design. See the Assignments section of the class web page for details and deadlines.

Homework (40% of your final grade)

The course materials are best learned by applying them. There will be 7-8 homework assignments. Feel free to discuss the homework problems with other students but I want to see your work, not a group consensus. I also want to see the details of your work, but don't hand me a 2 cm thick printout and expect me to explore it to find your answer. If I cannot reconstruct from your homework papers how you came up the results or answers you turn in, then you will receive a low grade for the assignment. No late homework will be accepted for grading.

Exam (20% of your final grade)

A take-home, essay-type examination will be administered about 2/3 of the way through the course to assess the extent to which you command the course materials.



Instructor:Barry Lewis
Hours: 9-10 MWF
Office: 209f Davenport Hall
Phone: 244-3501

COPYRIGHT © 2007 Barry Lewis All Rights Reserved.
The contents of the syllabus, class materials (including audio-visual) and lectures for this course are copyrighted. They are intended for the students' private use and may not be reproduced without the permission of the professor.