ANTH 326 Syllabus

This course will introduce students to the practical aspects of undertaking ethnographic research.

Based on student composition, the course continues to evolve.  There are a number of hands-on activities; your active participation is required.

Because of current health considerations, I will refrain from beginning our learning journey with a potluck. My hope is that by the end of the term, such a sharing of food will be possible to celebrate our time together.

Learning objectives:

  • Compare, contrast, and practice different methods of data collection
  • Assess the ethics of undertaking research
  • Design, formulate, and evaluate research plan(s)

The format of instruction is a combination of lecture, seminar-style discussion, and in-class exercises.  BE PREPARED TO PARTICIPATE!  For this reason, students are expected to keep up with their readings; read in advance.  Your grade will be based on participation and attendance (20%), opinion piece (5%), one midterm (20%), reflective notes (25%), and final essay (30%).

**Missing an exam or not submitting an assignment will result in an “F”; your final grade is based on completing all course work.**

Required texts:
Bohannan, Paul and Dirk van der Elst.  1998  Asking and Listening: Ethnography as Personal Adaptation.  Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press.

Guelke, Karoline.  2021.  The Living Inca Town: Tourist Encounters in the Peruvian Andes.  Toronto, ON: Univeristy of Toronto Press.  READ FOR MIDTERM EXAM

Mannik, Lynda and Karen McGarry, eds.  2017.  Practicing Ethnography: A Student Guide to Method and Methodology.  Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press.  [eBook1]

Please read assigned chapters prior to the week’s class to facilitate discussion.


Date Topic

Jan 11

AMA, Introduction
Structure and course expectations


Who is the Other?
Class discussion
READ: Human Zoos: A Shocking History of Shame and Exploitation (CBC 2017)


What is Canadian Culture?
Class discussion
READ: Bohannan & van der Elst, chs.1-4; Canadian Culture


You as Researcher
READ: Bohannan & van der Elst, chs.5-11; Mannik & McGarry, ch.1


Ethics & Informed Consent
Class discussion
READ: AAA Methods & Ethics & VIU Research Ethics Board; Mannik & McGarry, ch.3
DO TCPS 2: CORE – Tutorial


Taking Notes
In-class exercise
Mannik & McGarry, ch.5
Feb 1 Interviewing
READ: Mannik & McGarry, ch.4; This is How Canada Talks


Communication & Nonverbal Language
Non-Verbal Communication; Cross-Cultural Communication


Global Citizens Week Event
In-class exercise, Dr. Who’s T.A.R.D.I.S. (in conversation with International Students)
10 Participant Observation
Bohannan & van der Elst, chs.24-26; Mannik & McGarry, ch.2


Designing Research
Bohannan & van der Elst, chs.12-17


TAKE HOME EXAM: February 17
DUE: TCPS Certificate [e-copy, VIULearn]
Study Week – No classes
Feb 21-25

Mar 1

Proposal writing: What Methods to Use?
Class discussion based on rationale for research


Proposal writing: What Methods to Use? (cont.)


In-class exercise
READ: Mannik & McGarry, ch.7


Research Proposals & Consent Forms
Discussion on proposals created
READ: VIU REB Forms (review info specific to consent forms)


READ: Ethnographic Mapping


Using Archive Materials: Fire Insurance Maps
In-class exercise
22 Visual Documentation
In-class exercise
READ: Mannik & McGarry, ch.10
24 In the Digital Age
In-class activity, examining ‘comments’ by readers of online news
READ: Mannik & McGarry, ch.12
29 Reflecting on Field Work
Mannik & McGarry, ch.9
Last day to submit reflective notes on in-class exercises: Mar 29
31 The Living Inca Town and Tourism/Anthropologists
Class discussion
READ: Mannik & McGarry, ch.11
Apr 5 Photovoice Projects
Presentation and class discussion
7 “It’s a Wrap!”


  • Use of technology: Recording is only permitted by request as authorized by Accessibility Services. Please contact Accessibility Services if you are in need of academic support and accommodation.
  • If there are exceptional and/or extenuating circumstances, such as illness or a death in the family, that prevents you from meeting an assignment deadline or being present for an exam, please notify me as soon as possible so that other arrangements can be made.  (See VIU General Regulations.)
  • Should you need counselling at any time during the semester, contact Student Affairs. Drop-in counselling is available.  If immediate support is needed after hours, call the Crisis & Information Line: 1-888-494-3888.  As well, you can contact Cowichan Valley Mental Health and Substance Use Services Intake, 3088 Gibbins Road, Duncan: 250.709.3040.  In Nanaimo, there is a Walk-in Counselling Clinic, Brooks Landing (203-2000 Island Highway North), Nanaimo: 250-739-5710.  For general health and wellness queries, go to bc211 or dial 211; it’s free and confidential.
  • If you appear to be experiencing difficulties, you might be identified to VIU Student Affairs through the Early Alert System (EAS).  EAS is a campus-wide program to connect students with resources that may help their success.
  • Withdrawing from any VIU course MUST be done formally, that is, by applying at the Registration Centre.
  • All in-coming mail is spam-filtered. Identify the course name in the “Subject” box when emailing your instructor. Also, add your instructor to your “accepted” email address file and ensure that VIU has your correct email address. If I do not respond within a reasonable period of time, check that I have indeed received your message.

Final grade assignment:
Grades will be assigned according to the following scale:

90-100 A+ 64-67 C+
85-89 A 60-63 C
80-84 A- 55-59 C-
76-79 B+ 50-54 D
72-75 B <49 F
68-71 B-

Last updated 2022-01-11