RESA: Research School for Swedish Anthropology
PhD course open to: PhD students in Anthropology and related disciplines
Course title: Ethnographic Research Methods
Dates: 2 May – 4 June 2017
Location: Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University, (Room B600)
Course coordinator/Teaching: Eva-Maria Hardtmann and guest lecturers
ECTS: 7.5 credits

The course is designed to be directly relevant to the student’s own PhD project. The individual PhD topic and/or research question will be the point of departure for a minor fieldwork project and the course will thereby provide training in implementing ethnographic research methods related to the student’s thesis. The course combines a method symposium, lectures, a minor fieldwork, workshops, seminars and counselling.

Objective of the course

PhD students will achieve in-depth knowledge of ethnographic research methods and acquire practical experience in selecting and using these methods.


The course deals with ethnographic methods for data collection and analysis. Special emphasis will be put on anthropological fieldwork, participant observation and different field techniques.


The course is comprised of a method symposium, lectures, field practices, workshops, seminars and counselling. Language of instruction is English.


Method symposium, lectures, field practices, workshops and seminars are mandatory and completion of an essay is required in order to pass the course.


Submission of an essay, 3,000-3,500 words long, based on field data and course readings. The paper will be graded on a pass/fail basis. Active participation in the method symposium, fieldwork, workshops and final seminars is a further requirement to pass the course.

Expected Outcome

After completing the course the PhD student is expected to be able to do the following:

  • Understand a range of ethnographic research methods for data collection and analysis
  • Critically evaluate and choose ethnographic research methods that are appropriate to a specific research question
  • Prepare for and carry out ethnographic research methods such as interviews and participant observation
  • Assimilate collected data and compose field notes and interview guides

Literature (TBA)

Time Schedule

2nd May

9.30 a.m. – 10 a.m.

Introduction to the course

Eva-Maria Hardtmann

10.15 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Method Symposium with invited guests (TBA)

3rd May

10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Preparation for the Minor Fieldwork

Lectures and preparations for the minor fieldwork to be taking place on the 16th to 19th May. The students will begin by suggesting the research question/topic and identify the point of departure (site/setting/event for participant observation) for their individual minor fieldwork and proposing persons to be interviewed during the fieldwork period.

16th – 19th May

9 a.m. – 5 p.m. each day

“Follow the Field.” Minor Fieldwork and Workshops

Over the course of these four days students will spend time individually in the field in Stockholm and surrounding areas. They will gain practical experience with key ethnographic methods such as participant observation, interviewing, and writing field notes. In the afternoons they will return to the university. We will discuss the methodological, practical, ethical and theoretical issues that students have encountered in the field during the day, in working groups (3-4 people) and also in the full group. A core concept of this course is to “follow the field”, which is meant to prepare students for the unpredictability of the field, by being open and flexible to unexpected and sometimes even messy situations. Depending on what students have encountered during the day they will plan for the next day’s fieldwork. The fieldwork will thus not be prepared far in advance, but depends on each day’s outcome in the student’s individual field.

1st – 2nd June

9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Final seminars

The final essays from the fieldwork projects will be presented and discussed during two seminar days.

Application deadline: 24th March, 5 p.m.

Please submit a summary with a maximum of 150 words about your research project. Include information about when you plan to carry out fieldwork for your PhD thesis. Send it to PhD candidates in Anthropology will be given precedence, but PhD candidates in related disciplines are welcome to apply and will be accepted subject to availability.