MACA Ethnological research design

Course content

During the course, we will work with components of thesis writing with the purpose of initiating and facilitating the thesis process. Participants choose a (tentative) thesis topic, on the basis of which they submit or present different portfolio assignments to be discussed and supervised in class.

Portfolio assignments comprise:

  • A tentative problem statement for the thesis, including the background for choosing the topic and reflections on the potential ethnological and cultural analytical perspectives (2-3 slides and an oral presentation).
  • A presentation of relevant research on the topic with references to literature. Further, students should describe their own positioning within and approach to the field (5-9 standard pages); a commented list of at least 10 references must be supplied.
  • A collection of sources that describes empirical materials for the thesis (i.e. written sources, fieldwork materials, archival sources, interviews etc.). The collection should include comments on how the material has been generated and the (tentative) analytical themes it gives rise to (10-12 standard pages).
  • A draft of the thesis contract, including problem statement and project plan.

The course is concluded by an oral exam on the basis of the portfolio (15-20 pages in total) and a synopsis (2-3), which reflects on the work so far and identifies the next steps. The synopsis must include a (revised) problem statement, as well as a provisional set of research questions, methodological reflections and selected analytical approach.

At the oral exam, the student should reflect on choices, delineations and perspectives of the project. Insights from the course, portfolio and exam are meant to feed directly into the thesis process. Participants are expected to contribute to seminars and the content of the course, and to give peer feedback and take part in discussions of the portfolio assignments. 


Master of Applied Cultural Analysis

Lectures and seminars

Type of assessment
Oral examination
Written assignment
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
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