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4.8: End of Chapter Discussion

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    Discussion

    1. If you were to conduct anthropological fieldwork anywhere in the world, where would you go? What would you study? Why? Which ethnographic techniques would you use? What kinds of ethical considerations would you likely encounter? How would you disseminate your research?
    2. What is unique about ethnographic fieldwork and how did it emerge as a key strategy in anthropology?
    3. How do traditional approaches to ethnographic fieldwork contrast with contemporary approaches?
    4. What are some of the contemporary ethnographic fieldwork techniques and perspectives and why are they important to anthropology?
    5. What are some of the ethical considerations in doing anthropological fieldwork and why are they important?
    6. How do anthropologists transform their fieldwork data into a story that communicates meaning? How are reflexivity and polyvocality changing the way anthropologists communicate their work?

    GLOSSARY

    Deductive: reasoning from the general to the specific; the inverse of inductive reasoning. Deductive research is more common in the natural sciences than in anthropology. In a deductive approach, the researcher creates a hypothesis and then designs a study to prove or disprove the hypothesis. The results of deductive research can be generalizable to other settings.

    Emic: a description of the studied culture from the perspective of a member of the culture or insider.

    Ethnography: the in-depth study of the everyday practices and lives of a people.

    Etic: a description of the studied culture from the perspective of an observer or outsider.

    Inductive: a type of reasoning that uses specific information to draw general conclusions. In an inductive approach, the researcher seeks to collect evidence without trying to definitively prove or disprove a hypothesis. The researcher usually first spends time in the field to become familiar with the people before identifying a hypothesis or research question. Inductive research usually is not generalizable to other settings.

    Key Informants: individuals who are more knowledgeable about their culture than others and who are particularly helpful to the anthropologist.

    Participant observation: a type of observation in which the anthropologist observes while participating in the same activities in which her informants are engaged.

    Polyvocal: A text in which more than one person’s voice is presented.

    Qualitative: anthropological research designed to gain an in-depth, contextualized understanding of human behavior.

    Quantitative: anthropological research that uses statistical, mathematical, and/or numerical data to study human behavior.

    Reflexivity: A text that includes information about the anthropologist's personal experiences, thoughts, and life stories and analyzes how those characteristics affected their research and analysis.

    Salvage ethnography: Early 20th-century practice of studying and recording cultural diversity with the goal of preserving the practices of the cultures that were threatened by Westernization.


    Adapted From

    "Doing Fieldwork: Methods in Cultural Anthropology" by Katie Nelson, Inver Hills Community College. In Perspectives: An Open Invitation to Cultural Anthropology, 2nd Edition, Society for Anthropology in Community Colleges, 2020, under CC BY-NC 4.0.


    4.8: End of Chapter Discussion is shared under a CC BY-NC license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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