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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Postgrad (School of Social and Political Studies)

Postgraduate Course: Research in Africa (PGSP11340)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryResearch in Africa (RiA) is a dedicated Africa-focused research training course that equips students with some of the relevant skills required to undertake postgraduate fieldwork on the continent. The course introduces the principal methodologies and strategies that are commonly applied to academic research in the Social Sciences, and considers their practical application for students who might undertake postgraduate fieldwork in Africa. In essence, the course approaches some standard research methods from a perspective that is constantly mindful of the African setting ¿ a setting that can present quite different challenges from the (implied) northern/western setting of many research training courses.

It is expected that students taking Research in Africa are planning actual fieldwork in Africa later in the year. (This is certainly not a requirement for taking the course though.) Students are encouraged to consider their work for this course as part of their preparations in shaping a research topic and agenda for their fieldwork, and to help them anticipate and plan around potential methodological, ethical and practical issues.
Course description Week 1: Research in (and about) Africa: an overview
Week 2: Focus group discussions
Week 3: Interviews
Week 4: Ethnography
Week 5: Essay plan discussions
Innovative Learning Week
Week 6 : Quantitative methods
Week 7: Positionality and reflexivity
Week 8 : Ethics, bureaucracy and other important considerations
Week 9: Archival research
Week 10: Research in Africa: common themes
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2015/16, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 10, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 10, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Students are assessed by an essay plan weighing 20% of the course mark, and a final essay of max. 3000 words length weighing 80%.
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Identify some principal research methodologies and strategies, and have an understanding of their application in an African setting
  2. Conduct interviews and ethnography, and anticipate and reflect on the different challenges of a non-western research environment
  3. Consider, and address in advance, some of the practical preparations of Africa-based fieldwork
  4. Deal with complex ethical and professional issues and make informed judgements on issues not addressed by current professional and/or ethical codes or practices
  5. Understand the requirements of the dissertation, and appreciate how the issues discussed in the course might feature in it.
Reading List
- Bender Shetler, J. 2003. Telling Our Own Stories: Local histories from South Mara, Tanzania. Dar es Salaam: Mkuki na Nyota
- Bryman, A. 2008. Social Research Methods. Oxford: Oxford University Press*
- Comaroff, J. and J. Comaroff. Africa Observed: Discourses of the imperial imagination. In Grinker, R., S. Lubkemann and C. Steiner (eds.). 2010. Perspectives on Africa: A reader in culture, history, and representation. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell
- MacGaffey, J. and Bazenguissa-Ganga, R. 2000. Congo-Paris: Transnational traders on the margins of the law. Oxford: James Currey
- Mudimbe, V.Y. Discourse of Power and Knowledge of Otherness. In Grinker, R., S. Lubkemann and C. Steiner (eds.). 2010. Perspectives on Africa: A reader in culture, history, and representation. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell
- Smith, L. 1999. Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and indigenous peoples. London: Zed Books
- Trulsson, P. 1997. Strategies of Entrepreneurship: Understanding industrial entrepreneurship and structural change in northwest Tanzania. Linköping: University of Linköping
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Special Arrangements Please note that it is not permitted to Audit this course.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Thomas Molony
Tel: (0131 6)50 6976
Course secretaryMs Jessica Barton
Tel: (0131 6)51 5066
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