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The Importance Of Fieldwork

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In the study of cultural anthropology, fieldwork is a big factor in coming to a conclusion about one’s topic of research. After reading articles from both Raybeck and Faubion, it is clear that fieldwork may not be the only component to drawing conclusions about cultures. There are multiple factors within fieldwork itself that aids in drawing conclusions as expressed by Raybeck but the main conclusions an anthropologist comes up with is from analyzing the data that was found. Raybeck mainly uses two methods for fieldwork: quantitative and qualitative. There are some anthropologists who believe you can be purely scientific when studying cultures. This type of studying would require doing mainly quantitative research. Raybeck expresses that quantitative work may suggest that the anthropologist is making assumptions about the culture before they are already a part of it. Even if one does make assumptions and continues to use quantitative research, people from that certain culture may feel less comfortable because it is seen as a lack of courtesy. Courtesy is one of the three certain values that an anthropologist must have when doing any type of fieldwork. The other two values include the way in which natives in that culture live and “following a way of life that is fitting and pleasant” (Raybeck, 5). Anyone who comes up with quantitative research questions to interview people will automatically be assuming something about that culture. One must ask qualitative, open ended
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