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SOSC 1000 Study Guide - Final Guide: Longitudinal Study

Social Science
Course Code
SOSC 1000
Judith Adler Hellman
Study Guide

of 4
The Ethics of Fieldwork: Research on a University
Issues that May be Faced by the Anthropologist
Ethnocentricity, the tendency to perceive and evaluate the world in
light of one’s own cultural experience, can be an issue in social
Eg. For a social anthropologist coming from a polygamous
society, the idea of a monogamous family would be strange.
How do we avoid thinking of people who are different from us as
If we are judgemental about the practices, that might keep us
from understanding these practices
Longitudinal studies, studies over a lengthy period of time, pose
unique problems
Eg. Going back to the same research site to see if people have
transformed or not, or keeping up with the family of Angel over
the phone
Resulting bias #1
oAnthropologist George Foster, studying village of
Tzintzuntzan in the west of Mexico
oSent his graduate students there to study and
established links with the village
oTzintzuntzaneans began coming to the States as
undocumented migrants
Resulting bias #2
oMay later find results that contradict the hypothesis or
earlier findings; if Margaret Mead had gone back, she
may have obtained different results, as the
anthropologists who went to Samoa after her have
oAs a result, may not get to say the things you really
need to say
Resulting bias #3
oYou can like somebody so much because you are so
grateful that the person you are following up with has
reaffirmed you, that you are not able to see the whole
Problem of Reciprocity
People not voicing their true concerns
oHellman: few people who really needed help went right out
and asked for it due to a culture of pride
Results of research can be unexpected
oGodelier and Baruya: Wanted to study people when they
are isolated because he wanted to understand the nature
of men, whether we have different concepts in the West in
comparison to these people
oThe furthest thing on his mind was war
oAnthropologists have studied the ethnic differences
between Vietnam and Laos, but the information then
ended up being used by the countries against each other in
order to advance their military design
Information that the person involved in the study has expected
to be given out does not end up being given out
oHellman: Josephina, a woman she interviewed, wanted her
to document the history of her love life
Cultural Repugnance
There may be some aspects of culture repugnant and disguisting to
the point where they simply cannot be accepted as they are by the
social anthropologist
Daniel in the Dominican Republic, who could not continue being an
observer because he began to give first aid there
oPeople were disappointed that he did not leave children
behind there as reminders of him
oIn this village, there was a lot of migration, and the role of
a good father was framed within the reality of migration,
which conflicted with Daniel’s role of a good father as
somebody who is always there to take care of his kids
Study done by a Mexican in Queens, New York on mexican migrants
oParticipant observation in a 32-man household, everyone
from his hometown
oRotation of duties taking place, including taking turns with
a prostitute serially for 10 minute shifts
oOnce it was his turn, decided to go to the prostitute but
told her that he does not want sex, and she told him that a
lot of men make the same request: resulted in a new
research finding
oHad he not taken that risk, he may have mad
complications and would not have made this finding
Martin Sanchez Jankowski’s Study on Gangs
oEmbedded himself in 10 different gangs
oDoes not want to fight, but him not fighting would be a
terrible liability for the gang, resulting in him affecting the
outcomes of his research
oDecides to fight only if he found himself in the gang that
was attacked
A lot of problems can arise during the course of study, so the
researcher often has to find some reasonably creative solutions
We have a moral responsibility not to mess around with the subjects
more than they are messed up already
Moffat (Coming of Age in New Jersey)
oRuns into trouble right away due to his research method,
participant intervention, since he does not readily fit in
with the freshman crowd at the university dorm
Studying the more powerful
Arlene Kaplan Daniels studied the military
oHad to adhere to the womanly behaviours expected by the
subjects in order to be accepted as a participant
Catching the people at the right moment
oIf people are bored, they are more likely to talk to you
oThey may be more secretive and not talk to you
The staff of the facilities for the treatment of the
mentally ill are very secretive about what is going on
Businessmen and business corporations are very
difficult to interview
oDo the same ethical principles that we adhere to when
studying the poor and the powerless apply to studying
those in power? Or is it fair to dissimilate (pretend, make
things up) in order to penetrate the secret world we need
to know about?
David Rosenhan: Being Sane In Insane Places
oIntended to see the inner workings of the hospitals treating
the mentally ill
oGathers together 8 different people who were certifiably
oHas each one of them go to a mental hospital with the
classic presenting symptom of schizophrenia, “hearing
oThey are instructed to take notes on their surroundings,
shows up on their charts as “note-taking behaviour”
oThe staff do not notice that these people are not
schizophrenic, but the patients notice it
This happens despite the fact that the intruders have
been instructed, upon being asked what the voices
are telling them, saying that the voices are not
telling them anything anymore
oOnce, Rosenhan said that he was going to infiltrate the
hospital with people who are mentally ill, but he did not do
it, so the hospital released patients that were able to be