Advancing Research Methods Training for Social Scientists

At the forefront of advancing social science research, our work focuses on optimizing the pedagogical landscape for training the next generation of social scientists. With a specialized emphasis on research methods, we delve into the intricate process of guiding Ph.D. anthropology students through comprehensive training in methodological rigor. Our approach not only encompasses teaching a spectrum of essential research methods but also investigates what methods of teaching are most effective when teaching research methods themselves. We recognize the evolving demands on scholars in and beyond academia, and our research expounds on the best methods for mentoring students. By tackling the challenges of mentoring graduate students head-on, we strive to cultivate an environment where mentorship is not just a responsibility but a transformative experience. Moreover, our research extends to teaching collaboration as a key skill, ensuring that students are equipped to navigate both academic and non-academic spheres with versatility and resilience. This work stands as a crucial contribution to shaping the future of social science education, emphasizing not just the 'what' but the 'how' of teaching methods in a rapidly changing academic landscape.

  Project Details

We have several initiatives within this project that speak to teaching methods and the research of the best pedagogies for research training. 

Cultural Anthropology Methods Program CAMP
Since the 1950s, the United States National Science Foundation (NSF) has been a consistent supporter of methods training in cultural anthropology. The NSF Cultural Anthropology Methods Program (CAMP), part of the NSF's summer program with a three-decade legacy, has been revamped to offer advanced methods training specifically tailored for Ph.D. students. This revitalized program, featuring a cohort of 40+ esteemed faculty members, aims to enhance and modernize the anthropology methods toolkit by leveraging the latest insights from cutting-edge pedagogical research. We are studying the impact of specific teaching techniques implemented in this intensive program and will share our findings to help shape future graduate training in cultural anthropology and the social sciences, more broadly.

Teaching Methods Resources
The Handbook of Teaching Qualitative and Mixed Research Methods: A Step-by-Step Guide for Instructors is a one-of-a-kind resource that provides lessons on how to teach 71 research methods. Included are instructions for hands-on activities along with lectures and handouts.  

CAMP International
In 2024, NSF CAMP International will launch a free-to-all public anthropology methods curriculum globally. This high-profile launch is in partnership with national and international anthropology partner organizations. The core curriculum will be made up of professional-quality, studio-recorded lectures that instructors can integrate into their methods courses around the world. This curriculum will be released online in the summer (check back for link).

In our work we test and innovate how we can help students in the classroom, virtually and in-person. Our toolkit offers tips and tricks for mentoring students and how to create inclusive learning environments.

  Research Team


US National Science Foundation Cultural Anthropology Program grant (Award SBE-2017491) to the NSF Cultural Anthropology Methods Program.


Ruth, A., A. Wutich & H.R. Bernard (Eds). (2023)  The Handbook of Teaching Qualitative and Mixed Research Methods: A Step-by-Step Guide for Instructors. Routledge. Dec. 2023

R. Negrón, A. Wutich, HR. Bernard, A. Brewis, A. Ruth, K. Mayfour, BA. Piperata, M. Beresford, C. SturtzSreetharan, P. Mahdavi, J. Hardin, R. Zarger, K. Harper, J. Holland Jones, CC. Gravlee, & BMKJ Brayboy. (2024). Ethnographic Methods Training Norms and Practices and the Future of American AnthropologyThe American Anthropologist, in press

Ruth, A., K. Mayfour, J. Hardin, T. Sangaramoorthy, A. Wutich, HR. Bernard, A. Brewis, M. Beresford, C. SturtzSreetharan, BMKJ. Brayboy, HJF. Dengah II, CC. Gravlee, G. Guest, K. Harper, P. Mahdavi, SM. Mattison, M. Moritz, R. Negrón, BA. Piperata, JG. Snodgrass & R. Zarger. (2022). Teaching Ethnography: The State of the Art. Human Organization, 81(4): 401-412.

Ruth, A., K. Mayfour, T. Sangaramoorthy, BMKJ. Brayboy, M. Beresford, A. Brewis, HR. Bernard, M. Glegziabher, J. Hardin, K. Harper, P. Mahdavi, JG. Snodgrass, C. SturtzSreetharan, A. Wutich. (2022). Teaching Ethnographic Methods for Cultural Anthropology: Current Practices and Needed Innovation. Teaching Anthropology, 11(2):59-72.

Brewis, A., B.A. Piperata, H.J.F Dengah II, W. Dressler, M.A. Liebert, S. Mattison, R. Negrón, R. Nelson, K.O. Oths, J.G. Snodgrass, S. Tanner, Z. Thayer, K. Wander, and C. Gravlee. (2022). Biocultural strategies for measuring psychosocial stress outcomes in field-based research. Field Methods, in press (vol 34: 4).