In this lecture on anthropological research methods, Dr. Michael Paolisso presents an overview of the perspectives taken by researchers, and the approaches used to gather and interpret information. He notes that holism and cultural relativism are important starting points for anthropological research, and that research focuses on people, structures and social processes. He describes the anthropological research process as being empirical, multi-sited, and grounded in fieldwork and ethnography. He highlights the large toolkit of qualitative and quantitative methods for data gathering and analysis, and the range of outcomes, including case studies, comparisons and participatory and collaborative research. He ends by emphasizing that anthropological research methods are people-centered accounts of people and their contexts, which are used to evaluate and refine theoretical understandings of human societies.
Johnson, J.C., and Hruschka, D.J. 2015. Research design and research strategies. In H.R. Bernard and C.C. Gravelee (eds.), Handbook of Methods in Cultural Anthropology, 2nd Edition (pp. 97-129). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
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Michael Paolisso is Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the University of Maryland's Department of Anthropology. Dr. Paolisso has conducted short- and long-term fieldwork in the areas of environment and development in Venezuela, Honduras, Ecuador, Kenya, Nepal, and the United States. For the past 15 years he has focused his research on the human dimensions of a range of environmental issues confronting the Chesapeake Bay, including management of natural resources, particularly fisheries and agricultural lands, water pollution, restoration, social justice, socio-ecological resilience, and climate change. His Chesapeake research seeks to demonstrate how cultural models of the environment have a direct bearing on the use and management of natural resources, and how cultural models can be used to improve intra- and inter-stakeholder understanding, dialogue and collaboration in addressing environmental issues. His publications include edited volumes, monographs, journal articles and technical reports. He received his PhD from the University of California, Los Angeles.