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Research Methods in Cultural Anthropology


Please note: this course description is not fully up-to-date for the academic year 2023-2024. Updates will be published shortly.

Admission Requirements

Only the following category of students can register for this course:

  • Students enrolled for the minor CADS

N.B.: This course is NOT meant for students of the bachelor’s programme Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology.

Language of Instruction

Lectures are given in English.
Exam and assignments must be written in English.

Course Description

This course offers an introduction to and an overview of the main research methods and techniques within the social sciences and specifically within cultural anthropology, with an emphasis on ethnographic methods. Students will learn to formulate a research question, collect data by using specific research techniques, and analyse the resulting data critically.

Course Objectives

  • Gaining basic knowledge on setting up and conducting empirical research

  • Learning about common methods in the social sciences and applying them in practice

  • Learning to define and operationalize anthropological and sociological concepts

  • Understanding the relationship between research questions, methods, analysis and knowledge.


Dates and room numbers can be found on the website.

Mode of Instruction

This is a 5 ECTS course, which means 140 hours of study (1 ECTS is equivalent to 28 study hours or sbu's). These 140 study hours are composed from the following components:

  • Lectures: 8 x 2 hours = 16 hours x 1,5 = 24 sbu

  • Field research and written assignments: 5 × 8 hours = 40 sbu

  • Final assignment (approximately 2,000 words) = 30 sbu

  • Additional readings totalling approximately 320 pages = 46 sbu

Assessment Method

The final grade for the course is based on (i) a series of short assignments (60% of final grade), and (ii) the final assignment (40% of final grade)..
Only the final mark is registered in uSis. The final pass mark is 6,0 or higher; a final mark of 5,0 or lower is deemed inadequate. Final marks between 5,0 and 6,0 are never awarded. Only if the final mark is inadequate may the final assignment be re-taken.


Brightspace is the digital learning environment of Leiden University. Brightspace gives access to course announcements and electronic study material. Assignments will also be submitted in Brightspace. Announcements about and changes to courses are given in Brightspace. Students are advised to check Brightspace daily to keep informed about rooms, schedules, deadlines, and details of assignments. Lecturers assume that all students read information posted on Brightspace.

  • How to login

The homepage for Brightspace is: Brightspace

Please log in with your ULCN-account and personal password. On the left you will see an overview of My Courses.

For access to courses in Brightspace students must be registered for those courses in uSis.


  • For all participants, registration for the lectures in uSis is mandatory . Please use the study activity number and consult the course registration website for information on registration periods and further instruction.

Course Literature

Mary L. Gray, Out in the Country (NYU Press, 2009).
Alan Bryman, Social Research Methods, 4th edition (Oxford University Press, 2012).
Articles from electronic journals and encyclopaedias are available through Leiden University’s digital library.


Dr. Reza Shaker Ardekani