Cultural Anthropology/Anthropological Methods

From Wikibooks, open books for an open world
< Cultural Anthropology
Jump to: navigation, search

Origins of Ethnography[edit]

The route of first voyage of Columbus in the Caribbean.

A core modern research method used in Anthropology, as well as in other modern social sciences, is Ethnography. Ethnography is an immersive method of research, allowing those who employ it to record more accurately the lifestyles and cultures of different peoples. Before ethnography, immersive research, the prevailing method was unilineal. This led to colonizers being able to set the rules for what is a "modern" or "primitive" culture, and used these self-made justifications in order to rule over new colonies in the name of advancement for their people. This view came into question with Anthropologists like Franz Boas, offering the multilinear model for cultural evolution we have today. This model closer reflects the realities of different cultures across the world advancing in separate ways and highlights the impossibility to call one culture "primitive" in relation to another. These cultures did not evolve from one another, but evolved separately from each other.

A large part of the issue with early Anthropology was a reliance on second-party information and a lack of first hand research of cultures. "Armchair Anthropologists" would gather information from military deployments, merchants, and missionaries rather than making first-hand contact. They would then create wild theories based on these accounts. This lead to a high degree of bias against these cultures, more so than firsthand research, and were not scientific in the way Anthropology is today. This form of research drove much of the colonial primitive culture narrative and necessitated the adaptation of Ethnography.

Ethnography, or the enculturated experiential method of research, has lead to the dispelling of rumor and a much deeper understanding of cultures through great effort. This is seen very clearly in Brigt Dale's research on a Tobagonian Village[1], titled Lives in-between Encountering Men in a Tobagonian Village. To begin, he clearly states his bias, being a male researcher and dealing primarily with the males of that society due to a highly gendered culture found there. He explains with great care that he is not searching for what men "do" but what they "say and do to be men." His goal with the research project was to show the value of an ethnographic research project, along with his experiences within this culture and the limitations he faced in that research. He had limitations both being an outsider and being male, only being able to see how one half of these people portrayed their culture, and even then through the lense of an outsider with his own biases, stated as clearly as possible within the paper. This is the value of Ethnography, it allows researchers to further understand their research while remaining as close to unbiased as is reasonable, highlighting weaknesses and need for further research from people of different genders and backgrounds.

Ethnographic Analogy[edit]

Here we see an old pick, not much different from those used today

We can infer the use of an ancient tool by seeing how similar-looking tools are used in existing or recent societies. By analogy we can hypothesize the same use for the old tool. Ethnographic Analogy is essentially interpreting archaeological data through the observation of analogous activities in existing societies.

Effect of Capitalism and Colonialism[edit]

At the same time of trade route establishment and violent territorial takeovers, mainland Europe developed a new way to think about the world economically. Replacing mercantilism, which is the idea that there is a set amount of wealth in the world and one nation's gain must come at the loss of another, capitalism facilitates the belief that new wealth can be created through innovation and competition. Capitalism by definition is an economic system dominated by the supply-demand price hike mechanism called the market. Simply put, it is the idea that the world is a market and everything within the world, has or should have, its price. In response to that market and in service of it, an entire way of life grew and grew and changed the face of Europe as well as many other regions.

Colonialism refers to a social system in which political conquest by one society of another leads to cultural domination with enforced social change. Colonialism expanded capitalism as the de facto exchange system to a global scale, and colonial governments utilized the natural resources in their colonies to increase their own country's wealth. While some cultures embraced the colonialists' empirical trade patterns, many regions violently rebelled and attempted to regain their cultural independence and economic autonomy. Despite their best efforts to repel the colonialists and their economic imperialism, these regions were unable to combat the Europeans and their guns, deception, and disease. In addition to the real world political impacts of colonialism, it has also had an impact on artistic expression since it began.

Human Cultural Variation[edit]

After the trauma of colonization and capitalism, many populations would still have the willpower to grow and survive. After assimilation[1] or displacement a tribe or band would not stop in its cultural evolution, they would continue to grow and expand their customs and beliefs. A defining characteristic of culture is to adapt to change. As past cultures divided and formed together, an outstanding number of subtle differences were formed within one another. Humankind has a combined attraction to understanding new ideas; with such a wide array of cultures now on this Earth, humans have a broad way of lumping societies together based on how they are alike and different. The organization of these categories are called typologies.

The Biology of Human Variation[edit]

Map of indigenous skin color distribution in the world based on Von Luschan's chromatic scale.

The biological variations between humans are summarized in the evolutionary theories of macroevolution and microevolution. Macroevolution is the study of the emergence of new species and the diversification of species over millions of years. Microevolution is the concentrated study of evolutionary changes that occur in a given species over a few generations. A species is a population of organisms that can interbreed successfully and produce viable offspring. A cline is a genetic variation between populations of species that are isolated in their reproduction (such as skin color variation in humans). Human skin color variation is a selective adaptation that relates to the populations' proximity to the equator. Populations of humans in equatorial regions have selective advantages as a result of their darker skin pigmentation, whereas populations in more northern environments have less selective pressure to evolve darker pigmentation and have lighter skin. Other clines include differences in stature and hair type. Because of pigmentation characteristics within the human population, a system and term emerged to categorize the differing variations. This category is recognized as race. Forming opinions based on race can lead to discrimination based on these attributes and what is referred to racism. Although there is no biological support for the existence of separate human species or races, culture has supported the ideas of race and racism since the far-reaching exploration of sea-faring ships in early history that allowed landing parties to miss the range of gradual clinal variation visible when traveling by land.

Biological anthropologist, Frank Livingstone declared that, "There are no races, there are only clines." Clinal variation explains why people who want to use the term "race" cannot define how many groups or races there are. The only group that can be described is the entire human race. Each cline is a map of the distribution of a single trait and while some traits overlap and can be compared, clinal analysis tests the biological concept of race and finds nothing in nature to match it.

Fieldwork Methods[edit]

Observational Methods[edit]

The observational method is a systematic approach that uses all the researcher's senses to observe a subject, or subjects, in their most natural state. The researcher must have an awareness of their own presence within the what it is they are studying. They usually place themselves in the same setting as their subjects for prolonged periods of time. During these long periods of time, the researcher tries to gain as much information as possible, while also trying not to draw too much attention from the subjects. The researcher acts in the same nature as if they were one of the subjects, in order to relieve tension in the area along with creating less formal relationships. They collect all the data, then record it to look back on later. Most anthropologist consider this to be the least invasive of anthropological fieldwork methods. Allowing the researcher to gain valuable and much needed information without intruding on the customs and culture of the subject, or subjects, they are studying. The researcher observes the group or individuals, records their findings, reflects on the findings, as well as openly participates with the community to strengthen relationships. This can make or break the relations, which is exemplified in the article, Eating Christmas in the Kalahari, where Richard Borshay Lee was in a position of power but to keep his research untainted he felt it "was essential to not provide them with food"[2] Observational studying was a very common form of fieldwork during the first half of the 20th century before more progressive and participatory methods became popular. This method uses an eticperspective to simply observe the facts of cultures.

Interviews and Questionnaires[edit]

This group of methods focuses on community interaction through language. It usually entails many open ended interviews with participants who are members of a group being studied. The researcher strives to learn as much as they can about the history of the community as well as individuals in order to gain a full understanding of how their culture functions. Interviews can take place individually or with focus groups within the community based on age, status, gender, and other factors that contribute to differences within the community.

This type of research often strives to create an open dialogue, called a dialectic, in which information flows back and forth between researcher and subject. This dialectic poses a challenge to the objectivity of socially produced data. The challenge is dealt with through reflection on the inter-subjective creation of meaning, leading anthropologists to value reflexive abilities in their ethnographic writing. Because many anthropologists also hope to help the communities they work with to make change on their own terms within the confines of their own culture, in some cases objectivity is abandoned in favor of community based activism and social change.

Questionnaires may result in answers with little background information or implied cultural ideals. By creating multiple choice answers, subjects are limited to a small selection of responses with little room to be interpreted for their cultural diversity. Though questionnaires do generate quick, easy, and cheap responses, they more often than not lack depth and true understanding of underlying social issues leading to the provided answers.

Participant Observation[edit]

Participant Observation is an anthropological fieldwork method for collecting research. This method requires that an anthropologist participate in a social event that is apart of a specific culture. This includes but is not limited to observing members of a culture by simply taking notes, eating food that is provided, and participating in festivities. The goal of participant observation is to be involved in the culture like a member of that society, all while observing and studying the culture. The information gathered is then recorded and reflected upon to gain further insight into the culture being studied or the question being asked by the researcher.

Participant observation allows for deeper immersion into the studied culture, resulting in a deeper understanding. It allows the researcher to learn about the culture by direct contact. This develops a deeper rapport, or close relationship in which individuals understand and/or share each others emotions, with the people of the culture. It may result in them opening up more to the researcher, allowing the researcher to see and understand more than an outsider observing the culture. This could include invitations to special events and being allowed to be apart of something that an outsider wouldn't be allowed to participate in.

Participant observation, while in-depth, isn't an infallible research method. Observed populations often may alter their behavior with a researcher present due to knowing they are being studied. This is an effect that has been exhaustively documented and studied in psychological research. In addition, the researcher's gender or affiliation with a certain social group could alter the data that is being collected, as those researchers would have access to different data than another researcher. Thus, while this research method allows for a deeper immersion and understanding in the culture, it faces a very real set of challenges.

Many researchers argue that participant observation isn't always representative of a culture. There is disagreement that members of a specific culture could potentially have varying political and religious that could swing collected notes and data in a specific direction. This could mean that any inductive research that is collected could reflect a bias that is unrepresentative of the said culture that is being studied [1]. While it is widely known for anthropologists to conduct research with no bias, often times participant observation invites for an opportunity to attain bias unintentionally by the researcher.

A matter of representation of a culture is a big debate in terms of participant observation. Anthropologists may take various approaches to create representations of a culture. One possibility is an etic approach, where descriptions of culture are superficial, another could be an emic approach, which may include a lengthier description and an insiders representation of the culture. There is always the worry of inaccurate representation of a culture, which then allows for continued, more intensive participatory research.

Non-Participant Observation[edit]

In contrast to participant observation, non-participant observation is the anthropological method of collecting data by entering within a community but with limited interaction with the people observed. An etic approach that researchers often use to examine the details of how the subjects interact with one another and the environment around them. Detailed research such as body behavior (e.g. eye gaze, facial expression), speech styles (e.g. pitch) can be recorded through the nonparticipant method, but usually the emic approach is preferred when observing social context. An example of data collected through non-participant research would be the an estimation of how often women in a household wear high heels due to how worn out the carpet is.

"The observation process is a three-stage funnel, according to James Spradley, beginning with descriptive observation, in which researchers carry out broad scope observation to get an overview of the setting, moving to focused observation, in which they start to pay attention to a narrower portion of the activities that most interest them, and then selected observation, in which they investigate relations among the elements they have selected as being of greatest interest. Observation should end when theoretical saturation is reached, which occurs when further observations begin to add little or nothing to researchers' understanding. This usually takes a period of days or months, but, depending on the phenomenon in question, sometimes several years." (Liu & Maitlis 2010)

The non-participant observation, although effective in providing some research, has limitations. The observer affect is caused by the presence of the researcher having an influence over the participants' actions. The researcher may use systematic approaches of field notes, sampling and data to ensure and increase comfortable interactions. While using the non-participant observation method the issue that the researchers opinions may oppose that of the participance is posed. The only solution to this problem and to have a fuller and unbiased take on the research is to use both non-participant and participant method.

Carl Jung, a researcher who used the etic approach in his research, studied mythology, religion, ancient rituals, and dreams. His research lead him to believe that people's behaviors could be categorized into certain archetypes. Archetypes are models of unconscious, collective data that refer to the inherent way that people distinguish and process information. Jung's research on mothers and their infants analyzed that all people see their mothers in a similar way; they offer nurture and comfort. is research of looking at mothers is an etic way of applying a concept cross-culturally and universally.

Ethnographic Method[edit]

Cultural data assumes the form of directly observable material items, individual behaviors, performances, ideas and arrangements that exist only in people's heads. From the perspective of the culture concept, anthropologists must first treat all these elements as symbols within a coherent system and must record observations with attention to the cultural context and the meanings assigned by the culture's practitioners. These demands are met through two major research techniques: participant observation and key informant interviewing.

After the initial orientation or entry period, which may take 3 months or longer, the researcher follows a more systematic program of formal interviews involving questions related to research hypotheses and specialized topics. Several different methods of selecting informants are possible. Usually a few key informants are selected for in-depth sessions, since the investigation of cultural patterns usually calls for lengthy and repeated open ended interviews. Selection of such a small number does not allow for strict assurance of a representative sample, so the anthropologist must be careful to choose subjects who are well informed and reliable. Ethnographic researchers will also train informants to systematically report cultural data and recognize significant cultural elements and interconnections as the interview sequences unfold.

Key informant selection is known as judgment sampling and is particularly important for the kind of qualitative research that characterizes ethnography. Anthropologists will very frequently also need to carry out quantitative research from which statistically validated inferences can be drawn. Accordingly they must construct a either larger random sample or a total population census for more narrowly focused interviewing according to a closed questionnaire design. Other important quantitative data might include direct measurement of such items as farm size, crop yield, daily caloric intake, or even blood pressure, depending on the anthropologist's research focus. Aside from written observation and records, researchers will often provide ethnographic representations in other forms, such as collected artifacts, photographs, tape recordings, films, and videos.

Comparative Method[edit]

Since the beginning of anthropological studies, the Comparative Method has been a way to allow a systematic comparison of information and data from multiple sources. It is a common approach for testing multiple hypotheses on subjects including co-evolution of cultures, the adaptation of cultural practices to the environment, and kinship terms in local languages from around the world. The comparative method, could be considered an outdated form of fieldwork information gathering, however this method is still quite prevalent in modern day anthropological research. The use of this form of information gathering is formed in such ways to compare globalization which uses a version of this method called multi-sited Ethnography by participant observation gathered from many different social settings. Another form of the comparative research method is shown through the Human Relations Area Files, which collects and organizes ethnographic texts from hundreds of societies all over the world. These files cover topics ranging from types of kinship systems, to trading practices found in all of human culture.

Anthropologists Ruth Mace and Mark Pagel explore the comparative method of anthropological research in their article The Comparative Method in Anthropology. They explain how in the past decade there has been many expansions in other branches of anthropology including cultural diversity as a scientific endeavor. This is when the comparative method is used by those interested in cultural evolution and by those who study other human sciences. However, "cultures cannot be treated as independent for purposes of investigating cross culture trends," they must instead be studied in relation to one another. How two or more cultures grow together, or how they are even just researched together outlines the whole premise of the comparative method. Having been used for hundreds of years, this method is still one of the main forms of research for anthropologists all over the world.

Reflexivity[edit]

This method focuses on the awareness of the researcher and the effect they may be having on the research. It involves a constant awareness and assessment of the researcher's own contribution to and influence on the researcher's subjects and their findings. This principle was perhaps first thought of by William Thomas, as the "Thomas Theorem". Reflexivity requires a researcher's awareness of the effects that he/she might have on the information that is being recorded. Fieldwork in cultural anthropology is a reflexive experience. Anthropologists must constantly be aware that the information they are gathering may be skewed by their ethical opinions, or political standings. Even an anthropologists' presence in that culture can affect the results they receive. Reflexive fieldwork must retain a respect for detailed, accurate information gathering while also paying precise attention to the ethical and political context of research, the background of the researchers, and the full cooperation of informants. Ethnographers have come to realize that the dependability of their knowledge of other cultures depends on clear recognition of the ethical and political aspects of fieldwork, and the acknowledgment of how these have created this knowledge.Information gathering that is involved with reflective fieldwork must be detailed and accurate. In our everyday lives reflexivity is needed in order to better understand other cultures and therefore better understand ourselves. It is important to put your own opinions and ways of life aside so you can open your mind to see how others live. However, it is oftentimes hard to notice whether or not you are using reflexivity. For example, when someone you know talks about their religion, you may immediately disagree with specific aspects of their religion because you have not lived your entire life believing it as they have. Some anthropologists have taken this method to the extreme, Margaret Wilson, for example, wrote her book 'Dance Lest We all Fall Down' in a reflexive biographical manner; this accounted for her inability to fully integrate into Brazilian society [3].

Life Histories[edit]

Life history is a term used to describe when a person conveys their entire life experience, usually starting at childhood and continuing to the present. It is particularly useful in the field of cultural anthropology, as a researcher can get a general picture of the subject’s life in order to analyze their experiences in the context of a larger society. By gathering an array of life histories, an anthropological researcher can gain a better understanding of the culture in which they are studying. Sometimes life history can be documented through very extensive time periods to better understand a group of people. For example, an anthropologist studying the cause and effects of prostitution and drug dependence on young woman's lives in urban areas might use the life histories of some of the people he/she meets. By analyzing the time in which the subjects became dependent on substances and comparing it to the time in which they began practicing prostitution, the anthropologist can begin to understand the situation of these young ladies as well as if one action caused the other. Life history can be used as a very important research component in understanding another culture or just another way of living. [4]

Participatory Approach[edit]

This method involves full participation of the researcher with their subjects or community they are studying. Obviously if the researcher is not originally part of the culture they can never be involved to the extent that a native would be, but this method strives to get as close to an emicperspective as possible. The researcher lives with the community, eats as they do, acts as they do and shares this life with the world through their ethnography. The emic approach of collecting data can serve as a more useful data collecting process, and the output data can be more precise than the etic approach on ethnography. From this method came the most common form of anthropological fieldwork method in the modern era. This method, while prevailing in modern Anthropology and more effective than secondary source work, comes with its own limitations. Gendered societies often only allow people of a specific gender to see one side or the other of the society, leading to a bias towards that portion of a society's ideals.

Participatory Action Research[edit]

This specific method requires a community commitment to change. It occurs in five steps:

  1. Education on the process or creating a dialogue
  2. Collective Investigation
  3. Collective Interpretation
  4. Collective Action
  5. Transformation: Self-Determination and Empowerment

Because of the intrinsic qualities of this type of research (ideally being conducted by people with close ties or membership of a community), it is usually very applicable to situations in the community. The "research" is an analysis of the community's behavior by community members. Not only are they by necessity motivated to work on the problem, but they will already have significant rapport with other community members which allows them to better address and analyze it.

The dynamic attributes of the process allow constant reevaluation and change. This cyclic tendency can develop into healthy adaptation patterns in the community without outside contributions or aid.

Philippe Bourgois in East Harlem[edit]

Under the viaduct in Harlem

An ideal example of the participatory method in fieldwork is Philippe Bourgois in East Harlem. As he describes in his book: In Search of Respect: Selling Crack in El Barrio^ he lived in East Harlem for around four years starting in 1985 for the purpose of gaining an emic perspective of poverty in one of the world's busiest cities:New York City. Soon he befriended some men in his neighborhood and quickly had an "in" with the newly arising crack scene. He lived side by side with dealers, buyers, and users and gained extreme insight into their lives because he too was living life with them. He met them as a friend, not a researcher and was able to form a unique relationship with them, gaining their trust that Bourgeois would fully explain the El Barrio crack scene as they lived it. He did not fully participate in their lifestyle which left a small divide, but he was still able to gain a participatory approach to this subculture.

Triangulation Method[edit]

The triangulation method is the "combination of methodologies in the study of the same phenomenon". [5] Triangulation is used to investigate a single topic through individual perspectives or multiple methodologies. It is usually the preferred way to research because it can combine all methods of researching to get the best results. It uses qualitative and quantitative practices as well. The qualitative practice gives the triangulation method its inquiry results. The quantitative practice gives it the validation results. Triangulation is important when researching because it focuses on all aspects of the experiment or experience. It combines a scientific approach with an observational approach. According to the Administrative Science Quarterly, it is a "vehicle for cross validation when two or more distinct methods are found to be congruent and yield comparable data". [6] The foundation of triangulation relies on one form of research being weak and the other form stepping up to make up for it. Relying on one form of research can create a bias. Measurement and sampling biases are the most common form of bias found in Anthropology. Measurement bias has to do with how you collect data. The general problem with measurement data, is the individual or group being researched tends to tell you what you want to hear instead of the full truth. This is because of peer pressure from either the researcher or focus groups. Triangulation helps prevent this by giving the researcher the opportunity to participate in individual, self-reported and observational methods with those being researched. Sampling bias generally means that the researcher doesn't have time to cover the entire group they are focusing on. Or they focus on what they think the important parts of a society are and don't study the less important aspects. Triangulation can combine phone research, face-to-face interviews, and online surveys to insure that the researcher is getting the most accurate results.

In all, the triangulation method for fieldwork can combine all aspects of research to create the most accurate and detailed results, taking different perspectives and various sources to culminate into the most accurate model or a culture.

Types of Analysis[edit]

Qualitative vs. Quantitative Analysis[edit]

Quantitative research pertains to the who, where and what. Qualitative research pertains to the how and why.

Quite simply, quantitative research is more interested in hard data procured through things like surveys, polls and censuses. It's interested in the percentage of people interviewed that agree with one statement versus another or the number of people in a culture that belong to a certain organization, how many people in a country speak the native language versus how many are bilingual or only speak a foreign language. This method or research usually requires a large random sample group. It is totally concerned with the hard evidence through statistics and recorded happenings, participants, and locations.

Qualitative research isn't as cut and dry as quantitative. Qualitative research is in-depth research that seeks to understand why people do what they do in an attempt to understand culture. It often crosses disciplinary boundaries and strays from a single focused subject. This research method usually requires a smaller sample group. It is concerned with the nuance of a social situation, the culture and emotion, and things that cannot be totally determined through hard science.

Positivist Approach[edit]

Made popular during the late 18th century, this was the primary anthropological method used until the 1970s. It is based around the central idea of positivism, which is defined as a theory that theology and metaphysics are earlier imperfect modes of knowledge and that positive knowledge is based on natural phenomena and their properties and relations as verified by the scientific method.[2] The main goal of a positivist approach is to produce objective knowledge, which is knowledge about humanity that is true for all people in all times and places. The ideal positivist approach would occur with a physical scientist in a lab, producing concrete results. Anthropologists adapted this method to their own use by testing hypotheses in different cultures under similar conditions. This method was very successful in recording previously unknown data about different peoples, but it was often objective facts about a way of life in which the people of the culture at question were regarded more as lab subjects than actual human beings. Eventually this method was adapted into the reflexive method, to better demonstrate the relationships that exist within communities and the anthropologists own interactions with the informants.

The informants are "people in a particular culture who work with anthroplogists and provide them with insights about their way of life. They can also be called teachers or friends"[7]. There was a reconsideration of fieldwork that looked not only at the backgrounds of ethnographers way they shaped their fieldwork, but also began to pay more attention to the ethical and political dimensions of the relationship that the anthropologist developed with the people's life he or her is studying, referred to as "informants"[8].

Ethnographic Analysis[edit]

Spradley describes ethnography as different from deductive types of social research in that the five steps of ethnographic research: selecting a problem, collecting data, analyzing data, formulating hypotheses, and writing. All five steps happen simultaneously (p. 93-94).

In his book, Spradley describes four types of ethnographic analysis that basically build on each other. The first type of analysis is domain analysis, which is “a search for the larger units of cultural knowledge” (p. 94). The other kinds of analysis are taxonomic analysis, componential analysis, and theme analysis.

All of Spradley’s theories about ethnographic analysis hinge on his belief that researchers should be searching for the meaning that participants make of their lives. These meanings are expressed through symbols, which can be words, but can also be nonverbal cues. However, because this book is about analyzing interviews, Spradley focuses on analyzing the spoken words of the participants. He explains that words are symbols that represent some kind of meaning for an individual, and each symbol has three parts: the symbol itself, what the symbol refers to, and the relationship between the symbol and the referent. Thus, the word computer can be a symbol. It refers to many things, including an individual's own personal computer. Thus, a computer is a kind of computer in the mind, or the idea of a computer, and this shows the relationship between the symbol (computer) and the referent (an actual physical computer).

Domain analysis[edit]

Spradley defines a domain as the “symbolic category that includes other categories” (p. 100). So, a domain is a collection of categories that share a certain kind of relationship. Computers is a domain that includes not only my laptop, but all the Dells, Toshibas, iMacs, and IBMs of the world. These all share the same relationship because they are all kinds of computers. Spradley explains that there are three elements of a domain. First, the cover term, which in my example is the word “computer”. Second, there are included terms, which are all the types of computers I just listed. Finally, there is the single, unifying semantic relationship, which is the idea that “X, Y, and Z are all kinds of A”.

When doing domain analysis, Spradley suggests first doing a practice run, which he calls preliminary searches. To do this, you select a portion of your data and search for names that participants give to things. You then identify whether any of these listed nouns might possibly be cover terms for domains. Finally, you can then search through your data for possible included terms that might fit under this domain you have identified.

Remember, this was just the warm-up. To actually do domain analysis, you look for relationships in the data, not names. Spradley is famous for his very useful list of possible relationships that may exist Spradley suggests strict inclusion or means-end as good ones for starters. Second, you select a portion of your data and begin reading it, and while doing so you fill out a domain analysis worksheet where you list all the terms that fit the semantic relationship you chose. Third (if you follow along in Spradley’s book, you’ll notice I’m crunching his steps together for brevity) you formulate questions for each domain. So to revert to my example, if you identified from your interview with me that I feel that Macs are kinds of computers, you could test this hypothesis by making a question out of this semantic statement; “Are there different kinds of computers?” You could ask me, or another participant, and based on their answer, you would know if the cover term, included terms, and semantic relationship that you identified were correct. You could then probe with more questions like, “Why are Macs a kind of computer?” or “In what way are Macs a kind of computer?” In this way, your analysis feeds into your next round of data collection.

The final step in domain analysis is to make a list of all the hypothetical domains you have identified, the relationships in these domains, and the structural questions that follow your analysis.

Taxonomic Analysis[edit]

Taxonomic Analysis is a search for the way that cultural domains are organized, building upon the first type of analysis, this form of research is best defined as the classification of data in the form x is a kind of y (D'Andrade, 92). Used largely for the organization and grouping of plant and animal species, taxonomic analysis is not focused on the features of an organism but rather the variable genetic differences that define them. For example, scientists can refer to the common chimpanzee using the taxonomy pan troglodyte and make specific references to that species without fear of error in their classification and use of data. Taxonomic Analysis usually involves drawing a graphical interpretation of the ways in which the individual participants move, form groups, and pattern the structure of a conversation.

References[edit]

  1. Dale, Brigt. "Lives In-between Encountering Men in a Tobagonian Village." Anthrobase. Brigt Dale, 2004. Web. 26 Nov. 2016. <http://www.anthrobase.com/Txt/D/Dale-B_01.htm>.
  2. Eating Christmas in the Kalahari
  3. 'Dance Lest We All Fall Down' Margaret Wilson
  4. Zaira Jagudina, The life stories of the human rights NGO activists and (g)local public spaces in post-Soviet Russia: Moving from 'personal' to 'political' April 2002 Zaira Jagudina.
  5. Administrative Science Quarterly, First Edition, Vol. 24, No. 4, Qualitative Methodology (Dec., 1979).
  6. Administrative Science Quarterly, First Edition, Vol. 24, No. 4, Qualitative Methodology (Dec., 1979).
  7. Schultz, Emily A.;Lavenda, Robert H.Cultural Anthropology: A Perspective on the Human Condition (7th Ed.). Oxford University Press 2009 P. 50
  8. ibid

^ "Positivism." Def. 1. Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. 11th ed. 2003.

^ Bourgois, Philip, In Search of Respect: Selling Crack in El Barrio Cambridge University Press, 1995.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Spradley

^"Emic and Etic." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2016.

^Liu, F., & Maitlis, S. (2010). Nonparticipant Observation. In Albert J. Mills, G. Durepos, & E. Wiebe (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Case Study Research. (pp. 610-612). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

^ D'Andrade, Roy. "The Development of Cognitive Anthropology." 1995 92. 10 Mar 2009 http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=2QCWe2r-pvwC&oi=fnd&pg=PR12&dq=taxonomic+analysis+anthropology&ots=Vwe01uBe3l&sig=2EfRTfVyeZZyfOoIRHQwxase2K0#PPP1,M1

History of Anthropological Theory · Communication and Language