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MANI-001: Anthropology and Methods of Research

MANI-001: Anthropology and Methods of Research

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2022-23

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Assignment Code: MANI-001/AST/TMA/2022-23

Course Code: MANI-001

Assignment Name: Anthropology and Methods of Research

Year: 2022-2023

Verification Status: Verified by Professor


There are two sections ‘A’ and ‘B.’ Attempt five questions. Attempt at least two questions from each section. 20x5



Q1) Define anthropology and discuss human diversity and variation from the context of India.

Ans) Anthropology is the study of the origin and development of human societies and cultures. Culture is the learned behaviour of people, including their languages, belief systems, social structures, institutions, and material goods. The history of human culture and society served as the foundation for anthropology. Even though Herodotus' writings from the fifth century B.C. sparked an interest in studying humans, it wasn't until the nineteenth century that anthropology emerged as a separate academic field.


The advancement of academia happened following the arrival of Europeans, who had been exploring remote regions of the world for almost 400 years since the time of Christopher Columbus. Throughout their journey, the explorers encountered a variety of people and cultural practises. Missionaries, traders, and government representatives began travelling to other parts of the world as colonialism spread. For their own advantage, these folks showed a keen interest in learning about other people and their cultures. Knowing the many cultures of the people they were in charge of became part of the administrative strategy for the government officials. The missionaries had a spiritual objective. They desired to disseminate their particular theological philosophy.


Understanding Diversity and Variety

Diversity is defined as "a range of many individuals or things that are highly distinct from each other" in the dictionary. These two terms are crucial to anthropology since they encapsulate the entire field of anthropological study. Anthropology is a holistic discipline that analyses all facets of human nature. It not only studies these facets but also looks at them from diverse angles to highlight contrasts between them. Thus, diversity and variation become the central themes of anthropological research. The desire of man to understand the distinctions among himself led to the development of anthropology. While travelling, European explorers came across many populations with various customs, which sparked anthropologists' curiosity about the diversity of human beings.


The first step in anthropological inquiry was diversity. People questioned why there is cultural diversity among members of the same species, Homo sapiens. In terms of biology, homo sapiens is one species that can interbreed. However, the same species determines some cultural norms that go against the biological concept of species. The patterns of mating that exist among humans vary depending on the culture. Marriage takes diverse forms in many societies. The goals or purposes of the discipline and the topics it examines are two aspects of the discipline's scope. The typical perception of anthropology is that it seeks to comprehend all facets of the human condition. Second, anthropology discovers similarities and differences in various communities and populations by using the comparative technique. Anthropologists can then shift from differences to similarities and create general anthropological ideas thanks to this.


Numerous instruments and methods are used by anthropologists to investigate these intricate traits that characterise the human endeavour. Understanding biological, cultural, and other characteristics that characterise life among peoples all over the world is a goal of anthropological study. The fundamental tenet of anthropology is that while all people share the same physical attributes at birth, they develop diverse cultural, ethical, and religious norms as a result of their upbringing. The field of anthropology focuses on this conditioning or the impact of various cultures on people as they change over time. From the foregoing considerations, it is clear how anthropology investigates humankind in an effort to comprehend diversity and variance. Every single branch of anthropology deals with this aspect. It is one of the central topics of anthropological study, in fact.


Q2) Describe the growth and development during the renaissance period.

Ans) Although it's possible that people have always examined other people in some capacity, the earliest formal investigation of human variation dates back to the fifth century. Travel, trade, and exploration have allowed people from various languages and cultures to communicate for many thousands of years. Stories about odd and exotic peoples and their customs were created as a result of these communications. As early as the fifth century BC, many philosophers, travellers, and thinkers engaged in anthropological research.


Anthropology historians frequently assert that the discipline of anthropology was born during and as a result of the renaissance. In particular, renaissance archaeology during the 14th and 15th centuries in Italy gave rise to anthropology's concern in the variations among humans. The cultural and linguistic differences between what was then known as classical antiquity and the present were the first differences that were acknowledged as being important to a general understanding of people.


The interest in differences was only expanded to include contemporary contrasts once the foundations of an archaeological perspective had been formed. Studies of classical antiquity throughout the Renaissance not only sparked a widespread curiosity in human distinctions but also gave rise to frameworks for describing those differences.


Renaissance study of Roman practises and institutions served as models when the issue of characterising modern non-Western cultures arose. The study of ancient sites in Italy and Greece served as the foundation for archaeological reporting everywhere, just as Renaissance grammar and dictionaries of classical Latin and Greek did for the description of spoken languages worldwide. The lack of precedent provided by the study of classical antiquity in this instance delayed the development of physical anthropology. Even though anthropologists can trace the beginnings of their field to the ancient Greeks, particularly Herodotus, they have only been referring to themselves as anthropologists since the late 19th century. When it was first used, more than 2,000 years ago, the definition, meaning, and scope of anthropology were never the same.


The concept and significance of anthropology were devised by the Greek philosopher Aristotle at the time of its developments in the ancient era, which lasted more than 2000 years ago. He described anthropology as gossip that centres on man and the anthropologist as a gossip who speaks about himself. He is credited with coining, defining, and explaining the term anthropology and is regarded as the first anthropological to do so. He is referred recognised as the father of anthropology because of this. Later, anthropology started to be nurtured in the German University's intellectual faculties between the 14th and 17th centuries.


With the introduction of new techniques, British anthropology became professionally structured in 1890. It was no longer a list of facts, but rather an observation and an analysis of those facts based on science. These innovative techniques gave anthropologists a fresh perspective on other communities and cultures, revealing them to be more complicated than previously thought. These methods of data collecting were discovered to be unreliable by a new generation of anthropologists who were engaged in the study of people and culture. They were motivated to create new techniques to use in their profession as a result of the natural scientists' inspiration in their labs.


In this endeavour, Malinowski and Radcliffe-Brown were the two pioneers. Both of them made trips to remote regions of the globe and interacted with the locals there. The generation that included Malinowski and Radcliffe-Brown was also successful in institutionalising the topic. Social anthropology, the word Radcliffe-Brown used to describe the study of civilizations, is now known as British social anthropology to separate it from American cultural anthropology. All of these modifications helped anthropology become the science that it is today. The development of various ethnographic approaches has significantly increased the significance of anthropology as a science.


Q3) Discuss the growth of applied anthropology.

Ans) Daniel G. Brinton was the first to suggest using applied anthropology. The concept first appeared in America. It very lately took place. After World War II, American anthropologists developed this concept, which ultimately influenced third-world development and governance practises. In general, applied anthropology aimed to improve the situation of individuals who were struggling in the current colonial and imperialistic framework. American anthropologists took on the challenging work of development under colonial control and backed the notion that such communities needed to evolve. They also started monitoring other factors that have an impact on how people's lives evolve. As part of Cornell University's Vicos project in Peru, the most well-known example of "applied anthropology" saw a team of anthropologists led by A. Holmberg taking on the position of "patron" in a sizable estate. In order to give the producer more power, the team adopted a paternalistic reform method.


History and its Development

The British were the ones who initially valued and formally recognised the practical application of anthropology by recruiting applied anthropologists. According to E. B. Tylor, anthropology is a "policy science," and its application could lead to bettering human conditions. A British government official named Northcote Thomas applied anthropology in Nigeria in 1908. Anthropologists proposed the construction of tribal charters and constitutions and acted as the government's point of contact for Native Americans. Because he believed that their specialised knowledge could be of considerable help in public sector endeavours, John Collier, a commissioner of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, played a significant role in bringing anthropologists into government service.


Applied anthropology was introduced to the study of archaeology throughout the 1920s as policy officials and archaeologists collaborated on public-focused projects. The difficulties and conditions that Japanese communities faced when they were forcibly moved from the west coast of Japan to prison camps in the eastern Sierras during the Second World War were examined by applied anthropologists working for the War Relocation Authority. In America, Margaret Mead, Fred Richardson, and Eliot Chapple established the Society for Applied Anthropology in 1941. The same year, this organisation published the first issue of its eponymous journal on applied anthropology. Human Organization became the title of the journal in 1949.


Present Scenario

The advancement of anthropological knowledge is no longer restricted to an academic environment. Many anthropologists take on the role of practitioners, use their understanding of diverse cultures, and do research using methods that are common throughout the world. These students occasionally act as their own managers, entrepreneurs, programme directors, etc. They produce a solution and put it into action to resolve problems. The challenges that applied and practising anthropologists face set them apart.


The judgments and recommendations they offer should reflect humanistic principles, cross-cultural awareness, and an action-oriented mentality. They could collaborate with experts and professionals from different fields and professions or work individually. The contributions that applied anthropologists provide to modern mankind are significant. They help to close cultural gaps. Applied anthropologists respect many cultures and aim to enhance a sense of our shared humanity, in contrast to other professionals. For a wider audience to understand the policies created by governments and businesses, anthropologists make movies or write plain explanations of them.



Q1) Discuss interview and its types.

Ans) Verbal questioning is the primary method of data collecting when conducting an interview, which is a type of questioning. Even though interviews are widespread in daily life, they change when used as a tool in social research or, more accurately, as a technique for gathering data. This is true in terms of its planning, development, and execution for several reasons: first, it is planned and carried out in a systematic manner; second, the researcher controls it to prevent bias and distortion; and third, it is tied to a specific research topic and a specified aim.


Regardless of the underlying technique, interviews are used as a method of data collecting in the majority of study designs. While quantitative studies mostly use organised interviews, qualitative studies also use unstructured interviewing techniques including focused and intensive interviewing. Qualitative and quantitative studies both use semi-structured interviews. There are many different sorts of interviews, and each one differs from the others in terms of its structure, aim, the interviewer's function, the number of respondents it includes, and the way and how frequently it is administered.


Structured Interviews

They are identical to questionnaires if they are based on a rigid process and a highly structured interview guide. No changes can be made to the instrument's components, including the questions' phrasing, content, or sequence. Such an interview is scheduled, and it is crucial that the questions and guidelines are strictly followed. The interviewer is expected to conduct themselves in an impartial manner, maintaining a consistent tone of voice, giving respondents the same impression, and employing the same mannerisms, appearance, prompts, and other techniques while displaying no initiative, spontaneity, or personal interest in the subject of the study. This has the dual goals of minimising interviewer bias and achieving the highest level of procedural homogeneity.


Unstructured Interviews

There are no limitations on the way the questions are phrased, how they are asked in succession, or how long the interview will go. On the basis of specific research findings, the interviewer makes independent decisions in this situation, developing questions as needed, and using impartial probing. These interviews have a flexible format with few limitations; they are typically provided as recommendations rather than rules.


Semi-Structured Interviews

Between scheduled and unstructured interviews, they fell somewhere in the middle. While some are more similar to organised interviews than unstructured interviews, they all have parts of both. Depending on the research topic and goal, available resources, methodological standards and preferences, and the sort of information being sought—which may involve quantitative or qualitative techniques interviews are structured to varying degrees.


The interviewers, or researchers, play a crucial role in the study process. They must do the following duties:

  1. Approaching and/or choosing the respondents.

  2. Setting up the interview's time, date, length, and conditions.

  3. Carrying out the interview in accordance with the directions.

  4. Controlling the interview environment to lessen or get rid of opposition, distrust, bias, and bad influences.

  5. Avoiding prejudice and working toward a goal.

  6. Accurately recording the responses.

  7. Creating and maintaining constructive relationships.


Q2) Discuss anthropometry and its applications.

Ans) The measurement of a human body's dimensions and proportions is known as anthropometry. It offers scientific approaches and observations of the skeleton and living human body. The standard and established tool of human biology, physical anthropology, and auxology is anthropometry. Anthropometry has a very long history. Artists developed many conventional canons for the human body as far back as the Egypt and Greece civilizations. Blumenbach created the groundwork for anthropometry and the start of scientific anthropometry. This area of physical/biological anthropology has been further developed by Paul Broca, W. H. Flower, Rudolf Martin, and others.


Anthropometric measurements include total body measurements including weight and height. Additionally, anthropometry evaluates particular bodily parts, such as the arm or head, by taking measures around those parts of the body. Additionally, anthropometry can be used to estimate some body components. Adipose tissue under the skin, for instance, can be quantified by taking measurements of the skin folds, which are made up of skin and fat that are present above skeletal muscle. Anthropometric data collection is generally inexpensive and helpful for gathering big amounts of data.



Depending on the goal, anthropometric techniques use equipment such as a scale, an anthropometer, tape, spreading and sliding callipers, skinfold callipers, body volume tanks, and bioelectrical impedance analysers to assess body size and body composition. Similarly, cortical bone density, bone mass, subcutaneous fat density, and lean body mass are measured using radiographic tools and X-ray scanners including dual-energy-ray absorption metres and ultrasound densitometers.


Quality Control

Anthropometry adheres to a strict set of rules that include standardising measurement methods, creating consistent landmarks, and establishing measurement circumstances. Despite being straightforward, it necessitates extensive quality control to guarantee low measurement error. Achieving such a goal typically requires careful instruction in the technique that yields repeatable measurements.



Anthropometry is the method of choice in physical/biological anthropology and human palaeontology for measuring variability and relationships between fossils and extant populations. In order to analyse fossil taxa, anthropometric measurements of the head, face, and long bones are also used. The dimensions and proportions of numerous fossil hominids are described mathematically.


The most widely applicable, affordable, and non-invasive tool for evaluating a person's nutritional history during their lifetime is anthropometry. It has been used to evaluate and forecast both non-industrialized and industrialised cultures' health, nutritional history, welfare, performance, and survival. Anthropometry is crucial to the study of forensic anthropology, which is concerned with the interaction between law and medicine.


Anthropometry is often used by forensic anthropologists, also known as "bone detectives," to identify people, whether they are isolated cadavers, mixed-up remains, victims of mass tragedies, or genocide victims. Orthodontic diagnosis, planning, and treatment all make substantial use of anthropometric measures of the head and face. Cephalometric radiograph measurements are also used to identify syndromes. Consequently, anthropometry is crucial to all human endeavours involving the relative and absolute quantification of the human body. It plays a significant role in every facet of science and human endeavour.

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