Anthropology 204

Introduction to Social Science Research Methods in Anthropology

Fall 2019: T,R 12:30-1:45PM, Munroe Hall, Rm. 103



Tom R. Rocek               


Munroe 002                                       

Office Hours:

T,R  (2:00-3:30)


W     (9:00-11:00 AM)


(and by appointment)

Office Phone:



Web Site:



This course introduces students to a broad range of practical issues in anthropological research.  No single subdiscipline of anthropology is emphasized; rather material spans skills needed in various kinds of research across subdisciplines.  The goal is to survey topics, starting with the basics of selecting research questions and addressing issues of ethics in research (and research with human subjects in particular), continue to considering methods of data collection, and conclude with an introduction to qualitative and particularly quantitative and statistical analyses.  The class approaches these issue through a combination of intensive readings, classroom lecture and discussions, and both in class and out-of-class exercises.  By the end of the course, students will not necessarily have the full set of skills to assess or perform a particular anthropological research program, but will be in a position to consider the multiple elements that enter into research and will be equipped to learn additional specialized skills relevant to particular research domains.


Required resources


 Bernard, H. Russell

2017   Research Methods in Anthropology; Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches.  (Sixth edition).  Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham, Maryland.

Other resources:

JMP 14.0 pro (statistical software).  Available for download by UD students at

Access to a spreadsheet program such as Microsoft Excel® or Google Sheets (available with your UD email account).



The course has three elements which will be graded as follows: Class Assignments and projects: 40%, Class participation 30%, Final Exam, 30%.  The class assignments are a series of projects ranging from brief exercises to a semester long multistep research proposal.  Participation is evaluated based on participation in discussion as well as in the in-class activities (and of course fully consistent class attendance is necessary for participation).   The final exam will evaluate concepts from over the course of the semester. 

An extra credit option is available by volunteering in the archaeology lab in Munroe Hall.  Up to 25 hours of volunteer work, counting for up to 5 additional percentage points on the final grade are available.  See THIS link for details and/or talk to the instructor.


For more general expectations, please also read the attached "General Statement of Policy and Procedures for Students in Anthropology."




Readings, Assignments, Activities


(8/27 &


Epistemology--How do we know what we know?

        Approaches to understanding the world in general

        Epistemology in Anthropology

Handout Assignment: Mini-Research proposal.  Although nothing of this assignment is actually due until week 3, you will get a copy of the assignment so that you can start thinking about it, and meeting with me.

  Text: chapter 1

  Marks, Jonathan

1996  The Anthropology of Science Part I: Science as a Humanities.  Evolutionary Anthropology 5(1):6-10.


(9/3 &


Research ethics and human subjects

In Class Assignment: Selected cases from the Society for American Archaeology Ethics Bowl contest; see instructions HERE.


  Text: bottom p. 57-62 (from heading "Ethics" to end of "What does it all mean"), and pp. 109-111 (from heading "Are Field Experiments Ethical?" to end of  "Research and Institutional Review Boards."

  Ryan, Kenneth John, Joseph V. Brady, Robert E. Cooke, Dorothy I. Height, Albert R. Jonsen, Patricia King, J.D., Karen Lebacqz, Ph.D., David W. Louisell,Donald W. Seldin,Eliot Stellar,and  Robert H. Turtle 

1979  Ethical Principles & Guidelines for Research Involving Human Subjects [“The Belmont Report”].  Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Washington, D.C..  Url:

  American Anthropological Association Executive Board

2004  American Anthropological Association Statement on Ethnography and Institutional Review Boards.  Ameican Anthropological Association, Washginton, D.C.  Url:

  Tsosie, Krystal S., Joseph M. Yracheta, and Donna Dickenson

2019  Overvaluing Individual Consent Ignores Risks to Tribal Participants.  Nature Reviews Genetics 20:497–498.

  SKIM: United States Code of Federal Regulations

1991  45 CFR Part 690: Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects.  Url:


(9/10 &


Research design 1: Thinking about problems and variables

        Research by subdiscipline

Assignment: Begin Mini-Research Proposal -- Topic Conferences (by end of week)

  Text: chapter 2, and  pp. 54-76 of chapter 3.



(9/17 &


Literature search: Google® doesn’t know everything!

Assignment: Annotated bibliography (due in steps over next 2 weeks)

  Text: Pp. 76-82 of chapter 3.


(9/24 &


Research design 2: sampling and probability

DUE-- Partial Annotated bibliography due (end of week)

  Text: chapter 5


(10/1 &


Research design 3: probability, non-probability sampling

DUE--Annotated bibliography Final Draft (end of week)

  Text: chapters 6, 7


(10/8 &


Ethnographic methods: observation, interviews, questionnaires, cultural domains, and scales

Assignment: Interview.

  Text: chapters 8, 9, and skim 10, 11


(10/15 &


Ethnographic methods: participant observation

Assignment: Observation and mapping.

  Text: chapter 12, skim chapters 13, 14


(10/22 &


Quantitative Analysis: Introduction to univariate statistics

Assignment: Working with spreadsheets, statistical programs

  Sample data set 1

  Text: chapters 15, 20


(10/29 &


Quantitative Analysis: Introduction to bivariate statistics

Assignment: Statistical problem sets (due by end of 12th week)

  Sample data set 2

  Text: chapter 21


(11/5 &


Quantitative Analysis: Introduction to multivariate statistics

DUE: Research Mini-proposal Rough Draft (by end of week).

  Text: chapter 22


(11/12 &


Higher level Analysis: Specialized quantitative techniques, Geographic Information Systems, Introduction to Qualitative analysis

DUE: Statistical problem sets assignment

  Text: chapter 16


(11/19 &



Laboratory Analysis

Assignment: Archaeological, biological, and ethnographic material samples analysis (due last day of class).


(12/3 &


Class Reports

Due: Research Mini-proposal (by last day of class) and laboratory analysis of material samples

Assignment: Report on research Proposal


Final Exam: Monday, December 9th, 1:00-3:00 PM.

Last modified: 8/28/2019