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Anthropology How To

A guide for undergraduates undertaking an in-depth anthropological research project

Research During the Pandemic

Deborah Lupton and colleagues have compiled and extensive crowd-sourced document of resources and ideas on how to conduct anthropological fieldwork during social isolation, Doing Fieldwork in a Pandemic (Lupton, 2020). This document covers methods topics such as:

  • Doing online interviews
  • Asynchronous (epistolary) interviews
  • Story completion method
  • Using Facebook groups
  • Netnography or virtual ethnography
  • Autoethnography
  • Ethics of moving from face-to-face fieldwork
  • and much, much more

Sections include examples of published research utilizing the methods, tutorials, and other information. Deborah Lupton also maintains a public Facebook group called Innovative Social Research Methods.

See the American Anthropological Association (AAA) site for additional COVID-19 resources. The AAA page is broader than the above document and features information on the coronavirus, as well as advice for teaching and learning in the current environment.

See the Emory Libraries COVID-19 page for updates on how to access library materials during the pandemic.

Ethics and Online Research

Ethical principles still apply when you are not face-to-face. See the Ethical use of qualitative data and findings (Mertens 2014) for an overview and The Ethics of Internet Research by Eynon et al (2008) for issues specific to online research. Also, take note as you read published studies related to your work. Authors will often discuss ethical issues in a more nuanced fashion, although they may not use the term ethics. 

You will still need to seek IRB approval for your research.

Methods Resources for Social Distance

Sage Research Methods is a database of social sciences research methods that indexes full text content previously published by Sage. Explore the Methods Map to find relevant methodologies (e.g. virtual ethnography), guidance for implementing them, and examples of published research. You can also search for specific methods or browse by discipline and topic.

Books and Handbooks

Hjorth, L., Horst, H., Galloway, A., & Bell, G. (2017). The Routledge Companion to Digital Ethnography. Routledge.

Braun, V., Clarke, V., & Gray, D. (2017). Collecting qualitative data : A practical guide to textual, media and virtual techniques. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Leavy, P. (2009). Method meets art: Arts-based research practice. New York: Guilford Press.

Fielding, N., Lee, R., & Blank, G. (2008). The SAGE handbook of online research methods. Los Angeles; London: SAGE.

The Cambridge series Elements in Quantitative and Computational Methods for the Social Sciences (2018- )

  • This series features short introductions and hands-on tutorials to emerging methodologies. Volumes include agent-based modeling, modeling ethnocentrism and polarization, regression discontinuity designs, using Twitter as data, and a forthcoming volume on images as social sciences data.

Note: Many more resources are available. Search discoverE to find them or ask the Anthropology Librarian for help.

Data Resources for SARS-CoV-2

Data resources for SARS-CoV-2 compiled by Dr. Rob O'Reilly. From his description:

"This guide is a compilation of sources for data on Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and COVID-19. The guide includes links to data on different facets of the virus and the disease it causes: cases, deaths, testing, projections, policy responses, public opinion and reactions, economic consequences, and some tools for working with data in different statistical applications. The focus is on data that are directly about the virus and the disease it causes or have been re-framed to focus on some aspect of their effects. It is something of a work in progress in that we hope to update the guide on a regular basis as we encounter additional data about the virus."

Business databases of particular interest

  • GlobalData Medical Devices - Source of global market research and data on the market devices sector, both pipeline and marketed products; covers manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors. Includes: market and competitive intelligence; strategic planning; deals/M&A; innovation and R&D; marketing, monetization, and more. Special coverage of COVID-19 response. NOTE: May require VPN for remote access.
  • GlobalData: Pharmaceutical - Coverage includes: 1) Sales data for pipeline and marketed drugs, including analyst sales consensus and forecasts; 2) Regulatory Milestones Tracker for drug expires and review designations; 3) Trials; 4) Clinical Investigators; 5) In-depth disease analysis and forecasts for 120+ disease markets; and 6) Analysis of disease populations, annualized forecasts of incidence and/or prevalent cases. Special dossier and coverage of COVID-19 response. NOTE: May require VPN for remote access.

Configuring Your Computer for Emory Resources

These steps will provide you with a basic configuration that will help you save time by adding menu shortcuts and using reference management software.

  1. Install the Emory browser plugin 
    • This is a plugin provides direct access to Emory library resources.
  2. Configure your Google Scholar settings to recognize Emory library resources.
    • Search for Emory on the "Library Links" page. Save your settings.
  3. Choose your reference management software. Many options are available, but the following three are the most commonly used at Emory.
  4. Check the list of upcoming workshops for relevant sessions.
    • Emory Libraries offers workshops in EndNote, Zotero, ArcGIS, research data management, copyright law, electronic thesis/dissertation submission, graduate test preparation, and other topics.

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