Re: Does a BA "Make" an Anthropologist?

Brad M Biglow (bmb@PINE.CSE.NAU.EDU)
Tue, 21 Feb 1995 23:01:23 -0700

On Feb 21, 9:02pm, Paula L Sabloff wrote:
} Question: I agree that fieldwork experience on the undergrad as well as
} grad level is important and, frankly, I teach research methods with a
} heavy component of field experience on both levels myself. I also teach
} the applied anthro course. [Here, at last, is the question:] But if the
} faculty member is not herself engaged in an applied project in which
} students can be incorporated, is there not an ethical danger in sending
} them into the community themselves to conduct APPLIED research? How
} would one handle such a situation? Paula Sabloff
}-- End of excerpt from Paula L Sabloff

Answer: Isn't that what IRB (Institutional Review Boards) are for? Don't
know about your institution, but here it is necessary to fill out long forms
and submit them for review and approval before any "applied" research can be
done, per se. Thye check esp. for research involving 'sensitive subject
matter", i.e. minorities, children, the handicapped, and certain religious
and/or cultural topics that may be 'questionable.' They make you be pretty
darn explicit as well..and THAT saves both the university's (and hopefully)
your own butts should any problems arise during the course of research.
The question is not so much "How do we protect informants/subjects from
researcher harm," but more to the point I experienced with "How does one
conduct a decent ethnography (applied or not) within the timeframe of 1
semester, when theoretically one is not supposed to begin field research
until the proposal is approved by the IRB." One final note: All student-run
research must have a faculty sponsor sign on the form, as well as, the
department chair's signature. Extra precautions that may seem a pain at
the time of formulating one's research design, but prove well worth the
extra hassle in the end.