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Catherine Prendergast

This article reports on the multi-year collaboration between the Ethnography of the University Initiative (EUI) at the University of Illinois and the University's Rhetoric Program, a required first-year writing course. I argue that this collaboration was successful in large part because the goals of writing programmes in American higher education settings – teaching the process of research, inviting students to see themselves as producers of knowledge and fostering collaboration between peers – are highly consonant with principles of EUI. Indeed, my own history with EUI reflects the parallel commitment of Writing Studies and the methods and goals of EUI. I suggest that EUI can serve as a powerful model for universities if they seek to place undergraduate student research writing at the core of their mission.

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Development research

Convergent or divergent approaches and understandings of poverty? An introduction

John R. Campbell and Jeremy Holland

Is it possible or indeed desirable to combine qualitative, participatory and quantitative research methods and approaches to better understand poverty? This special section of Focaal seeks to explore a number of contentious, inter-related issues that arise from multimethod research that is driven by growing international policy concerns to reduce global poverty. We seek to initiate an interdisciplinary dialog about the limits of methodological integration by examining existing research practice to better understand the strengths and limitations of combining methods which derive from different epistemological premises. We ask how methods might be combined to better address issues of causality, and whether the concept of triangulation offers a possible way forward. In examining existing research we find little in the way of shared understanding about poverty and, due to the dominance of econometrics and its insistence on using household surveys, very little middle ground where other disciplines might collaborate to rethink key conceptual and methodological issues.

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Research Projects and Networks

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Research Projects and Networks

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Qualitative Research Synthesis

How the Whole Can Be Greater than the Sum of Its Parts

Hanne Riese, Benedicte Carlsen and Claire Glenton

The rise of the knowledge society has led to an increase in the amount of research that is produced and an increased demand from decision makers for summaries of this research. As a result, research syntheses have become increasingly important in applied research, especially within the health sciences. However, this methodology has not been adopted with the same enthusiasm in the field of anthropology. In this article, we describe the main principles of this approach and the history of its development and discuss whether qualitative research synthesis can be seen as compatible with (the goal of) anthropological methodology. Finally, we argue for a greater adoption of research synthesis within applied anthropology and call for a greater engagement from anthropologists in the further development of this methodology.

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Andrés Barrera-González and Anna Horolets

There are two meanings attached to the concept ‘Europeanist’ when applied within the boundaries of our discipline. The term can be used to refer to the practice of anthropology in Europe (e.g. Grillo 1980; Macdonald 1993). This usage primarily indicates the region where fieldwork and research is carried out, as when we label other such fields of anthropological practice ‘Africanist’ or ‘Americanist’. It is thus a mere indication of the regional focus of interest. A more circumscribed usage would take Europeanist anthropology as the anthropology of Europe (e.g. Goddard, Llobera and Shore 1994; Barrera-González 2005). The broader object of study being Europe itself, the term could not be properly applied to whatever piece of research and writing done on some part of Europe. Instead, it would entail studies with a substantial comparative dimension and/or a regional outlook.

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Gerben Zaagsma

This article discusses the importance of Yiddish for our understanding of European Jewish histories and highlights some of the particularities of using Yiddish materials in historical research and the problems involved in doing so. There is a wealth of Yiddish materials available for historians yet many sources still need to be catalogued and disclosed. At the same time it is often not easy for historians to acquire the necessary linguistic skills to use Yiddish sources in their research, both because of practical reasons and a lack of awareness of the specific linguistic needs of historians. Opening up the field of Yiddish to historians though is very important to understand the rich and varied histories of Europe's Jews better, particularly before the Holocaust.

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Historical Textbook Research

Textbooks in the Context of the

Carsten Heinze

This piece defends the hypothesis that methodologically well-grounded historical textbook research is only possible if one has an understanding of the context in which textbooks acquire meaning. Based on the theory of a “grammar of schooling” (Tyack/Tobin; Cuban), the article develops a concept on the basis of which it is possible to describe particular contexts and the way in which they relate to teaching materials. Textbooks are thus understood as an element of the “grammar of schooling” and, from the perspective of discourse and theory, as a “point of intersection” between discourse and its corresponding teaching practice.

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Exhibitions as Research

Displaying the Technologies That Make Bodies Visible

Anita Herle

Drawing on a recent exhibition, Assembling Bodies: Art, Science and Imagination, at the University of Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (MAA), this article argues that curatorial techniques, involving a sustained engagement with objects, can play a vital role in anthropological research. Processes involved in the creation and reception of the exhibition facilitated the investigation of how bodies are composed, known, and acted upon in different times, places, and disciplinary contexts. Assembling Bodies attempted to transcend the dualism of subject and object, people and things, by demonstrating how different technologies for making bodies visible bring new and oft en unexpected forms into focus. Processes of exploration and experimentation continued after the exhibition opened in the discussions and activities that the displays stimulated, and in the reflections and ideas that visitors took away.

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Integrating Research and Collections Management

The Ho‘omaka Hou Research Initiative at the Bishop Museum

Mara A. Mulrooney, Charmaine Wong, Kelley Esh, Scott Belluomini and Mark D. McCoy

The Ho‘omaka Hou Research Initiative is a collaborative research endeavor that is primarily focused on the analysis of the Bishop Museum’s Archaeology Collections. The goal of Ho‘omaka Hou (which literally means “to begin again”) is to encourage continued work with these invaluable museum collections, and to bring together researchers and students with various research interests in order to learn more about the past. In addition to conducting research on museum collections using the most up-to-date methods in the field of archaeology, we are building a digital inventory of the collections. This integrated approach highlights the relevance of archaeological collections housed in museums for informing researchers about the past, and also emphasizes the need for modernizing digital inventories to safeguard these collections for the future.