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Kottak: Cultural Anthropology 9e
Cultural Anthropology, 9/e
Conrad P. Kottak, University of Michigan

In the Field

Key Terms

complex societies  Nations; large and populous, with social stratification and central governments.
cultural consultants  Subjects in ethnographic research; people the ethnographer gets to know in the field, who teach him or her about their culture.
emic  The research strategy that focuses on native explanations and criteria of significance.
etic  The research strategy that emphasizes the observer's rather than the natives' explanations, categories, and criteria of significance.
excavation  Digging through the layers of deposits that make up an archaeological site.
genealogical method  Procedures by which ethnographers discover and record connections of kinship, descent, and marriage, using diagrams and symbols.
interview schedule  Ethnographic tool for structuring a formal interview. A prepared form (usually printed or mimeographed) that guides interviews with households or individuals being compared systematically. Contrasts with a questionnaire because the researcher has personal contact with the local people and records their answers.
key cultural consultant  Person who is an expert on a particular aspect of native life.
life history  Of a key consultant or narrator; provides a personal cultural portrait of existence or change in a culture.
longitudinal research  Long-term study of a community, region, society, culture, or other unit, usually based on repeated visits.
questionnaire  Form (usually printed) used by sociologists to obtain comparable information from respondents. Often mailed to and filled in by research subjects rather than by the researcher.
random sample  A sample in which all members of the population have an equal statistical chance of being included.
sample  A smaller study group chosen to represent a larger population.
survey research  Characteristic research procedure among social scientists other than anthropologists. Studies society through sampling, statistical analysis, and impersonal data collection.
systematic survey  Information gathered on patterns of settlement over a large area; provides a regional perspective on the archaeological record.
theory  An explanatory framework, containing a series of statements, that helps us understand why (something exists); theories suggest patterns, connections, and relationships that may be confirmed by new research.
variables  Attributes (e.g., sex, age, height, weight) that differ from one person or case to the next.