CSS Solved Anthropology Past Papers | Discuss qualitative and quantitative research approaches appropriate for anthropological research
Assad Hamid, the highest scorer in the CSS Anthropology paper, attempts the following question. The answer is written on the same pattern, taught by Sir to his students, scoring the highest marks in compulsory subjects for years. This solved past paper question is uploaded to help aspirants understand how to crack a topic or question, how to write relevantly, what coherence is, and how to include and connect ideas, opinions, and suggestions to score the maximum.
This question is very straightforward. We are required to write about the qualitative and quantitative research approaches in Anthropology.
2- Purpose of Anthropological Research
3- Types of Qualitative Research Approach
- ✓ Participant observation
- ✓ Ethnographic conversation or interviewing
- ✓ The Genealogical method
- ✓ Well-Informed Informant
- ✓ Life Histories
- ✓ Problem-based Ethnography
- ✓ Longitudinal Research
4- Types of Quantitative Research Approach
- ✓ Survey
- ✓ Statistical Analysis
- ✓ Geographic Information System
- ✓ Demographic Analysis
Answer to the Question
Anthropologists use a variety of research methods, including qualitative methods such as participant observation, ethnographic conversation or interviewing, the genealogical method, well-informed informant, life histories, problem-based ethnography, and longitudinal research, as well as quantitative methods such as surveys and statistical analysis. Through their research, anthropologists aim to identify patterns and variations in human behavior and culture, as well as the historical and social factors that have shaped them, and to promote cross-cultural understanding and respect.
Purpose of Anthropological Research
The purpose of anthropological research is to gain a better understanding of human cultures, societies, and behavior. Anthropologists study the ways in which people live, work, and interact with each other, as well as how they make sense of the world around them. They use a variety of research methods, including participant observation, interviews, and surveys, to collect data on different aspects of human life, such as religion, language, economics, and politics.
Through their research, anthropologists seek to identify patterns and variations in human behavior and culture, as well as the historical and social factors that have shaped them. They also aim to understand how different cultural practices and beliefs affect people’s lives and well-being, and how these practices and beliefs may change over time. Ultimately, the purpose of anthropological research is to promote cross-cultural understanding and respect, and to help us better understand the diversity of human experience around the world.
Qualitative Research Approaches
- Participant Observation
In participant observation, the researcher typically spends an extended period of time living among the people they are studying, gaining a deep understanding of their customs, beliefs, and behaviors. The researcher may also participate in the activities of the group, such as attending religious ceremonies, social events, or work activities. It involves both observation and participation, with the researcher taking on an active role in the social setting. One of the benefits of participant observation is that it allows the researcher to gain an emic perspective, or an insider’s view, of the culture being studied. This can provide a more nuanced understanding of the social practices and beliefs of the group.
- Ethnographic Conversation or Interviewing
Ethnographic conversation or interviewing is a qualitative research method used in anthropology and other social sciences to collect data on people’s beliefs, attitudes, and experiences. Through these conversations, researchers can gain a deep understanding of how people view the world, how they make decisions, and how they interact with others.
The conversations are typically semi-structured, meaning that the researcher has a set of questions or topics they want to cover, but the conversation is allowed to flow naturally, and the participant is encouraged to share their thoughts and ideas in their own way. Ethnographic conversation or interviewing can be conducted in various settings, including in-person, online, or over the phone.
- The Genealogical method
The genealogical method is a research technique used in anthropology to understand the social structure and kinship systems of a particular culture or community. It involves tracing the relationships between individuals and identifying patterns of descent, inheritance, and alliance. By studying family trees and genealogies, anthropologists can gain insights into the social organization and power dynamics of a group, as well as the ways in which individuals navigate social relationships and obligations. The genealogical method is particularly useful in understanding how kinship ties intersect with other social and cultural practices, such as marriage, inheritance, and gender roles.
- Well-Informed Informant
The well-informed informant method is a research technique used in anthropology to gather information from individuals who have a deep understanding of a particular cultural practice or phenomenon. These individuals are often selected based on their reputation for being knowledgeable and respected members of their community. Researchers use a combination of interviews, observations, and participant-observation to gain insights into the cultural practices, beliefs, and values of the community. The well-informed informant method can provide a rich understanding of cultural practices and is particularly useful when studying cultural practices that are difficult to observe directly.
- Life Histories
It involves conducting in-depth interviews with individuals from a particular culture or community to gain a comprehensive understanding of their experiences and perspectives. This method is particularly useful in studying primitive tribes, as it allows anthropologists to document and analyze the unique ways in which these communities navigate their social, cultural, and economic landscapes. By exploring the life histories of individuals within these groups, anthropologists can gain insight into the historical and contemporary factors that shape their identities and ways of life, providing valuable insights into the diversity of human experience.
- Problem-based Ethnography
Problem-based ethnography is an approach in anthropology that emphasizes the identification and analysis of social issues and problems within a particular community or society. Rather than solely focusing on cultural practices and beliefs, problem-based ethnography aims to address real-world problems and engage with local communities to find potential solutions. This approach involves collaboration with community members and stakeholders, and requires a deep understanding of local contexts, power dynamics, and social structures. By applying ethnographic methods to real-world problems, problem-based ethnography seeks to produce knowledge that is useful for both academic research and practical interventions.
- Longitudinal Research
Longitudinal research is a type of research design that involves collecting data from the same group of individuals over an extended period of time. This method is often used in the social sciences to study changes in attitudes, behaviors, and outcomes over time. Longitudinal studies can help researchers identify patterns and trends in the data, and can provide insights into the causes and effects of social phenomena. This method can be time-consuming and resource-intensive, but it can also lead to rich and detailed data that can contribute to the understanding of human development and behavior.
Quantitative Research Approach
Survey is a research method used in anthropology to collect information from a large group of people. It involves asking people questions about their beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors, and recording their answers. Surveys can be conducted through questionnaires, interviews, or online forms. Anthropologists use surveys to learn about different cultures and societies, and to identify patterns and trends in people’s behaviors and attitudes.
- Statistical analysis
It is a way for anthropologists to study data about people and cultures using numbers and graphs. They can use it to find patterns and relationships in the information they collect from surveys, experiments, and other research methods. It helps them understand things like how many people in a group are a certain age, or how income affects people’s lives. By using statistical analysis, anthropologists can get a clearer picture of what they’re studying and learn more about the world around us.
- Geographic information systems (GIS)
GIS involves using digital mapping tools to analyze spatial data. Anthropologists can use GIS to study the distribution of resources, land use patterns, and other aspects of human-environment interactions.
Demographic analysis is a way for anthropologists to study human populations by looking at things like age, gender, education, and income. By understanding the characteristics of a population, anthropologists can learn how social and economic factors affect people’s lives. Demographic analysis helps researchers see patterns in data and better understand how societies work. It’s like putting together a puzzle to see the bigger picture of how people live and interact with each other.
To sum up, the primary objective of anthropology research is to gain insight into the intricate and heterogeneous nature of human societies, cultures, and conduct. Anthropologists adopt a diverse array of qualitative and quantitative research techniques to gather information on numerous aspects of human existence, including language, religion, economics, and politics. Qualitative approaches encompass participant observation, ethnographic conversation, the genealogical method, the well-informed informant method, life histories, problem-based ethnography, and longitudinal research. Meanwhile, quantitative methods entail surveys and statistical analysis. The ultimate goal of anthropological research is to foster cross-cultural appreciation and empathy, while deepening our understanding of the vast array of human experiences worldwide.
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