PhD Courses in Denmark

From Fieldwork to Analysis

Graduate School, Arts at Aarhus University


The course takes place over two days:

Day 1:

The focus of this session is on different ways to organize and work with fieldwork material. Day 1 will be a general introduction to analytical thinking discussing how one moves from empirical material to data. How does one identify “densities” in the material and transform these into data? What is the distinction between information and data? What are the requirements for validity in ethnographic research?  This discussion will be based on comments from peers and teachers on the pre-circulated texts.

We will pursue different analytical themes emerging in each project and discuss how the field can be constructed? What understandings of the field emerge? What are the implications of particular constructions of the field in terms of literature to cover and discuss? At the end of Day 1, each participant should have been tasked with a way to further push the analysis of his or her submitted text with a view to revising the text for Day 2.

Assignment for Day 1: Each participant is to submit a 5-page text consisting of a ‘chunk’ of data with potential for the thesis you are going to write. It can be an ethnographic description that is iconic or particularly interesting for the research project. This might be a description of a situation, a person, or a case that seems to exemplify the tensions, puzzles, and themes you wish to explore in your thesis. It can be part of an interview that seemed especially intriguing, or several observations that circle around the same problematic. You may already have an idea about how you are going to analyse your example, but keep that in reserve. For now, simply try to present the data in a way that captures the reader’s curiosity.

The text should begin with a brief project outline (½ p.); provide an overview (list) of all empirical material (2 pp.) as well as the ‘chunk of data’ (5 pp.). The assignment should be sent by email to the course conveners before 24 February 2020 at the latest. All participants are expected to read each other’s assignments.

Day 2:

This session of the workshop continues from Day 1. Assignment for Day 2 (to be held at an relevant interval from Day 1).  The focus of this session is on how one links analytical concepts to theories in an effective and consistent way. This discussion will be based on comments from peers and teachers on the pre-circulated texts.  Texts by the teacher of the course (or their colleagues) may supplement the papers of the PhD students to broaden the discussion and highlight the difficulties we all have in making analytical sense.

Assignment for Day 2: Re-write your first paper in a longer, more polished analytical version (15 pages) on the basis of comments and suggestions from Day 1 that sets the account within an analysis that fits into the overall narrative or argument of your thesis. Introduce analytical concepts that help to bring out issues or problems that advance our understanding of the ethnographic material and show us the direction that you may go in your thesis.  The paper should be submitted no later than 19 March 2020 (10 days before Day 2) to allow your peers in the course to read it.


The overall objective of the course is to assist PhD students to:

  • unpack their fieldwork material and transform information into data;
  • identify potential analytical issues and how to contextualise these,
  • discuss the development of analytical concepts.

The course will NOT include an instruction or in-depth discussion of computer programs for qualitative research and data management.


100-150 pages (including peer papers).

Target group:

The course is primarily targeting PhD students, who have recently finalised their fieldwork and are about to concentrate on the writing of their PhD dissertation.

PhD students enrolled under the PhD programmes of anthropology at University of Copenhagen and Aarhus University, respectively, have first priority.






3.5 ECTS


Atreyee Sen (University of Copenhagen) and Line Dalsgård (Aarhus University)

Dates and time:

3 March & 30 March 2020



3 March:

University of Copenhagen, building/room CSS 7.0.06, Øster Farimagsgade 5,1353 Copenhagen K

30 March:

Aarhus University, Finlandsgade 21, 8200 Aarhus N, building 5335, room 091

Miscellaneous information:

Participation is free of charge, but participants must pay for own travel/stay

Refreshments available during course hours:

Coffee, tea, water and lunch is provided and paid for by the university on courses that run from the morning until mid or late afternoon. Lunch consists of sandwiches and bottled water at midday, and tea and coffee is served in the morning and mid-afternoon. Fruit or cake is served once a day during one of the coffee breaks. There are also cafes/canteens on campus with hot food, sandwiches, snacks and drinks on sale.

Course certificates:

Course certificates are issued after each course has ended and any written assignments have been submitted. The certificates are sent to the candidates by email.

Course evaluations:

Course evaluations are conducted at the end of each course. Occasionally, the course teacher will conduct a paper-based evaluation immediately at the end of the course, and gather the information from you themselves. However, evaluations are usually sent electronically to candidates after the course has finished, and are completed and submitted online.

Application deadline:

Please apply for a spot via no later than 15 January 2020.