1 Methodological Perspectives from Anthropology Dr.Zubeeda Quraishy Dept of Informatics University of Oslo
2 Objective of this session is to.. To introduce students to the concepts of anthropological field techniques and how to construct an effective research design. To develop a workable methodology to adequately address your research design and to write qualitative research. To learn to think analytically, to grasp the range of human adaptability, and to reinforce tolerance for the differences found in today's interdependent world.
3 Writing Qualitative Research Wolcott(1990)points out that many qualitative researchers make the mistake of leaving the writing up until the end i.e. until they have got the story figured out. Wolcott makes the point that writing is thinking. Writing actually helps a researcher to think straight and to figure out what the story should be. The motto of every qualitative researcher should be to start writing as soon as possible.
4 Research methods Research methods provide important clue regarding the most relevant strategy to be used (Yin, 1994). Case settings influences the choice of a relevant and rigorous approach.
5 Research Approach Is a strategy of inquiry which moves from the underlying assumptions to research design and data collection. The way data is collected is influenced by the choice of research approach.
6 Different Research Approaches in Anthropology Quantitative & Qualitative
7 Quantitative Research Methods Quantitative methods which are now well accepted in the social sciences include: Survey methods Laboratory experiments, Formal methods (e.g. econometrics) and Numerical methods such as mathematical modeling
8 What is Qualitative Research? Qualitative research can be characterized as the attempt to obtain an in-depth understanding of the meanings and 'definitions of the situation' presented by informants, rather than the production of a quantitative 'measurement' of their characteristics or behavior (Wainwright, 1997)
9 Qualitative Research Any kind of research that produces findings not arrived at by means of statistical procedures or other means of quantification. (Strauss and Corbin (1990, pp. 17-18)
10 Quantifying the Qualitative Data Qualitative interviewing techniques-Triad Sorting are employed by some researchers to gather textual data that are subsequently coded and analyzed statistically thus quantifying the qualitative data. (Bernard 1988; Trotter and Potter 1993; Weller and Romney 1988) The results of such analyses generate an understanding of cognitive categories, or how people perceive the relationship among categories in some domain, such as HIV risk behaviors.
11 But what happens when qualitative data is quantified.. The goal of understanding a phenomenon from the point of view of the participants and its particular social and institutional context is largely lost when textual data are quantified (Kaplan and Maxwell, 1994)
12 Triangulation Combination of one or more research methods has been referred as Triangulation. (Ethnographers should have more than one way to show how we arrived at the conclusions of our research; field notes, interviews, and site documents which work together to support our claims. This is called triangulation ). Good discussions of triangulation can be found in Gable (1994), Kaplan and Duchon (1988), Lee (1991), Mingers (2001) and Ragin (1987). An empirical example of the use of triangulation is Markus' (1994) paper on electronic mail.Gable (1994)Kaplan and Duchon (1988),Lee (1991)Mingers (2001)Ragin (1987)Markus' (1994)
13 Other distinctions in research methods.. Objective versus Subjective (Burrell and Morgan, 1979)Burrell and Morgan, 1979 Nomothetic( general laws ) Vs Idiographic ( uniqueness of each particular situation ) Emic (insider) Vs Etic (outsider) perspective. (For a fuller discussion see Luthans and Davis (1982), and Morey and Luthans (1984).Luthans and Davis (1982 Morey and Luthans (1984) The list goes on.
14 Philosophical Perspectives All research (whether quantitative or qualitative) is based on some underlying assumptions about what constitutes 'valid' research and which research methods are appropriate. In order to conduct and/or evaluate qualitative research, it is therefore important to know what these (sometimes hidden) assumptions are.
15 Epistemology Most pertinent philosophical assumptions are those which relate to the underlying epistemology which guides the research. Epistemology refers to the assumptions about knowledge and how it can be obtained (for a fuller discussion, see Hirschheim, 1992). Hirschheim, 1992
16 Assumptions that underlie the Anthropological Research Perspective First, it is assumed that people are symbol constructing and spend a great deal of time consciously and unconsciously interpreting what the symbols & behaviors created by themselves and others mean Anthropologist gain knowledge of how people think and behave through involvement in their daily social milieus. Finally, it is assumed that peoples perceptions and behaviors are related to context.
17 Qualitative Research Methods Originally developed in the Social Sciences. Have a specific strength in helping to understand people as well as social and cultural phenomena (Avison, Lau, Myers & Nielsen,1999). Used for describing the participants views of processes and collecting subjective accounts of phenomena. Used for analysis of the data, finding connections & relationships, the influence of the context and different perspectives toward phenomena.
18 Benefits of Using Anthropological Methods Through anthropological methods, it is possible to gain an understanding of the meanings people attribute to their actions as well as delineate the wider socio-political and ecological context in which their behaviors take place (Ex, drug use and HIV risk behaviors) cont..
19 Benefits of using Anthropological methods Such an understanding is crucial not only for designing and evaluating questionnaires but also for designing locally and culturally sensitive intervention and prevention programs as well as for formulating meaningful research questions (Carlson et al. 1994a)
20 Distinguishing Features of Anthropological Research Concerned with exploring and interpreting social phenomena (tries to understand how people make sense of their world). Studies people in their own territory & in their natural settings. Gives insight concerning questions in terms of Who, Where, How & Why. Anthropologists have the expertise of studying complex human behavior (HIV, drug abuse etc) Employs different methods
21 .. Anthropological Research ..often the only means available for gathering sensitive and valid data from otherwise elusive populations (ex, substance abusers, commercial sex workers etc. Wiebel (1990, p. 5) Anthropological research is necessary not only to design questionnaires but also to formulate meaningful research questions, conduct appropriate statistical analyses, and interpret the results (Werner and Schoepfle (1987a) )
22 Anthropologists Study things in their natural settings, attempting to make sense of, or interpret, phenomena in terms of the meanings people bring to them. Involve a variety of empirical materials- case study, personal experience, introspective, life story, interview, observational, historical, interactional, and visual texts-that describe routine and problematic moments and meanings in individuals lives ( Denzin and Lincoln, 1994b,p.2).
23 To be an anthropologist One needs to explore, investigate, roam, and be nomadic. Give up any thoughts about sending someone else out to do the work. Forget having someone else do the transcription. The nuances are what count, and you can not delegate that work. This is not something you can do impersonally to avoid your own bias. Bias is your locator, your internal detective, but only after you self-reflect and figure out your bias, you can move ahead of it. This is why it is important to keep a field diary, to record your dreams, your insights, your conjecture, those hypotheses that comes from doing the field work.
24 REQUIREMENTS FOR ANTHROPOLOGICAL RESEARCH PERSPECTIVE Anthropological research requires the investigator to spend considerable time with the group under study, to develop contacts with key respondents, to learn the language, norms, values, and attitudes of this group, and to build trust relation-ships. (Sterk-Elifson (1993, p. 163)
25 Contd.. Equal time must be allotted for data processing and analysis. Anthropological research methods were developed to enable researchers to study social and cultural phenomena.
26 Some of the Research Methods in Anthropology are Action Research Case Study Research Ethnography Grounded Theory
27 Action Research Action research aims to contribute both to the practical concerns of people in an immediate problematic situation and to the goals of social science by joint collaboration within a mutually acceptable ethical framework (Rapoport, 1970, p. 499).Rapoport, 1970
28 Contd.. Action Research Action research is concerned to enlarge the stock of knowledge of the social science community. It is this aspect of action research that distinguishes it from applied social science, where the goal is simply to apply social scientific knowledge but not to add to the body of knowledge. Action research has been accepted as a valid research method in applied fields such as organization development and education (e.g. see the Special Issue on action research in Human Relations, Vol. 46, No. 2, 1993, and Kemmis and McTaggart, 1988).Human Relations, Vol. 46, No. 2, 1993Kemmis and McTaggart, 1988 In recent years action research is undertaken in Information Systems research.
29 ICIS 1999 Panel on "IS Action Research: Can We Serve Two Masters?" ICIS 1999 Panel on "IS Action Research: Can We Serve Two Masters?" A brief overview of action research is the article by Susman and Evered (1988).Susman and Evered (1988) The article by Baskerville and Wood-Harper (1996) provides a good introduction to how action research might be used by IS researchers. An empirical example of action research is the article by Ytterstad et al. (1996).Baskerville and Wood-Harper (1996)Ytterstad et al. (1996) Investigating Information Systems with Action Research References on Action Research MIS Quarterly Special Issue on Action Research in Information Systems has now been published. See Baskerville and Myers (2004) Investigating Information Systems with Action Research References on Action Research MIS Quarterly Special Issue on Action Research in Information Systems