Field Methods for Development

Subject 121-460 (2009)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2009. Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 4 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2009:

Semester 2, - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 1-hour lecture and a 1-hour seminar each week.
Total Time Commitment: 2 contact hours/week, 8 additional hours/week. Total of 10 hours per week.
Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Dr Alan Thorold


Dr Alan Thorold

Subject Overview: The subject will focus on ethnographic or qualitative methods, particularly as they apply to development work. It includes a discussion of varying notions of ethnographic or qualitative research, including the notion of praxis the merger of theory and social practice or action. It will discuss issues of entry into a field site and the ethics of social research, including responsibility towards ones subjects as well as ones funding organization. The subject will consider in detail various specific methods or techniques, including participant observation, non-obtrusive observation, field notes, interviewing, focus groups, life histories or biographic research, the use of texts and artefacts, narrative analysis, and visual anthropology and sociology. It will conclude with a discussion of data analysis and writing up ones findings and the issue of reflexivity, which includes an assessment of what is development and development for what and whom.
Objectives: Students who successfully complete this subject should
  • be capable of managing development projects in the field, in a manner that is sensitive to local circumstances and needs.
  • acquire skills in cross-cultural analysis.
  • learn the art of writing field notes.
Assessment: A fieldwork report of 2000 words 30% (due mid semester); a major essay of 3000 words 60% (due at end of SWOT VAC week); and a seminar presentation 10%.
Prescribed Texts:
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills: Students who successfully complete this subject should
  • demonstrate relevance of the topic to broader development debates.
  • gain and understanding of field methods appropriate for development.
Notes: Previously available as 121-509 Field Methods for Developments. Students who have completed 121-509 are not eligible to enrol in this subject.
Related Course(s): Master of Development Studies (Gender & Development)
Master of Development Studies(CWT)
Master of Social Health (Medical Anthropology)
Postgraduate Diploma in Arts(Development Studies)
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Development Studies
Development Studies
Gender Studies
Gender Studies
Gender Studies

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