Why is participant observation unique to anthropology?. Anthropology

• Anthropologists deploy two different perspectives for collecting data through partici­pant observation and for analyzing and producing cultural texts

- 1. The insiders view (emic perspective): how a member of the group would de­scribe or interpret the behaviour of group members

- 2. The outsiders view (etic perspective): observing behaviour as if from a dis­tance and with no prior knowledge about its emic meaning

• the best method available to scholars who seek a holistic understanding of culture and the human condition

• gives ethnographers and opportunity to engage actively in community life, to ob­serve, describe, and to interpret tacit aspects of complex social realities that often remains outside people's consciousness

Interviews and Surveys:

• conducting ethnographic interviews

- Ie) open-ended/unstructured, focused group discussions, semi-structured inter­views

• administrating surveys

- Ie) structured interviews/questionnaires , basic household surveys

• consulting archives and previously published literatures

- Ie) written documents, historical accounts

Importance of interview methods:

• Semi-structured interviews are helpful for discovering

- Ie) what people think about their health status and how these perceptions can be compared between individuals and groups

• Focus group interviews are useful for collecting a large amount of information in a short period of time and are also useful for understanding common group exercises

• Focus group interviews are also useful for making comparisons across interviews as the participants can be asked more or less the same questions

Basic procedures and requirements for doing participant observation

• 1. Preparation: completing theoretical and methodological training before entering the field, including identifying research problems and getting grants from govern­ment and other independent sources

• 2. Working “abroad”/Getting into the field: getting permissions, visa approvals, mak­ing contact with the study area/community and managing accommodation/ensuring safety and security for living and doing research

• 3. Working at “home”: anthropologists now can work in their native society and can choose research topics they are interested in such as cultural change, economic relations, social differentiation, and marginalization and political-structural violence and so on

- Strengths and Weaknesses of ethnographic fieldwork:

• Strengths:

- produces new knowledge

- cultivating reflexivity allows anthropologists to produce less distorted views of hu­man nature and the human condition

- Anthropological knowledge depends on original text; in this case human experi­ence

- intersubjective understandings; it broadens understanding of cultural worlds and transforms the self-understandings of anthropologists and the people with whom they work

• Weaknesses:

- Culture shock, anxiety, concerns of health, personal safety and security