Course Schedule and Readings


Week 1 (Aug. 21) Introduction

  • Overview of the course
  • Proposals and pedagogy
  • Funding sources
Recommended reading

Bestor, T, J Comaroff, L Garro, G Ryan, S Weller (2007). Guidelines for research proposals in anthropology. In, M Lamont, P White: Workshop on Interdisciplinary Standards for Systematic Qualitative Research (Appendix 3), Workshop report submitted to NSF.

Pzreworski, A., & Salomon, F. (1998). The art of writing proposals. Brooklyn, NY: Social Science Research Council.

Silverman, S. (1991). Writing grant proposals for anthropological research. Current Anthropology, 32(4), 485–489.

Winslow, D. (2007). What makes an NSF proposal successful Anthropology News, 48(7), 31–31.

Winslow, D. (2008). Writing a dissertation research proposal? Be specific, be clear and proofread! Anthropology News, 49(8), 27.

Winslow, D. (2010). Funding a “healthy mix” of research: Peer review at NSF. Anthropology News, 51(4), 27–27.

Winslow, D. (2010). Cultural anthropology grows at NSF. Anthropology News, 51(2), 29–29.

Winslow, D. (2011). Anthropology without borders. Anthropology News, 52(2), 29–30.

Week 2 (Aug. 28) Epistemology and research traditions

  • Anthropology and the social sciences
  • Positivism, interpretivism, and other approaches
  • Goals and norms of anthropological research

Due – Research interests

Bernard, Ch. 1 (pp. 1-22)

Luker, Ch. 1-2 (pp. 1-39)

Schweizer, T. (1998). Epistemology: The Nature and Validation of Anthropological Knowledge. In H. R. Bernard (Ed.), Handbook of Methods in Cultural Anthropology (pp. 39-87). Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press.

Jacobs-Huey, L. (2002). The Natives Are Gazing and Talking Back: Reviewing the Problematics of Positionality, Voice, and Accountability among “Native” Anthropologists. American Anthropologist, 104(3), 791–804.

Aunger, R. 2004. Chapter 1 (p. 1-20) “A crisis in confidence,” Reflexive ethnographic science. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press.

Marcus, G. E. (2008). The End(s) of Ethnography: Social/Cultural Anthropology’s Signature Form of Producing Knowledge in Transition. Cultural Anthropology, 23(1), 1–14.

Further reading

Greenfield, P. M. 2000. What psychology can do for anthropology, or why anthropology took postmodernism on the chin. American Anthropologist 102:564-576.

Moore, H. L., & Sanders, T. (2006). Anthropology and Epistemology. In H. L. Moore & T. Sanders (Eds.), Anthropology in Theory: Issues in Epistemology (pp. 1–21). Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.

Roth, W., & Mehta, J. (2002). The Rashomon Effect: Combining Positivist and Interpretivist Approaches in the Analysis of Contested Events. Sociological Methods & Research, 31(2), 131–173.

Week 3 (Sept. 4) Foundations of social research

  • Language and logic of social science
  • Concepts, variables, and measurement
  • Causal inference

Bernard, Ch. 2 (pp. 23-53)

Luker, Ch. 3 (pp. 40-50)

Abbott, A. (1997). Seven Types of Ambiguity. Theory and Society, 26(2/3), 357–391.

Further reading

Bernard, H. R., P. J. Pelto, O. Werner, J. Boster, A. K. Romney, A. Johnson, C. R. Ember, and A. Kasakoff. (1986). The construction of primary data in cultural anthropology. Current Anthropology 27:382-395.

McEwen, W. J. (1963). Forms and problems of validation in social anthropology. Current Anthropology 4:155-183.

Week 4 (Sept. 11) Developing research questions

  • The research cycle
  • Types of research questions
  • Matching questions and methods
  • Literature search strategies

Due – Research questions exercise

Bernard, Ch. 3 (pp. 54-81)

Luker, Ch. 4-5 (pp. 51-98)

Firebaugh, G. (2008). Chapter 1, “The First Rule: There Should Be The Possibility of Surprise in Social Research.” Seven Rules for Social Research. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Becker, H. S., & Richards, P. (2007). Ch. 8, “Terrorized by the Literature.” Writing for Social Scientists: How To Start And Finish Your Thesis, Book, Or Article (Second Edition.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Further reading

Handwerker, W. P. 2001. Chapter 2, “Identify the question,” Quick ethnography. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press.

Hart, C. 1999. Doing a literature review: Releasing the social science research imagination. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

Week 5 (Sept. 18) Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods

  • Matching methods to questions
  • Limits of the qualitative-quantitative divide
  • History and development of “mixed methods”

Due – Problem statement

Creswell and Plano Clark, Ch. 1-2 (pp. 1-52)

Small, M. L. (2011). How to Conduct a Mixed Methods Study: Recent Trends in a Rapidly Growing Literature. Annual Review of Sociology, 37(1), 57–86.

Mahoney, J. (2006). A Tale of Two Cultures: Contrasting Quantitative and Qualitative Research. Political Analysis, 14(3), 227–249.

Bernard, H. (1996). Qualitative data, quantitative analysis. Cultural Anthropology Methods Journal, 8(1).

Further reading

Gravlee, Clarence C. (2011). “Research design and methods in medical anthropology,” in A companion to medical anthropology. Edited by Merrill Singer and Pamela Erickson, p. 69-91. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.

Alise, M. A., & Teddlie, C. (2010). A Continuation of the Paradigm Wars? Prevalence Rates of Methodological Approaches Across the Social/Behavioral Sciences. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 4(2), 103–126.

Week 6 (Sept. 25) Validity, reliability, and standards of quality

  • Evidence and theory
  • Replication, repeatability, and ethnography
  • Validity, reliability, and alternative frameworks
  • Triangulation

Due – Literature review

Bernard, H., Killworth, P., Kronenfeld, D., & Sailer, L. (1984). The Problem of Informant Accuracy: The Validity of Retrospective Data. Annual Review of Anthropology, 13, 495–517.

Heider, K. G. (1988). The Rashomon Effect: When Ethnographers Disagree. American Anthropologist, 90(1), 73–81.

Shankman, P. (2013). The “Fateful Hoaxing” of Margaret Mead: A Cautionary Tale. Current Anthropology, 54(1), 51–70.

LeCompte, M. D., & Goetz, J. P. (1982). Problems of Reliability and Validity in Ethnographic Research. Review of Educational Research, 52(1), 31–60.

Hammersley, M. (1995). Theory and Evidence in Qualitative Research. Quality and Quantity, 29(1), 55–66.

Morse, J., Barrett, M., & Mayan, M. (2002). Verification Strategies for Establishing Reliability and Validity in Qualitative Research. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 1(2).

Further reading

Malterud, K. (2001). Qualitative Research: Standards, Challenges, and Guidelines. The Lancet, 358(9280), 483–488.

Seale, C. (1999). Quality in Qualitative Research. Qualitative Inquiry, 5(4), 465.

Moles, J. (1977). Standardization and Measurement in Cultural Anthropology: A Neglected Area. Current Anthropology, 18(2), 235–258.

Moret, M., Reuzel, R., van, D., & Grin, J. (2007). Validity and Reliability of Qualitative Data Analysis: Interobserver Agreement in Reconstructing Interpretative Frames. Field Methods, 19(1), 24–39.

Week 7 (Oct. 2) Experimental thinking and research design

  • Experimental and nonexperimental research
  • Internal validity and causation
  • Threats to validity and ways to manage them

Due – research setting

Bernard, Ch. 4 (pp. 82-112)

Johnson, J. C. (1998). Research design and research strategies. In H. R. Bernard, Ed., Handbook of methods in cultural anthropology (p. 131-171). Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira.

Aunger, R. 2004. Chapter 5 (p. 94-115), “Reflexive realism: A new way of doing ethnography,” Reflexive ethnographic science. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press.

Further reading

Campbell, D. T., and J. C. Stanley. (1966). Experimental and quasi-experimental designs for research. Chicago: Rand McNally College Publishing Company.

Brim, J. A., and D. H. Spain. (1974). Research design in anthropology: Paradigms and pragmatics in the testing of hypotheses. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

Gil-White, F. (2002). The cognition of ethnicity: native category systems under the field experimental microscope. Field Methods, 14(2), 161–189.

Paluck, E. L. (2010). Is it better not to talk? Group polarization, extended contact, and perspective taking in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 36(9), 1170–1185.

Fowler, J. H. (2008). The Colbert bump in campaign donations: more truthful than truthy. PS: Political Science & Politics, 41(03).

Week 8 (Oct. 12) Mixed methods designs

  • Principles for designing mixed methods research
  • Selecting an appropriate design

Creswell and Plano Clark, Ch. 3-4 (pp. 53-142)

Weisner, T. S. (2012). Mixed Methods Should Be a Valued Practice in Anthropology. Anthropology News, 53(5), 3–4.

Further reading

Bergman, M. M. (2011). The good, the Bad, and the Ugly in Mixed Methods Research and Design. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 5(4), 271–275.

Sale, J. E. M., Lohfeld, L. H., & Brazil, K. (2002). Revisiting the Quantitative-Qualitative Debate: Implications for Mixed-Methods Research. Quality and Quantity, 36(1), 43–53.

Creswell, J.W., Klassen, A. C., Plano Clark, V.L., Smith, K. C. (2011). Best Practices for Mixed Methods Research in the Health Sciences. Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) National Institutes of Health.

Week 9 (Oct. 16) Probability, sampling, and generalizability

  • Central limit theorem
  • Representativeness and generalizability
  • Probability sampling designs

Bernard, Ch. 5-6 (pp. 113-142)

Luker, Ch. 6 (pp. 99-128)

Further reading

Benfer, R. A. 1968. The desirability of small samples for anthropological inference. American Anthropologist 70:949-951.

Cohen, J. 1992. A power primer. Psychological Bulletin 112:155-159.

Thomas, D. H. 1986. Chapter 15 (pp. 439-456), “Sampling problems in anthropology” Refiguring anthropology: First principles of probability and statistics. Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press.

Week 10 (Oct. 23) Ethnographic sampling and selection of cases

  • Nonprobability sampling designs
  • Sample size and selection strategies

Due – Research plan and methods

Bernard, Ch. 7 (pp. 143-155)

Johnson, J. C. 1990. Selecting Ethnographic Informants. Newbury Park, Calif.: Sage Publications.

Handwerker, W., & Wozniak, D. (1997). Sampling Strategies for the Collection of Cultural Data: An Extension of Boas’s Answer to Galton’s Problem. Current Anthropology, 38(5), 869–875.

Small, M. (2009). `How Many Cases Do I Need?': On Science and the Logic of Case Selection in Field-Based Research. Ethnography, 10(1), 5-38.

Guest, G., Bunce, A., & Johnson, L. (2006). How Many Interviews Are Enough?: An Experiment with Data Saturation and Variability. Field Methods, 18(1), 59–82.

Further reading

Handwerker, W., Hatcherson, J., & Herbert, J. (1997). Sampling Guidelines for Cultural Data. Cultural Anthropology Methods, 9, 7–9.

Romney, A., Weller, S., & Batchelder, W. (1986). Culture as Consensus: A Theory of Culture and Informant Accuracy. American Anthropologist, 88, 313–339.

Week 11 (Oct. 30) Case studies

  • Case study designs
  • Case studies and theory

Due – Significance

Luker, Ch. 7-8 (pp. 129-189)

Eisenhardt, K. (1989). Building Theories from Case Study Research. Academy of Management Review, 14(4), 532–550.

Gerring, J. (2004). What Is a Case Study and What Is It Good for? American Political Science Review, 98(2), 341–354.

Flyvbjerg, B. (2006). Five Misunderstandings About Case-Study Research. Qualitative Inquiry, 12(2), 219–245.

Further reading

George, A. L., & Bennett, A. (2004). Case Studies and Theory Development in the Social Sciences. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Gerring, J., & McDermott, R. (2007). An Experimental Template for Case Study Research. American Journal of Political Science, 51(3), 688–701.

Week 12 (Nov. 6) Introduction to data analysis

  • Thinking with matrices
  • Logic and methods of comparison
  • Qualitative, quantitative (again)

Due – Complete draft of proposal

Bernard, Ch. 15 (pp. 337-345)

Ryan, G., & Bernard, H. (2003). Techniques to Identify Themes. Field Methods, 15(1), 85–109.

Ryan, G., & Bernard, H. (2000). Data Management and Analysis Methods. In N. Denzin & Y. Lincoln (Eds.), (pp. 769–802). Handbook of Qualitative Research, Second Edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Wutich, A. & Gravlee, C. C.. (2010). Water Decision-Makers in a Desert City: Text Analysis and Environmental Social Science. In I. Vaccaro, E. A. Smith, S. Aswani (Eds.), Environmental Social Sciences: Methods and Research Design (p. 188-211). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Utts, J. 2003. What educated citizens should know about statistics and probability. The American Statistician 57:74-79.

Handwerker, W. & Borgatti, S. P. (2014). Reasoning with Numbers. In H. R. Bernard & C. C. Gravlee (Eds.), Handbook of Methods in Cultural Anthropology, Second Edition (in press). Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press.

Further reading

Freedman, D. A. (1991). Statistical models and shoe leather. Sociological Methodology, 21, 291–313. American Sociological Association.

Salkind, N. J. (2010). Statistics for people who (think they) hate statistics (Fourth Edition). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

Tufte, E. R. (2001). The visual display of quantitative information. Cheshire, CT: Graphics Press.

Week 13 (Nov. 13) QCA and fuzzy-set social science

  • Qualitative comparative analysis
  • Fuzzy-set social science

Luker, Ch. 9-10 (pp. 190-216)

Bernard, pp. 453-455

Rihoux, B. (2003). Bridging the Gap between the Qualitative and Quantitative Worlds? A Retrospective and Prospective View on Qualitative Comparative Analysis. Field Methods, 15(4), 351–365.

Ragin, C., Shulman, D., Weinberg, A., & Gran, B. (2003). Complexity, Generality, and Qualitative Comparative Analysis. Field Methods, 15(4), 323–340.

Rantala, K., & Hellström, E. (2001). Qualitative Comparative Analysis and a Hermeneutic Approach to Interview Data. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 4(2), 87–100.

Further reading

Ragin, C. C. (2008). Redesigning Social Inquiry: Fuzzy Sets and Beyond. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Rihoux, B. (2006). Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) and Related Systematic Comparative Methods: Recent Advances and Remaining Challenges for Social Science Research. International Sociology, 21(5), 679–706.

Bail, C. A. (2008). The Configuration of Symbolic Boundaries against Immigrants in Europe. American Sociological Review, 73(1), 37–59.

Schweizer, T. (1991). The Power Struggle in a Chinese community, 1950-1980: A Social Network Analysis of the Duality of Actors and Events. Journal of Quantitative Anthropology, 3, 19–44.

Schweizer, T. (1996). Actor and Event Orderings across Time: Lattice Representation and Boolean Analysis of the Political Disputes in Chen Village, China. Social Networks, 18(3), 247–266.

Week 14 (TBD) Network thinking and relational analysis

  • Social and semantic network analysis
  • Relational versus attribute analysis

Due – peer review (Nov. 20)

McCarty, C. & J. L. Molina (2014). Social Network Analysis. In H. R. Bernard & C. C. Gravlee (Eds.), Handbook of Methods in Cultural Anthropology, Second Edition (in press). Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press.

Borgatti, S., Mehra, A., Brass, D., & Labianca, G. (2009). Network Analysis in the Social Sciences. Science, 323(5916), 892.

Schweizer, T. (1997). Embeddedness of Ethnographic Cases: A Social Networks Perspective. Current Anthropology, 38(5), 739–760.

Emirbayer, M., & Goodwin, J. (1994). Network Analysis, Culture, and the Problem of Agency. American Journal of Sociology, 99(6), 1411–1454.

Bearman, P. S., & Stovel, K. (2000). Becoming a Nazi: A Model for Narrative Networks. Poetics, 27(2-3), 69–90.

Further reading

Radcliffe-Brown, A. (1940). On Social Structure. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, 70(1), 1–12.

Mitchell, J. C. (1974). Social Networks. Annual Review of Anthropology, 3(1), 279–299.

Kadushin, C. (2011). Understanding Social Networks: Theories, Concepts, and Findings. New York: Oxford University Press.

Week 15 (Nov. 27) No class—Thanksgiving

Due – peer review (Nov. 27)

Week 16 (Dec. 4) Ethical conduct of research

  • Professional ethical codes
  • Current controversies
  • Working with the IRB

Fluehr-Lobban, C. 1998. “Ethics,” in Handbook of methods in cultural anthropology. Edited by H. R. Bernard, pp. 173-202. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira.

González, R. J. (2008). “Human terrain” Anthropology Today, Past, present and future applications, 24(1), 21–26.

AAA Commission on the Engagement of Anthropology with the US Security and Intelligence Communities (CEAUSSIC), Executive Summary (2009).

Gregor, T. A., and D. R. Gross. (2004). Guilt by association: The culture of accusation and the American Anthropological Association’s investigation of Darkness in El Dorado. American Anthropologist 106:687-698.

U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. 1979.The Belmont report: Ethical principles and guidelines for the protection of human subjects of research.

Nathan, R. 2005. “An anthropologist goes under cover,” in Chronicle of Higher Education, pp. B11-B13.

Further reading

Johnston, B. R. (2010). Social Responsibility and the Anthropological Citizen. Current Anthropology, 51(S2), S235–S247.

AAA Commission on the Engagement of Anthropology with the US Security and Intelligence Communities, Final Report (2007).

Meskell, L., and P. Pels. Editors. (2005). Embedding ethics. New York: Berg Publishers.

Armbruster, H., & Lærke, A. (2008). Taking sides: Ethics, politics and fieldwork in anthropology. New York: Berghahn Books.