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MANI-001: Anthropology and Methods of Research

MANI-001: Anthropology and Methods of Research

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2021-22

If you are looking for MANI-001 IGNOU Solved Assignment solution for the subject Anthropology and Methods of Research, you have come to the right place. MANI-001 solution on this page applies to 2021-22 session students studying in MAAN courses of IGNOU.

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Assignment Code: MANI-001/AST/TMA/2021-22

Course Code: MANI-001

Assignment Name: Anthropology and Methods of Research

Year: 2021-2022

Verification Status: Verified by Professor

Note: There are two sections ‘A’ and ‘B’. Attempt five questions and at least two questions from each section. All questions carry equal marks. The word limit for 20 marks is 500 words and for 10 marks is 250 words.

Section - A

Q1) Define anthropology and discuss human diversity and variation within its subject matter. (20)

Ans) Anthropology is the scientific study of man in relation to time and space. It's critical to understand how this discipline arose. The birth of anthropology establishes the discipline as a comprehensive study of man. Aside from that, anthropology has become a subject for studying human diversity and variation. It is always focused on the differences between human societies and cultures. Anthropology uses the comparative method to understand these differences. It investigates one human society in relation to other human societies. In anthropological studies, the comparative method has a long history, and it is an important method in the field.

Understanding Human Diversity and Variation

As previously stated, the origins of anthropology can be traced back to man's desire to understand differences among himself. While exploring, European explorers came across a variety of people with different customs, which sparked an anthropological interest in learning more about human diversity. Anthropological research began with a focus on diversity. People wondered why members of the same species, Homo sapiens, had such disparities in their cultural practises. In terms of biology, homo sapiens is a single species capable of interbreeding. However, the same species defines certain cultural rules that are incompatible with the biological definition of species. Humans have a variety of mating patterns depending on their culture. Marriage takes many forms in different cultures. As a result, man has a wide range of mating patterns and marriage rituals. Anthropology is primarily concerned with these differences and variations. Anthropologists study these complex characteristics that define the human enterprise using a variety of tools and techniques.

Anthropology is the study of the biological, cultural, and other aspects of life that define life among peoples all over the world. The basic premise of anthropology is that all humans are born with the same physical characteristics, but they adopt different cultural, ethical, and religious mores depending on where they are born and raised. Anthropology is the study of human conditioning, or the effect of various cultures on humans as they evolve over time. Given the vast scope of study associated with anthropology, it can be said that the canvas is enormously broad, and anthropologists have their work cut out for them. Subbranches exist within the field of anthropology. These subbranches contribute to the vast amount of research material available in this field, and the researchers who work in them contribute to our understanding of where we came from, why we are the way we are, and other issues. To fully comprehend what anthropology is, we must delve into these branches and the methods used by anthropologists to study complex societies. The anthill, with its various divisions of labour and often-complex interactions between the members, is an example of this.

When we delve deeper into the branches of anthropology, we can see the wide range of topics they cover. Physical or biological anthropology examines humans as biological organisms and attempts to answer the following questions: 1) What distinguishes them from other organisms, and 2) what they have in common. Physical anthropologists study evolution to find various factors that influence human evolution. To do so, they must conduct research in various communities in order to identify such factors. Archaeology is another important branch of anthropology. The study of extinct cultures is what archaeology is all about. It is necessary to reconstruct the prehistoric past in order to trace human cultural evolution. Cultural anthropology is concerned with human social behaviour in which the past and present are equally important. They emphasise the emergence and evolution of customs and social behaviour from prehistoric times to the present day, where both primitive and civilised people form social counterparts. Another branch of anthropology is social anthropology, which studies social behaviour and group organisation. We've already talked about how this branch deals with various cultural aspects while considering differences.

Q2) What is fieldwork? Discuss major fieldwork tradition in Anthropology. (20)

Ans) Fieldwork is essential to the lives of sociocultural anthropologists, as it is to the lives of physical and archaeological anthropologists, albeit for different reasons. It's something they'll remember for the rest of their lives because of the incredible experience they had. It is a time period during which empirical research must be conducted for at least a year, if not more, and may be extended for as many years as necessary to obtain satisfactory results. In the past, such involvement resulted in the researcher's complete isolation from her or his own life, as she or he accepted the unfamiliar and unknown setting as her or his own. Anthropologists relied on accounts written by traders, travellers, missionaries, and administrators in the beginning. These materials were used to develop grand theories. In the later stages, anthropologists began sending questionnaires to gather data on areas of particular interest to them.

Dissatisfied with the inadequacies of such data, anthropologists embarked on field trips to gather their own information. Initially, they went on field trips as part of multidisciplinary teams, such as Torres' straits expedition, but individual fieldwork became more popular over time. Malinowski's fieldwork among the Trobriand Islanders is regarded as a watershed moment in anthropology's fieldwork tradition. At the turn of the nineteenth century, there was a surge of interest in field studies, both to better understand human evolution and to learn how contemporary "exotic" humans from unknown places lived. This arose as a result of Europe's expansion into lands that they colonised. The waning cultures of Native American tribes piqued people's interest in learning more about others. This new anthropological methodology was not without flaws at the time. Instead of anthropologists collecting data on the ground, missionaries, travellers, traders, colonial administrators, and others gathered information during their visits to such locations. This meant that the anthropologists read the accounts and interpreted them in their own way.

As a result, anthropologists of the time were dubbed "armchair" anthropologists because they conducted their research from the comfort of their libraries or offices rather than going out into the field. James Frazer, for example, was a well-known anthropologist whose work on religion and myth was entirely based on secondary sources of information. Anthropologists began visiting the field to conduct pragmatic field studies only towards the end of the nineteenth century. The Americans and the British conducted the majority of anthropological fieldwork at the time, though the Germans and the French should not be overlooked.

In the United States, Franz Boas and Alfred C. Haddon led notable expeditions in British Columbia and the Torres Strait, respectively. Their main goal was to broaden their knowledge to the point where human understanding became more fertile. The investigations of Franz Boas and his students in America demonstrated proper ethnographic fieldwork. Their studies, on the other hand, were not the kind advocated by the British, particularly Malinowski. They favoured short fieldwork sessions with breaks in between. Anthropologists in France, such as Levi-Strauss, were more interested in oral and written traditions than ethnographer fieldwork experiences. The fieldwork tradition, on the other hand, grew in popularity in other Western European countries as well as outside of Europe and the United States.

Aside from participant observation, fieldwork entails developing rapport and friendly relationships with the people they plan to study. ‘They should pay close attention to everything around them and listen intently, but they must also be cautious not to disrupt the normal flow of life. Once the respondents are comfortable with the researcher's presence, other methods such as conversing, interviewing, photographing, and collecting statistical data can be used to gather additional information. However, the information gathered should be interpreted objectively. The way fieldwork has been done in anthropology has required it to question and re-question itself on issues of methodology and ethics since its inception.

Because fieldwork is considered a method, it is expected to be implemented in a highly specialised manner. Fieldwork, on the other hand, may lead to situations for which there are no instructions in a field guide. Teachers and supervisors may not be able to adequately prepare a student who is about to enter the field. To conduct fruitful fieldwork, one must ultimately rely on one's instincts and intellect while remaining sensitive to the people being studied. For many years, universities did not offer a fieldwork and methodology course. A student was expected to complete it as part of her or his complete introduction to the subject.

Q3) Briefly discuss the branches of Anthropology. (20)

Ans) The branches of Anthropology are as follows:

Physical/Biological Anthropology

Physical anthropology, also known as biological anthropology, studies humankind's physical and biological characteristics from comparative, ecological, and evolutionary perspectives. When scientists began studying humans based on evidence other than bones, the term "biological anthropology" became popular. For instance, the study of human genetics, the study of primates and their interactions with their environments, and so on. It also identifies itself as a social science in its understanding of variability, adaptation, and evolution, as the study of human species is incomplete without consideration of its cultural context.

Socio-Cultural Anthropology

Sociocultural anthropology is the second major branch of anthropology that we must study. Socio-cultural anthropology, also known as social or cultural anthropology, is a well-established field of study in anthropology. It is clear that it is the most important discipline concerned with the comparative study of culture and society. In the same way that physical anthropology studies the physical and biological aspects of humans, sociocultural anthropology is concerned with the cultural diversity of humans and their societies across time and space. This comparative study arose from a collection of 19 studies "ethnology of the twentieth century Its growth in the nineteenth century "It is also linked to colonialism to a large extent in the twentieth century.

Archaeological Anthropology

This branch is just as important as the others, if not more so, because it deals with humans and their culture from the beginning. It, like biological anthropology, is interested in the origins and development of humans, but from a completely different perspective. It should be noted that while archaeology is a distinct discipline, it is linked to anthropology in its study of humans, making it a humanistic science. Human remains, as well as humans themselves, are subjects of investigation using techniques such as excavation, which can reveal differences, origins, and biological and social evolution. Prehistoric, protohistoric, and later periods, such as what is known as civilization, are all covered in archaeology. Through deductive and inductive processes, both anthropology and archaeology use scientific methods to recover and construct human history.

Linguistic Anthropology

Finally, we will discuss linguistic anthropology as a branch of anthropology. Linguistic anthropology is a branch of anthropology that is interdisciplinary. It is concerned with the study of language and how it can be viewed as a part of human society's cultural reality. The subject recognises language as a skill that enhances human social behaviour and activities. Linguistic anthropology is a multidisciplinary field that includes anthropological linguistics, ethnolinguistics, and sociolinguistics. This connection aids in the study of how language influences the formation and management of individual and group identities, social norms, and ideals, as well as the biological implications of language in society's functioning. Initially, this branch was dedicated to researching the origins, evolution, and development of languages, as well as the preservation of languages on the verge of extinction. It eventually expanded to include various aspects of language and how they influence even the most minor aspects of social life.


Q4) Describe current fields in archaeological anthropology. (20)

Ans) The current fields of study in archaeological anthropology are as follows:

In the United States, archaeology is more concerned with understanding the human past than with material remains or recovery techniques, and as a result, archaeology is considered one of the main branches of anthropology in the United States. Archaeology is a humanistic as well as a scientific discipline that belongs to the field of anthropology. As a result, it tries to comprehend things like the evolution of culture, people, ideology, power, and anything else that has influenced the changes that societies undergo. As a science, it tries to piece together events using whatever evidence is available. In this subject, the combination of humanism and science in the reconstruction of humans is admirable. To summarise, archaeological anthropology investigates past ways of life using scientific methods to gain a better understanding of human behaviour. Both relative and absolute dating methods are still useful for archaeologists and anthropologists studying the human past.

While learning about archaeological anthropology, we must also learn about the various areas of the subject that it covers. Palaeoanthropology is a branch of anthropology that studies people who lived during the Palaeolithic period. Skulls, bones, and burial grounds are among the evidence used in this study. Fossils are also an important part of this research, which is used to learn about human lineages and evolution. Primatology, which deals with our living non-human primates, is used to make comparisons. To draw definite conclusions, ethnographic details are also used. As a result, the reconstruction methods used can be classified as historical, comparative, and survival.

As previously stated, archaeologists study environmental evidence to better understand the effects of culture on the environment and vice versa. Environmental archaeology is a branch of archaeology that studies the environment. It investigates the human-nature relationship using fossilised plant and animal remains, pollen cores, land sites, river course changes, and other methods. As a result, it includes geological and biological methods for studying past human societies' environments. The main concerns of reconstruction in environmental archaeology are ecological, social, and economic.

Ethno-archaeology is a branch of archaeology that focuses on the material remains of a particular society rather than on culture as a whole. This research aids us in deciphering how past societies lived, what religious beliefs they held, what their social structures were like, and so on. It is a relatively new field of study with numerous complications. It is the application of ethnography to the study of archaeology, with experimental methods such as controlled observation of processes and links to archaeological records.

New archaeology, also known as processual archaeology, is another branch of archaeological anthropology. This research focuses on the processes by which humans lived, such as how people in the past created artefacts and how they eventually decayed. As a result, the archaeologist investigates how artefacts were made and what natural or cultural factors caused the archaeological site to appear as it did during the study period. A site formation process is what this is called. The cultural historical method was first used in the study of past human societies by processual archaeologists. This trend began in the United States in the 1960s, especially after the publication of Sally R. Binford and Lewis Binford's book New Perspectives in Archaeology, in which they advocated the use of computer technology for data analysis.

Q5) What are the different types of research design? (20)

Ans) The different types of research design are as follows:

Exploratory Research Design

Formulative research studies are another name for exploratory research studies. Such research is required in order to formulate a problem that will aid in better investigation or the development of functional hypotheses. Such research encourages the exploration of ideas and perceptions. As a result, the research design created in such a situation needed to be flexible enough to allow the prospect to consider various aspects of the problem under investigation. The following three methods in relation to a research design are considered in such studies. They are:

  1. The survey of concerning literature.

  2. The experience survey.

  3. The analysis of ‘insight-stimulating’ examples.

Descriptive/Diagnostic Research Design

Descriptive research studies are those that seek to explain the characteristics of a single person or a group of people, whereas diagnostic research studies seek to determine the frequency with which something occurs or its relationship to something else. Diagnostic research studies are those that look into whether or not certain variables are linked. Descriptive research studies, on the other hand, are concerned with specific predictions, the narration of facts and characteristics concerning an individual, a group, or a situation.

Experimental Research Design

True field experiments are uncommon in anthropology, though they are common in related disciplines such as social psychology and organisational studies. It's also sometimes used by social policy researchers to calculate the impact of new policies or reforms. The randomised experiment is another name for the classic experimental design. The experimental group receives the experimental treatment, while the control group receives no such treatment.

Quasi-Experimental Research Design

This is a study that has some experimental design characteristics but lacks the majority of the internal validity requirements. Many authors, however, have emphasised the use of this quasi-experimental design. Cook and Campbell, for example, have identified several quasi-experiments. A quasi-experiment that is designated as a natural experiment may be mentioned. These experiments are carried out in such a way that a social setting is manipulated in such a way that any changes that occur appear to be a natural change in the social organisation.

Cross-sectional Research Design

A cross-sectional design occurs when data is collected on multiple cases at the same time, i.e., at the same point in time. This is used to collect two or more variables of quantitative and quantifiable data. They are then examined for patterns of connectivity. The use of a cross-sectional design is concerned with variation and differentiation. This could apply to individuals, organisations, families, nations, and states, among other things. We can only get variation when we look at more than one case.

The Longitudinal Research Design

The longitudinal research design is a distinct type of research design. The amount of time and money spent on this design is considerable. As a result, it is a relatively uncommon design in social research. Because it includes a self-completion questionnaire or structured interview styled within the context of a cross-sectional research design, it can be considered an extension of survey research.

Case Study Design

The case study design entails a thorough and thorough examination of a single case. A case like this is investigated within a community or organisation. As a result, the emphasis is on the setting's complete concentration throughout the case. The case study design is inextricably linked to qualitative methods such as unstructured interviews and participant observation. These techniques aid in the creation of a thorough and meticulous case analysis.

Comparative Research Design

It's also worth noting that there's a third type of design to consider: comparative design. This study design entails the use of identical methods in two different cases. It embodies the logic of comparison in that it implies that comparing social phenomena to two or more meaningfully contrasting cases or situations helps us understand them better. The comparative design can be implemented in both quantitative and qualitative studies.

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