Sunday, March 26, 2017

Course Schedule for 2013

Please note that you must register and log in before you can download readings (there is a Login box on the right side of this page with a register link). Also note that some linked reading files are quite large and may take a minute or two to download in your browser window.

Monday Morning

  • Course overview
  • Student introductions and presentation of their interests in studying behavior
  • Overview of the range of conceptual approaches and methods that have been used to measure behavior, with a little of their history, use and current application
  • Discussion of research that directly compares behavior observations and questionnaires and diary methods to help one decide whether to use direct observation or other less costly methods

Monday Afternoon

  • Participants interview each other to collect recall data of their activities in the last two days
  • Participants organize and describe the information collected, at a qualitative and/or quantitative level, and prepare a one-to-two-page write up of their analysis to be presented and discussed the following morning in class
  • Primer on SPSS, basic discussion of scales, variables and categories, and practice with constructing databases in SPSS. If you use another statistical program please review that program’s tutorials on the same topics as above.


Stinson, L.L. (1999). Measuring How People Spend Their Time: a Time-Use Survey Design. Monthly Labor Review 122, 12-19.

Paolisso, M. & Hames, R. (2010). Time Diary versus Instantaneous Sampling:A Comparison of Two Behavioral Research Methods. Field Methods, 22(4), 357-377.

Gross, D. R. (1984). Time allocation: a tool for the study of cultural behavior. Annual review of Anthropology, 13, 519-558.

Johnson, A., & Sackett, R. (1998). Direct systematic observation of behavior. In H. R. Bernard (Ed.), Handbook of Methods in Cultural Anthropology 301-331. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press.

Borgerhoff Mulder, M B, T.M. Caro, J.S. Chrisholm, et al. (1985). The Use of Quantitative Observational Techniques in Anthropology [and Comments and Replies]. Current Anthropology, 26(3), 323-335.

Stange, KC, SJ Zyzanski, TF Smith, et al. (1998). How Valid Are Medical Records and Patient Questionnaires for Physician Profiling and Health Services Research? a Comparison with Direct Observation of Patient Visits. Medical Care, 36(6), 851-867.

SPSS References

Note: We will provide an overview of SPSS in class, with a focus on building databases of the type useful for behavioral research. Based on past teaching, we anticipate that this overview will be sufficient for most participants unfamiliar with SPSS. Those of you who are adept at another statistical program please review that program’s tutorials on data base construction, variable types, and modification. However, participants who want to practice with SPSS prior to the course will find the below references useful:

Salkind, Neil (2011). Statistics for People Who (Think They) Hate Statistics. Sage.

Field, Andy (2009). Discovering Statistics using SPSS. Sage.

Also, the tutorial in SPSS is very user-friendly and helpful. Visit the Ye’kwana on-line data base to view a large and complex time allocation data base. The site contains an SPSS data file that can be downloaded for practice manipulation in SPSS.

Tuesday Morning

    • Participants present and discuss their unstructured recall data collected Monday afternoon
    • Lecuture and discussion of various approaches to collecting survey data on time allocation and behavior
    • Discussion of the range of issues or questions being addressed by current time use surveys, the methodological strengths and weaknesses of survey approaches, and the significance of this research to anthropological interests in time and behavior
    • Discussion of coding schemes used by various researchers, stressing the importance of operational definitions, and showing how and why the classification employed depends on the question asked

Arguably, surveys have been the most productive and efficient approach used to collect representative time use and behavior data. They are widely used in the social sciences, widely accepted by policymakers, and represent (fairly or not) the benchmark or standard by which other researchers and policymakers interpret and understand ethnographic observational studies of behavior.

Tuesday Afternoon

  • Students will construct a time use/behavior survey, which will include diary or log recall components
  • Students will practice keeping a time diary for the late afternoon
  • Students will code and analyze the time diary data in SPSS


Marks, Michael J. and R. Chris Fraley (2006). Confirmation Bias and the Sexual Double Standard. Sex Roles 54(1/2), 19-26.

Kahneman, D, A.B. Krueger, D.A. Schkade, N. Schwarz, and A.A. Stone (2004). A Survey Method for Characterizing Daily Life Experience: the Day Reconstruction Method. Science, 306, 1776-1780.

Winkler, A.E. (2002). Measuring Time Use in Households with More Than One Person. Monthly Labor Review 125, 45-52.

Schwartz, Lisa K., Diane Herz, and Harley Frazis (2002). Measuring Intrahousehold Allocation of Time: Response to Annie E. Winkler. Monthly Labor Review 125, 53-59.

Wells, William D., and Leonard A. Lo Sciuto (1966). Direct Observation of Purchasing Behavior. Journal of Marketing Research 3(3), 227-233.

Claremont Graduate School Class in Marketing Research, (1967). Note on Direct Observation of Purchasing Behavior. Journal of Marketing Research 4, 402-404.

Wednesday Morning

    • Review of the development and cross-cultural application of approaches to holistically sample moments of time or acts of behavior
    • Review of cross-cultural coding schemes that balance ethnological interests with ethnographic validity know as spot or instantaneous observations

Presentation and discussion will focus on the range of these methods, the types of problems or questions they can address, and the types of analytical trade off that surface in the coding and analysis of spot/instantaneous data. Discussion will include such practical issues such as adding new codes in the middle of a study, practice runs (trying the method out to see how the study participants react), physical layout of settlement, recording issues (pencil & paper, check-list, tape recorder, PDAs), quality control (cleaning data and error checking), collection of demographic data (age, sex, household membership. location), random sampling strategies, block sampling, and observer effects on subjects.

Wednesday Afternoon

  • Students will practice collecting spot or instantaneous observations, which will be coded using a standardized coding scheme (e.g., HRAF time allocation codes)
  • Coded data will be entered into SPSS and analyzed for particular time use and behavioral patterns
  • Selected demographic, location, and supplemental context information will also be collected along with the time/behavior data, thus allowing students to investigate behavior and time patterns by other relevant variables


Fouts, H.N., B.S. Hewlett, and M.E. Lamb (2005). Parent–Offspring Weaning Conflicts Among the Bofi Farmers and Foragers of Central Africa1. Current Anthropology 46(1), 29-50.

Hames, Raymond (1987). Garden Labor Exchange Among the Ye’kwana. Ethology and Sociobiology 8(4), 259-284.

Flinn, M.V., Laura Betzig, Monique Borgerhoff Mulder, and Paul Turke (1988). Parent-Offspring Interactions in a Caribbean Village: Daughter Guarding. In Human Reproductive Behaviour. Laura Betzig, Monique Borgerhoff Mulder, and Paul Turke, eds. Pp. 189-200. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

Paolisso, M, S. Gammage, and L. Casey (1999). Gender and Household-Level Responses to Soil Degradation in Honduras. Human Organization 58(3), 261-273.

Vitzthum, V. (1994). Suckling Patterns: Lack of Concordance Between Maternal Recall and Observational Data. American Journal of Human Biology, 6, 551-562.

Thursday Morning

  • Student presentation and discussion of spot observation data collected the previous afternoon
  • Discuss problems in coding consistency and reliability, complex behavior (doing two things at once), interaction, and error checking
  • Consider studies and coding schemes that delve more deeply into various dimensions of behavior such as intensity, psychological states, and meaningful content

Thursday Afternoon

    • Presentation of focal and continuous observations
    • Discuss how continuous observation data enriches ethnographic understanding of behavior
    • Students will practice continuous observation using their spot observation practice findings to help them refine the focus of their inquiry

These approaches have involved intense observation of behavior for limited periods of time. They provide fine-grained data that complements spot observations and surveys. They produce a high volume of data, and are labor and time intensive. Importantly, one can acquire real measures of behavior duration.


Williams, RL, SA Flocke, and KC Stange (2001). Race and Preventive Services Delivery Among Black Patients and White Patients Seen in Primary Care. Medical Care, 39(11), 1260-1267.

Konner, M, and C Worthman (1980). Nursing Frequency, Gonadal Function, and Birth Spacing Among !Kung Hunter-Gatherers. Science 207(4432), 788-791.

Dunbar, R. I. M., and A. Marriott (1997). Human Conversational Behavior. Human Nature 8(3), 231-246.

Pianta, R C, J Belsky, R Houts, F Morrison, The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Early Child Care Research Network (2007). TEACHING: Opportunities to Learn in America’s Elementary Classrooms. Science 315(5820), 1795-1796.

Viera, AJ, and JM Garrett (2005). Understanding Interobserver Agreement: the Kappa Statistic. Family Medicine 37(5), 360-363.

The readings immediately below are the manuals used by the observers containing clear operational definitions of the behavior.

Belsky (2000). First Grade Classroom Observation System. The NICHD Study of Early Child Care.

Belsky (2000). First Grade Unstructured Peer Interaction Observation System. The NICHD Study of Early Child Care.

Friday Morning

    • Topics and issues that were raised during the previous four days that warrant further discussion

These may include topics related to data collection and analysis, as well as interests in how to integrate anthropological behavioral research methods into project development, policy-related work and teaching.

Friday Afternoon

  • Brief review of the behavioral methods reviewed in the course, noting their strengths, weaknesses, uses and misuses
  • Participants will conclude the course with short (15 minute) presentations of a one-two page proposal for how they might integrate the behavioral methods discussed into their teaching and research


Gravlee, C C, S N Zenk, S Woods, Z Rowe, and A J Schulz (2006). Handheld Computers for Direct Observation of the Social and Physical Environment. Field Methods 18(4), 382-397.

Hames, Raymond and Michael Paolisso (in press). Behavior Observations in Ethnography. Handbook of Methods in Cultural Anthropology. H. Russell Bernard and Clarence Gravlee, eds. Pp. 1-24. Walnut Creek, CA: Altamira Press.