The Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology in Hamburg has a long tradition of teaching field research methods. As one of the first institutes in Germany, we introduced practical field research training into the MA degree program in 1971 in order to offer our students a richer program. The first excursion was conducted in western Ireland. In the following decades, MA students have been required to participate for at least four weeks in a field research excursion, to train and apply empirical methods, as well as to write a field research report. Many of these projects have inspired MA and even PhD theses. Some results have been published in the Institute's journal Ethnoscripts as well as in the series Lines.
Our BA and MA programs have retained their focus on skills. Method courses ("Qualitative Methods" and "Quantitative methods") are compulsory for all BA students studying Social and Cultural Anthropology as a major (A3 module). In these courses, students learn empirical methods by applying them in their own research projects. We have published a selection of excellent student research reports on our homepage.
Our MA degree program continues to focus on "learning by researching" and includes a compulsory empirical research project. In the course of this project, students learn to pose theoretical questions, design a theoretical or ethnographic research proposal, apply advanced ethnographic methods (such as methods of cognitive anthropology and network analysis, analysis of cultural domains, the basics of discourse analysis, ethnographic census and photo elicitation) and use comparative methods. We have published textbooks handling some of the aforementioned research methods on our homepage.
Visual anthropology, with a focus on ethnographic cinematography, has been part of the curriculum for many years. In the course of the BA program, students may register for this course in the professional skills (arbeits- und berufsfördernde Kompetenzen, ABK) or optional program.