Spring 2022 - SA 498 D100

Field Study in Sociology and/or Anthropology (SA) (8)

Class Number: 2800

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 10 – Apr 11, 2022: Fri, 9:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

  • Instructor:

    Dany Lacombe
    Office: AQ 4115
    Office Hours: By appointment
  • Prerequisites:

    Students must successfully complete a Criminal Record Check.



Advanced field project in a research setting. Admission dependent on availability of appropriate field placements and departmental supervisory capacity.


  • Curious to apply your sociological and anthropological knowledge in a fieldwork setting?
    Eager to develop a sociological imagination and an ethnographic sensibility?
    Keen to address a social problem and engage the community?

If any of these questions caught your attention, this course may offer the answer(s) you are seeking! While volunteer and job postings rarely say “Wanted: Sociologist or Anthropologist,” the variety of opportunities awaiting the transfer and application of your critical social science skills and sensibilities might surprise you. Whether you want to investigate research topics for graduate school, check out potential career paths or pursue an interest in social problems or human culture, this field study course of a community organization promises to be a valuable way to explore your options while rounding off your SA undergraduate degree.

There are many types of community organizations: non-profit agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGO), grass-roots groups, charitable and/or religious organizations, non-profit and for-profit joint ventures, etc. Most attempt to advance the interests of groups and individuals often underrepresented or marginalized in contemporary society and/or they try to raise awareness about a social problem.

Fieldwork possibilities are numerous, and you will have to contact an organization of your choice to secure a placement in that organization prior to the beginning of the course. I will try to provide assistance.

Engaging the community will give you an opportunity to be in spaces where you can experience social processes unfolding around a specific issue. To explore the complexity of these processes, you will spend time getting familiar with one organization and the people who are part of it. Based on your placement’s guiding principles and practices, the approaches it takes to advance its agendas and meet its goals, the difficulties it encounters and the successes it achieves, you will document how an issue of your choice unfolds in the organization. Central to your documentation will be the people the organization is made of and that it serves. This document will take the form of a small social action intervention on your part.

An initial four-week orientation will help us think critically about community engagement, including seminars on social problems, face-to-face interactions, research strategies, skills for a successful fieldwork experience, and exciting ways to produce a small social action intervention. The balance of the term is spent in a one-day-a-week placement in your capacity as a volunteer, participant observer and researcher. Small group collaboration throughout the term enables you to build a supportive community of peers in which to evaluate the possibilities and constraints of your agency, the challenges you encounter in your own attempt to do a small social action intervention, and to further your own growth as a critical global citizen in these challenging times. Instructions on diverse ways you can produce your document (podcasts, short films, photographs, papers) will also be available throughout the term.


  • Assignment #1 (due on Jan 15) 10%
  • Assignment #2 and #3 (due on Jan 21) (10% each) 20%
  • Assignment #4 (Due on Jan 28) 10%
  • Assignment #5 (Due on Feb 4) 10%
  • Assignment #6 (Due on Feb 25) 10%
  • Final Assignment - Field Project submission and class presentation (Due April 8) 40%


Grading: Where a final exam is scheduled and the student does not write the exam or withdraw from the course before the deadline date, an N grade will be assigned. Unless otherwise specified on the course syllabus, all graded assignments for this course must be completed for a final grade other than N to be assigned. An N is considered as an F for the purposes of scholastic standing.

Grading System: The Undergraduate Course Grading System is as follows:

A+ (95-100) | A (90-94) | A- (85-89) | B+ (80-84) | B (75-79) | B- (70-74) | C+ (65-69) | C (60-64) | C- (55-59) | D (50-54) | F (0-49) | N*
*N standing to indicate the student did not complete course requirements

Academic Honesty and Student Conduct Policies: The Department of Sociology & Anthropology follows SFU policy in relation to grading practices, grade appeals (Policy T20.01), and academic honesty and student conduct procedures (S10‐S10.05). Unless otherwise informed by your instructor in writing, in graded written assignments you must cite the sources you rely on and include a bibliography/list of references, following an instructor-approved citation style. It is the responsibility of students to inform themselves of the content of SFU policies available on the SFU website.

Centre for Accessible Learning: Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need classroom or exam accommodations are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (1250 Maggie Benston Centre) as soon as possible to ensure that they are eligible and that approved accommodations and services are implemented in a timely fashion.

The Sociology and Anthropology Student Union, SASU, is a governing body of students who are engaged with the department and want to build the SA community. Get involved!  Follow Facebook and Instagram pages or visit our website.



Available through Canvas

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in spring 2022 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with safety plans in place.  Some courses will still be offered through remote methods, and if so, this will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the spring 2022 term.