As we all know many anthropology methods of research can be discussed from two different points of view, pros and cons. There are several different kinds of research methods used. For example, there is the Interview, the Observation, the Participant, the Questionnaires, and the Survey. I will only touch upon two of the techniques that I find to be particularly fascinating: the Interview and Observational methods. Furthermore, I will illustrate these arguments with a few series of case examples that will show and support my essay.
In addition, my conclusion will illustrate the difference between Quantitative data compared to Qualitative data as well as how and why one is superior to the other. Interviews have been the most favorable method used not only by anthropologists, but universally as well. In this method, the researcher personally asks the subjects a particular series of questions. In this manner, the researcher is solving one problem common to that specific concern questionnaire.
However, when practicing these techniques the researcher must try to avoid influencing the subjects’ response by refraining from any and all nonverbal expressions; for example they are to try to avoid raising an eyebrow or any other influential body gestures when the subject is asked the questions. More often than not, this technique can help the researcher comprehend the story behind the quantitative research data. However, in order for this method to be successful, the research must be capable of effectively performing the techniques required to obtain all necessarily information.
There are arrays of benefits that can be seen when using interview methods that can range from an opportunity to explain or clarify questions, to flexibility of time and location, and essentially the direct feedback from the respondent. According to the University of Wisconsin extension, interviews are great chance for both the researcher and the respondent to clarify any questions either may have; which is said to accurately increase the data being collected.
For instance, researchers often ask some follow-up questions with the intent of clarifying an answer or sometimes even to get deep down to the nitty gritty. We have all seen people who record specific questions separately to be used during the interview process; this is for a better understanding of those particular matters. Furthermore, interviews are much more amenable compared to any other method used. In the case of Interviews, time and location can be arranged accordingly. Sometimes interviewers are a lot more open minded in settings where they are more comfortable.
One further example, DeAnne Barnes, my CNA (Certified Nursing Assistance) coordinator at Camellia hospice, when asked about why she chooses to interview her employees in various locations, she answers, “Yes, I like doing my interviews inside restaurants because I have come to believe that most of these people are a lot more comfortable with the questions I ask when in settings like this. ” Despite that, one could also argue there are few disadvantages associated with this research method.
For instance, the questions being asked to the responder are most likely not going to have a positive outcome. In reality, when someone is trying to make a good impression during interviews, the Quantitative chances according to Deseret News Nation, 96 percent of Americans admit to being untruthful when answering. While on the other hand, with the Observational method, the researchers observe the chosen categories of people while joining them in their everyday routine within cultural societies.
This type of method is known as fieldwork, and the result is the ethnography. But yet however, they must not let that specific societal group know the purpose of the research; because disrupting the routine behavior of this group of people might alter the data and the results may not turn out as predicted. This type of method represents mostly Qualitative date instead of Quantitative, this is due to the fact that anthropologist might not actually come up with important questions for their research.
One of the best things about participant observation is that the researcher gains an insider’s viewpoint of the many different societies. To illustrates, Joseph Ewoodzie, a Ghanaian, born sociologist wanted to study about the homeless people in Mississippi, by using this method he was able to grasp a better perspective and understanding of the everyday life of this particular group of people. By doing so, Ewoodzi was able to write about the life of a typical homeless man.
The downside of the Observational method is that the participants involved could prove to be problematic if the anthropologist does not execute the research technique properly. One major conflict that may arise is that most anthropology researchers have a very little control over what goes on within the population during the research phase. In these natural settings, the observant has to be very careful to not allow the groups being studied gain awareness of their purpose.
If the observed group becomes aware, they may act differently than they normally would which would in return influence what the anthropologist observes and reports. A great example of these types of methods would be observing elementary scholars. Another important problem with the Observational method can be the biasness of the observer toward the chosen group. The color perception of the researcher, which is an event that may cause a change in his attitude, beliefs, and even at times, personal traits; which are all believed to alter the outcome.
The researcher could, in some instances, come to be preconception at the end when unfolding and interpreting the entire experience. Consequently, when considering doing anthropological research, one must understand and be able to choose the most suitable research method. As noted in the introduction, there is a great deal of anthropology methods, so one must use the precise method. When ensuring the best reasonable results possible, there are roughly ten anthropology research steps to consider. Some of these research steps to take into consideration might include: What is your topic?
What do others already knew about the topic? What are your main questions? What resources will you acquire for the research? Are there any ethical concerns? While these are only a few, one major consideration should be which research method would you use to collect the data? To conclude, as I mentioned previously, I will briefly cover the difference in Quantitative data and Qualitative data. Quantitative data can be used with some specific research methods; my case in point, the Interview method.
With this method, it is critical that the results contain a statistical analysis of the data collected in order to inform the population, therefor, Quantitative date is best. Whereas, Qualitative could be used in the Observation method, since the result are going to be based on characteristics or even a theme or pattern, rather than statistical analysis. So for this purpose, when conducting an Interview, Qualitative data may be superior while on the other hand when conducting Observational research, Quantitative would be the superior choice.