Anthropology (ANTH) 390

Community-Based Research Methods (Revision 1)

ANTH 390

Delivery Mode: Individualized study online or grouped study.

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Social Science

Prerequisite: ANTH 275 or introductory Sociology or Indigenous Studies course, or permission of the faculty.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

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Anthropology 390: Community-Based Research Methods introduces the basic concepts, principles, and issues surrounding community-based research methods. You will gain some insight into the contrasts and complementarities between western and indigenous methodologies—how they differ, and what each brings to the whole picture. This course will introduce the concept of ethics in research so that you will be able to apply for ethics approval from an ethics committee as part of a community-based research project. The units of the Study Guide will direct you through the process of carrying out a small-scale research project, while exposing you to varying perspectives about the methodologies used in ethnographic research.

Course Outline

Unit 1: Introduction
Journal Entry 1

Unit 2: Finding a Topic and Doing Background Research
Journal Entry 2
Assignment 1: Research Proposal and Annotated Bibliography

Unit 3: Research Ethics
Journal Entry 3
Assignment 2: Ethics Application

Unit 4: Oral Traditions and Mapping
Journal Entry 4

Unit 5: Information Gathering
Journal Entry 5
Assignment 3: Edited Field Notes

Unit 6: Information Analysis
Journal Entry 6
Assignment 4: Database, Maps, Charts

Unit 7: Reporting
Journal Entry 7
Assignment 5: Research Paper or Report

Unit 8: Verification, Reflection, and Revision
Journal Entry 8
Assignment 6: Reflection and Revision

Course Objectives

The objectives of this course are

  • to demystify the research process;
  • to build your confidence when choosing and executing appropriate methods for carrying out community-based research;
  • to prepare you to successfully adhere to ethical guidelines;
  • to expose you to varying perspectives on appropriate social science research methods;
  • to enable you to acquire the skills to complete a community-based research project.


To receive credit for ANTH 390, you must complete eight journal entries and six assignments and achieve a course composite grade of at least D (50 percent). The weighting of the assignments for credit is as follows:

Assignment Due (end of) Weight %)
Journal Entry 1 Unit 1 3%
Journal Entry 2 Unit 2 3%
Assignment 1: Research Proposal and Annotated Bibliography Unit 2 10%
Journal Entry 3 Unit 3 3%
Assignment 2: Ethics Application Unit 3 10%
Journal Entry 4 Unit 4 3%
Journal Entry 5 Unit 5 3%
Assignment 3: Edited Field Notes Unit 5 10%
Journal Entry 6 Unit 6 3%
Assignment 4: Database, Maps, Charts Unit 6 10%
Journal Entry 7 Unit 7 3%
Assignment 5: Research Paper or Report Unit 7 26%
Journal Entry 8 Unit 8 3%
Assignment 6: Reflection and Revision Unit 8 10%
Total 100%

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Kirby, Sandra, and Kate McKenna. 1989. Experience research social change: Methods from the margins. Toronto, ON: Garamond Press.

Smith, Linda Tuhiwai. 1999. Decolonizing methodologies: Research and indigenous peoples. New York: Zed Books Ltd.

Wilson, Shawn. 2008. Research is ceremony: Indigenous research methods. Black Point, NS: Fernwood Publishing.

Other Materials

The course materials also include a student manual, a course information file, a study guide, reading and e-reading files and a video available from the Athabasca University Library.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 1, August 20, 2012.