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Studiegids

nl en

Research Design for Visual Ethnography

Vak
2020-2021

Admission requirements

Only students admitted to the master’s programme Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology specialisation Visual Ethnography can take part in this course. (See master's admission and application)

Course Description

This course aims to prepare students for the practical and epistemological complexities of conducting fieldwork through a visual ethnography paradigm. The course enables students to develop skills recording images and sound through a series of multimodal units in order to conceptually and practically utilize audiovisual methodologies in their thesis research projects. This course combines theory with practice by placing great emphasis on hands-on training. The course is intended to make students aware of the affordances and limitations of audiovisual methods and recordings. Students develop these skills alongside the development of an original research proposal, while considering issues related to ethics, epistemology, and methodological experimentation in relation to their individual fieldwork topics. Emphasis will be given to research design, methodological operationalization, negotiating relationships, facilitating collaborations, knowledge production, and data management of each student’s masters project. This course is team-taught and coordinated with supervisory group feedback sessions.
A list of possible research topics per specialisation is available on our website and is being pemanently updated.

The course Research Design encompasses a mandatory ‘Methodology in Practice’ (MiP) week, which is intended to provide students with hands-on training with respect to ethnographic method. See details below, under Timetable.

Course Objectives

  1. Helping the MSc student to systematically formulate questions central to their research, positioned in relation to relevant academic debates.
  2. Providing practical preparations for the complexities of fieldwork, given the operationalization of research questions.
  3. Critically exploring the possibilities offered by audiovisual means, in relation to both conducting anthropological fieldwork and producing empirically-based audiovisual research outputs.

Timetable

Please see the schedule

Methology in Practice
The course Research Design encompasses a mandatory ‘Methodology in Practice’ (MiP) week, which is intended to provide students with hands-on training in the ethnographic method. The MiP week will take place in October, and lasts four full days (including evenings) from Monday morning until Thursday evening, with two additional sessions on Friday at daytime. Typically, mornings will be used for short lectures in methodology and ethics, while afternoons will be dedicated to individual methodological exercises, which will be evaluated in the evenings. Further details will be announced early September.

Mode of instruction

Total: 5 ECTS = 140 study hours (sbu):

  • Tutorials:
    o Online instructional modules
    o Hands-on workshops
    o Student screening/feedback sessions
    o Written & audiovisual assignments
    o Peer review

  • Course activities will be supplemented with thesis supervision group meetings.

Assesment method

There are four main criteria by which students will be evaluated:

  • Research Proposal Assignments (40%): This consists of five written assignments, which will be marked ‘plus’ or ‘minus’. If you receive a ‘minus’ on an assignment it must be resubmitted. Assessment will consider four main factors: a) how well you met the parameters of the assignments, b) the coherence of your message, c) the complexity of your text, and d) constructive review of peer assignments. A final graded assessment will take into account your overall investment and development of research ideas over the semester.

  • Field Study Assignments (40%): A series of assignments meant to put your skills into practice, which will be marked ‘plus’ or ‘minus’. If you receive a ‘minus’ on an assignment it must be resubmitted. A final graded assessment will consider five main factors: a) how well you met the parameters of the assignments, b) the level of effort to master technical skills, c) the overall engagement with your field site and topic, d) an effort to experiment with different formal aspects, and e) constructive review of peer assignments. A final graded assessment will take into account your overall investment and development of research skills over the semester.

  • Field Journal (20%): Students are required to keep an ongoing ‘field journal’ through the year that specifically reflects on tutorial exercises, field studies, and method reflections. Assessment will consider four main factors: a) demonstrates depth of engagement with the course materials, b) provides the appropriate basis for keeping a journal while conducting Master’s research, c) makes at least three 1-page entries each week, d) each entry is at least 100-words long or provide the equivalent level of attention in drawing, mapping, or alternative kinds of engagement

  • Participation: The student’s engagement during class time is evaluated on punctuality and interaction. Students are expected to be on time, stay for the entire time, and be actively engaged in the activities of the day. Those factors will be considered when accounting for the student’s overall investment in the course. More than 2 absences will result in failure of the course.

Registration

All participants must register in uSis for the lecture series of this course. (Registration for the exam is not required since there is no classical examination.)

Brightspace

Brightspace is the digital learning environment of Leiden University. The Brightspace module for this course will be available for registration by the end of August. Brightspace gives access to course announcements and electronic study material. Assignments will also be submitted in Brightspace. Brightspace informs about announcements and changes in a course. It is advised to check Brightspace on a daily base to remain informed about rooms, schedules, deadlines, and details regarding assignments. Lecturers assume that all students read information posted on Brightspace.

  • How to login
    The homepage for Brightspace is: http://brightspace.universiteitleiden.nl
    Please log in with your ULCN-account and personal password. On the left you will see an overview of My Courses.
    To get access to your courses in Brightspace you need to be registered in uSis for these courses.

Reading list

Barbash, I., and L. Taylor (1997) Cross-Cultural Filmmaking: A Handbook for Making Documentary and Ethnographic Films and Videos. Berkeley: University of California Press.
An additional selection of relevant journal articles. These will be available for downloading through the university library or via Brightspace (to be announced).
A series of films related to a student’s project should be selected from the Ethnographic Video volumes available through the university library.
Online training modules.

Contact information

Drs. Metje Postma Dr. Mark Westmoreland