ANT102H5 Study Guide - Comprehensive Midterm Guide: Caveman, Premarital Sex, Margaret Mead

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ANT102H5
MIDTERM EXAM
STUDY GUIDE
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ANT102
Fieldwork
How do we go about studying what we do?
Ethnography: As a noun, it means ‘the outcome of the anthropologist’s work’. As a
verb, it is a method – fieldwork. To do ethnography is to do fieldwork.
Ethnography is not written about in anthropology. There are different ways of
studying different things; the fieldwork varies from one anthropologist to another.
The main goal of ethnography is to get a behind-the-scenes look at what it being
studied.
Ethnography follows a simple outline; this is the basic frame that all
anthropologists follow, though the details for each may vary:
1. Choose a field-site. Where will you go? Why will you go there? What are
you planning to study in that particular field?
2. Prepare for the field. What kind of questions will you ask? How will you
go about getting the information you need? Also, preparing a proposal is
crucial; you have to state where you’re going and for what purpose, and
what you hope to achieve so that your field project can be approved. Apply
for funding. If applicable, learn the language of the area you’re planning to
go to. And get a map!
3. Getting there. Arrange for transportation. Get research clearance and a
residence permit, as well as more maps. Have a backup location just in case.
What do anthropologists do on the field?
1. Survey the site. Draw a map, ask questions, etc.
2. Meet people. Talk to them, tell them who you are, why you’re there, learn
about them.
3. Find a house, a place to stay.
4. Try to learn more of the language, if necessary.
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5. Participant observation: One of the main methodological tools
anthropologists use to gather data about the world they’re trying to
understand. They get involved in the local activities of the community
they’re in, hence both participating and observing at the same time.
Problems in field research:
There are drawbacks in this kind of research – one of the main problems being that
it’s simply boring. Another issue is that there is no escape from everyday gossip if
you happen to be studying a small-world community, which can also lead to
claustrophobia. There is also the issue of people sometimes not wanting to speak to
you or answer your questions.
After the field work:
Analyze data, which is usually long diary/journal entries.
Write articles and books.
Attend conferences, present your book/article for publication.
Teach. A method of conveying anthropology understanding.
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