Short Courses on Research Methods (SCRM)
Supported by the National Science Foundation
Now in its ninth year, the SCRM offers a program of intensive, five-day courses on research methods in cultural anthropology. The program is directed by H. Russell Bernard and a board of advisors, including Jean Ensminger, Jeffrey Johnson, Carmella Moore, Eric Smith, and Susan Weller, with support from the National Science Foundation. The SCRM courses are held at the Duke University Marine Laboratories in Beaufort, North Carolina.
Since 1999, the Duke Marine Lab has hosted the NSF-supported Summer Institute on Research Design in Cultural Anthropology (SIRD), for graduate students in cultural anthropology, directed by Jeffrey Johnson and East Carolina University, with Susan Weller and H. Russell Bernard as co-directors. That three-week program on research design, now in its 18th year, is only for Ph.D. students in cultural anthropology.
The SCRM program is for colleagues who already have the Ph.D. in anthropology and who want to broaden or improve their skills. Because the program is supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation, eligibility is restricted to colleagues working in the U.S. (regardless of citizenship) or to U.S. citizens working abroad. The program covers room, board, and tuition. Participants are responsible for costs associated with travel to and from the Institute and required textbooks.
SCRM Summer 2013 Course Offerings
Behavioral Observation in Ethnographic Research (July 15-19, 2013)
This five-day course focuses on methods for observing behavior in a field setting to answer questions of anthropological interest, like: time allocation and division of family labor and child labor; locational analysis (where people spend their time and what they do); what students and teachers do an elementary school classroom; energy expenditure and ecology; food and labor exchange; social groups and patterns of association (sex, age, family, kinship, mates); what people talk about during social interactions; and the nature of doctor-patient interaction.
Methods covered include systematic spot or instantaneous sampling of behavior, continuous monitoring of behavior, and computer-assisted approaches to collecting behavioral data in the field, in addition to survey methods, like recall methods, like time diaries. Finally, participants design a behavioral research project they anticipate investigating in the future, using one or a combination of the approaches presented in the course.
Statistics in Ethnographic Research (July 22-July 26, 2013)
This five-day course covers the concepts and skills needed for analyzing and interpreting quantitative data collected as part of ethnographic field research. Researchers will learn how to: (1) develop quantitative measures of behaviors, attitudes, and material objects; (2) provide group-level summaries of quantitative data; (3) frame expectations about group differences and relationships between variables; (4) test those expectations with quantitative data; and (5) justify why a specific test is appropriate for a given kind of data.
In addition to lectures, the course involves class activities, visualizations, analysis of real data, and a group project to illustrate the main concepts and skills and to walk participants through the steps of quantitative data collection and analysis.
Skills covered in the class include scale construction, summarizing and graphing quantitative data, visual data exploration, testing hypothesis about group differences and statistical relationships, basic linear regression, identifying statistical confounding, and assessing the assumptions underlying a given test. In addition to these basic skills, participants will be given a roadmap to more complex models and tests which they may encounter in their research, including logistic regression, repeated measures, and statistical interactions.
Methods of Ethnoecology (July 29-August 2, 2013)
This five-day course will acquaint participants with the approaches, methods and analyses used by ethnoecologists who are researching contemporary issues in the relationship between humans and the environment. These approaches include: 1) community-based management of natural resources; 2) co-evolution of cultural diversity and biological diversity; 3) ethnobiological classification; 4) historical ecology and landscape modification; 5) indigenous peoples and protected areas; 6) transmission of traditional ecological knowledge; and 7) agrobiodiversity and subsistence.
Participants learn techniques for collecting and analyzing ethnoecological data, along with an introduction to various software packages. Methods derived from cognitive anthropology include freelisting, paired comparisons, rankings, pile sorting, and triad tests. Methods from ecology include biological collections, landscape valuation, plots, transects, and diversity indices. Complementary topics include: 1) negotiating community research agreements and obtaining prior informed consent for ethnoecological studies; and 2) ethical approaches to making ethnoecological data public.