BA (Hons) Sociology and Anthropology and BA (Hons) Sociology at BU


Showcasing Students' Ethnographic Research

Since 2015, undergraduate students on BA (Hons) Sociology and BA (Hons) Sociology and Anthropology in the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences at Bournemouth University have been involved in designing and conducting ethnographic research projects in Bournemouth, and disseminating their key findings to local communities as well as academic audiences.

This work is part of the ‘Into the Field’ module (Year 2 / Level 5), in which students gain first-hand experience of designing, carrying out and disseminating their own research projects, and learn about the value of ethnographic approaches to research and collaboration with local, community organisations and projects. As well as framing their projects in relation to sociological and social anthropological questions, concepts and theories, students collaborate with Bournemouth-based organisations and community groups, responding to their interests and needs. Their research combines participant observation, semi-structured interviews, surveys and archival research.

Student research projects are initially developed through dialogue between Dr Rosie Read, a social anthropologist at BU who coordinates Into the Field, and local people with experience of projects, activities, organisations and services in Bournemouth. These conversations identify ideas, themes and questions which local people feel would be interesting, valuable or beneficial to explore. Students are then invited to design their research projects in a way which responds to these themes. Along the way they consider the theoretical, methodological and ethical issues their research raises. Finally, students share their findings to the community at a public event at the end of the Into the Field module, as well as through this site.

This site showcases the students' research projects and learning processes. To date, student research projects have been conducted within the community of West Howe in Bournemouth, where they have explored the themes which you can access below.

West Howe, Bournemouth

West Howe is a residential suburb in the north of the town of Bournemouth. Prior to World War Two this was a largely rural area, comprising heathland and some farming, with both settled and itinerant communities.

As part of post-World War Two reconstruction, a large council estate was built on much of the land and many new people from within and outside Bournemouth moved in. Two books published in the 1980s explore this transformation of the area from rural to (sub)urban, through oral histories of many different local people.

Compared with other parts of Bournemouth, West Howe is a relatively low-income, economically disadvantaged area, with higher levels of single-parent households, unemployment and health problems. It is also a green, spacious place and a welcoming community, and there are many active social events and projects.


Student Ethnographies

Click on project titles to navigate to individual projects.

In some cases, permission will be needed to view projects. To request permission, please email Dr Rosie Read at:   

  • Child's Play: How are local recreation and leisure facilities important to families?
  • Employment Support Services: What are local people’s experiences of unemployment and the different forms of support they receive to secure paid work?
  • Attitudes to Addiction: How is the notion of addiction perceived and understood by local people?  
  • Social Cohesion and Social Capital : What helps build social trust and wellbeing?
  • Travel and Transport: What is the relationship between public transport and social mobility?  
  • School Choice: What factors influence a parent’s choice of primary school in a low income area? 
  • Food Security: How do historical changes in the ways food is produced contribute to local people’s sense of food (in)security?
  • Howe Tasty: What are the benefits and risks of social enterprise models for building community support and solidarity?
  • Perceptions of Social Isolation: How do young people and the retired understand and perceive ‘social isolation’?
  • Social Support for Single Parents: What factors help lone parents’ trust in and engagement with parent support groups?

Research Ethics

All student research projects abide by Bournemouth University’s Research Ethics Code of Practice. In designing, carrying out and disseminating their research, students give careful consideration to ethical issues that may arise, and develop strategies for dealing with them. In particular, students seek to gain the informed consent of research participants, by providing them with sufficient information about the aims and methods of their research project and the implications of taking part in it. They also commit to protecting the anonymity of research participants, as far as possible, unless participants explicitly state otherwise. Students’ approach to research ethics is also informed by the Ethical guidelines of the Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and Commonwealth

Nan Sheppard

This site was created, designed and edited by Nan Sheppard, BA (Hons) Sociology and Anthropology, Bournemouth University. Contact: 

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