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The MA in Anthropological Research Methods (MaRes) may be taken either as a free standing MA or as the first part of a PhD [e.g. as a 1 + 3 research training program]. In either case, the student completes a program of research training that includes the Ethnographic Research Methods, Statistical Analysis and the Research Training Seminar as well as a language option. All MaRes students are assigned a supervisor at the start of the year, who will help the student choose other relevant course options. Candidates must also submit a number of research related assignments which, taken together with the dissertation, are equivalent to approximately 30,000 words of assessed work. All students write an MA dissertation, but for students progressing on to a PhD, the MA dissertation will take the form of a research report that will constitute the first part of the upgrade document for the PhD programme.
The MaRes is recognized by the ESRC.
The MA is designed to train students in research skills to the level prescribed by the ESRCs research training guidelines. It is intended for students with a good first degree (minimum of a 2.1) in social anthropology and/or a taught Masters degree in social anthropology. Most students would be expected to progress to PhD registration at the end of the degree. By the end of the program students will:
- Have achieved practical competence in a range of qualitative and quantitative research methods and tools;
- Have the ability to understand key issues of method and theory, and to understand the epistemological issues involved in using different methods.
In addition to key issues of research design, students will be introduced to a range of specific research methods and tools including:
- Interviewing, collection and analysis of oral sources, analysis and use of documents, participatory research methods, issues of triangulation research validity and reliability, writing and analysing field notes, and ethnographic writing.
- Social statistics techniques relevant for fieldwork and ethnographic data analysis (including chi-square tests, the T-test, F-test, and the rank correlation test).
Discipline specific training in anthropology includes:
- Ethnographic methods and participant observation;
- Ethical and legal issues in anthropological research;
- The logistics of long-term fieldwork;
- Familiarisation with appropriate regional and theoretical literatures;
- Writing-up (in the field and producing ethnography) and communicating research results; and
- Language training.
The Training Programme
In addition to optional courses that may be taken (see below), the student must successfully complete the following core course:
- Research Methods in Anthropology (15 PAN C011).
This full unit course is composed of Ethnographic Research Methods (15 PAN H002, a 0.5 unit course) and Introduction to Statistics - A Graduate Programme at Three Levels (a 0.5 unit course convened at UCL).
MA Anthropological Research Methods students and first year MPhil/PhD are also required to attend the Research Training Seminar which provides training in the use of bibliographic/online resources, ethical and legal issues, communication and team-working skills, career development, etc. The focus of the Research Training Seminar is the development and presentation of the thesis topic which takes the form of a PhD-level research proposal.
MA/MPhil Students meet regularly with their supervisor to produce a systematic review of the secondary and regional literature that forms an integral part of their dissertation/research proposal. The dissertation, Dissertation in Anthropology and Sociology (15 PAN C998), is approximately 15,000 words and demonstrates the extent to which students have achieved the key learning outcomes during the first year of research training. The dissertation takes the form of an extended research proposal that includes:
- A review of the relevant theoretical and ethnographic literature;
- An outline of the specific questions to be addressed, methods to be employed, and the expected contribution of the study to anthropology;
- A discussion of the practical, political and ethical issues likely to affect the research; and
- A presentation of the schedule for the proposed research together with an estimated budget.
The MA dissertation is submitted no later than mid-September of the students final year of registration. Two soft-bound copies of the dissertation, typed or word-processed, should be submitted to the Faculty of Arts and Humanities Office by 4 pm on the appropriate day.
Exemption from Training
Only those students who have clearly demonstrated their knowledge of research methods by completing a comparable program of study in qualitative and quantitative methods will be considered for a possible exemption from the taught courses. All students, regardless of prior training, are required to participate in the Research Training Seminar.
Structure of Study
Learn a language as part of this programme
Degree programmes at SOAS - including this one - can include language courses in more than forty African and Asian languages. It is SOAS students command of an African or Asian language which sets SOAS apart from other universities.
A typical program of study would involve enrolling and passing (an asterisk * indicates a required component of the degree) three full units (this includes the two half units on research methods) and submitting a dissertation.
Term 1 Generic Training
- Language Training
- Special Course Option
- Ethnographic Research Methods
- Research Training Seminar
- Work with Supervisor
Term 2 Generic Training
- Language Training
- Special Course Option
- Introduction to Statistics
- Research Training Seminar
- Work with Supervisor
- Research Training Seminar: presentations to subject group
- Work with Supervisor
- Submission of dissertation/research proposal
Students can choose to study any African or Asian language that is normally available to students taking one of the taught masters programs.
- Theoretical Approaches to Social Anthropology - 15PANC008 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Comparative Studies of Society and Culture - 15PANC073 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Comparative Media Studies - 15PANC009 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Comparative Media Theory - 15PANH028 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Issues in the Anthropology of Film - 15PANH022 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- The Anthropology of Food - 15PANC013 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Anthropological Approaches to Agriculture, Food and Nutrition - (0.5 Unit)
- Food, Body And Society - 15 PAN H041 (0.5 Unit) - Cannot be taken with Food Development and the Global Economy
- Food, Development and the Global Economy - 15PANH042 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2 - Cannot be taken with Food Body and Society.
- Issues in the Anthropology of Gender - 15PANH024 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2 - Not to be combined with 15PDSH010 Gender & Development.
- Cultural Understandings of Health - 15PANC093 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Therapy and Culture - 15PANH027 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Anthropology of travel and tourism A - 15PANH051 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Anthropology of travel and tourism B - 15PANH052 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- Issues in Psychoanalysis and Anthropology - 15PANH032 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- African and Asian Diasporas in the Contemporary World - 15PANC012 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- African and Asian Cultures in Britain - 15PANH009 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- African and Asian Diasporas in the Modern World - 15PANH010 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Iranian Cinema - 15PMSH010 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Approaches to the Other in Horror and Science Fiction Films - 15PANH043 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Perspectives On Development - 15PANH033 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Anthropology of Development - 15PANC090 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Culture and Society of China - 15PANC089 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Culture and Society of Japan - 15PANC086 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Culture and Society of South Asia - 15PANC087 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Culture and Society of South East Asia - 15PANC088 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Culture and Society of the Near & Middle East - 15PANC097 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Culture and Society of East Africa - 15PANC084 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Culture and Society of West Africa - 15PANC083 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Comparative Study of Islam: Anthropological Perspectives A (Masters) - 15PANH047 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1 - Not Running 2012/2013
- Comparative Study of Islam: Anthropological Perspectives B (Masters) - 15PANH048 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2 - Not Running 2012/2013 - Must be taken with the first term course - 15PANH047 Comparative Study of Islam: Anthropological Perspectives A (Masters)
- Anthropology of Urban Space, Place and Architecture - 15PANH029 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2 - Not Running 2012/2013
- Media Production Skills - 15PANH050 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- Theory and Method in the Study of Religion - 15PSRC010 (1 Unit) - Full Year
Scholarships and Bursaries
There are some scholarships and bursaries available for postgraduate students. These are very competitive and early application is advised.
- The Ahmad Mustafa Abu-Hakima Bursary (programme must include studying the history of the modern Arab world)
- AKS Postgraduate Bursary (in Korean Studies)
- Bernard Buckman Scholarship (MA Chinese Studies, for UK/EU fee paying students)
- The Canon Collins Scholarships at SOAS. There are two scholarships available available in 2013-14 for study at SOAS. These scholarships are for Masters study in any subject field. Open a national of and resident in one of the following countries:
Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe. The application process normally opens in December and closes in February, for study commencing in September the following year. Please go to the Canon Collins website and click "Apply for A Scholarship" and then "Canon Collins Scholarship for Masters Study in the UK" for further information on how to apply.
- Commonwealth Shared Scholarship (for students from African Commonwealth countries)
- D.G.Hall Scholarship (Taught Masters programmes at SOAS, for applicants holding a Burma/Myanmar passport)
- Felix Scholarships (for Indian students)
- Ferguson Scholarships (for African nationals from an African Country)
- HSBC SOAS Scholarships (MA Sinology & MA Chinese Literature, for UK/EU fee paying students)
- Kamran Djam Scholarships (MA Iranian Studies)
- Professor Stuart Wilson Scholarship (MA South East Asian Studies)
- Standard Chartered Scholarships (for a range of full-time Taught Masters programmes. The programmes relate to Asia, Africa, and the Middle East/NorthAfrica)
- Tibawi Trust Awards (for Palestinian students currently enrolled in a programme at SOAS)
- SOAS Master's Scholarships - Faculty of Arts & Humanities - (for any full-time taught masters programme in the Faculty of Arts & Humanities)
- SOAS Master's Scholarships - Faculty of Language & Cultures (for the full-time MA Gender Studies, MA Postcolonial Studies, MA Linguistics, MA Applied Linguistics & Language Pedagogy, MA Language, Documentation and Description, MA Translation Theory and Practice (Asian and African Languages)
- SOAS Master's Scholarships- Faculty of Law and Social Sciences (for any full-time master's programmes in the Department of Development Studies, Economics, Law, Politics & International Studies and Financial & Management Studies)
- Tallow Chandlers and M. W Beer scholarship (MA) (MA Anthropology of Food, for UK/EU fee paying students)
- William Ross Murray Scholarship (LLM, for students from a developing country)