Origin And Development Of Anthropology

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Origin And Development Of Anthropology


1) Man and his environment have always been for themselves a perennial source of wonder and contemplation. This consciousness led him to search for the realities. Therefore it is futile to talk about the beginning of the study of man. For the origins of systematic thinking, we usually refer to classical Greek civilization, specifically the writings of Herodotus in the fifth century BCE. Not only Herodotus, many other Greek and Roman historians like Socrates, Aristotle, Hippocrates, Plato etc. are considered as leading social thinkers.

2) He first expressed his vital interest in human affairs from the perspective of the universe. His approach was purely humanistic and he propounded a social theory from biological point of view.

3) Anthropology as a distinct discipline emerged recently in the nineteenth century. Sidney Slotkin traces the history of several anthropological sub-disciplines to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in his book ‘Readings in Early Anthropology’. But he also agreed that real commercial interest in the subject did not appear until the nineteenth century. The unusual people and their unknown way of life aroused the interest of sailors and other explorers. As a result, a society called ‘Observers if Man’ was established in Paris in 1800.

4) By an association of naturalists and medicine-men. This society promoted the study of natural history by providing guidance to travelers and explorers to distant places. But in the meantime, for a long series of Napoleonic wars, commerce and foreign travel were disrupted. Naturally the study of natural history was neglected and instead, philosophy, ethnography and political

The questions came to the fore. The society did not last long and in 1838 another society was established in London for the protection of the aborigines. Eminent scholars joined the society whose aims were political and social rather than scientific. Again in a very short time the need for a scientific society was felt. One of the influential members, Mr. Hodgkin, together with several other eminent persons, inaugurated an ‘Ethnological Society’ in Berlin in 1839.

5) Eminent naturalist Milne-Edwards took an active part there. A similar society was formed in London in 1841 and soon after in 1842 a third ‘Ethnological Society’ was established in New York. The establishment of ethnographic societies can be taken as an important milestone in the emergence of anthropology.

6) Hence anthropology is considered as a product of scientific development in the western world. The tradition of social philosophy continued until the advent of industrialization in the West, and it emerged as a distinct discipline in the nineteenth century; Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species (1859) probably sparked the enthusiasm of all scientists in various fields. Darwin showed that life evolved from unicellular organisms and went through the process of evolution on its way to complex multicellular organisms. This idea not only opened new avenues for zoology, anatomy, physiology, philology, paleontology, archeology and geology; It also accelerated the pace of socio-cultural studies.

7) A group of intellectuals like Spencer, Morgan, Tylor influenced by Darwin came to the conclusion that evolution operated not only in terms of material aspect of mankind but also in cultural life. Accordingly, the year 1859 may be taken as the date of birth of Anthropology; RR Marrett (1912) called Anthropology the ‘child of Darwin’. In the same year 1859, Paul Broca founded an ‘Anthropological Society’ in Paris.

8) Broca himself was an anatomist and human biologist. He advocated the idea of general biology by synthesizing all the specialized studies to understand man. Anthropology made significant progress in America after the publication of Broca.

9) On the other hand in 1863, James Hunt withdrew himself from the British Ethnological Society and founded the Anthropological Society in London with dissident members of the Ethnological Society. Hunt declared Anthropology as the ‘complete science of man’ which deals with the origin and development of humanity. In 1868, Thomas Huxley was elected President of the Anthropological Society.

10) Despite his biological orientation, he was associated with the Ethnological Society in London for a long time. However, it was at this time that the work of the Ethnological Society in London lasted for a long time. However, this was the time when the work of the Ethnological Society and the Anthropological Society began

11) created a ruckus together. The difference was kept only in the names.

12) For almost thirty years, from 1840 to 1870, a great debate continued with the two words- Anthropology and Anthropology. France, Germany and England highly appreciated this theme. In fact, anthropology gained immense popularity throughout Europe. International Congresses of Anthropology and Prehistoric Archeology were held in different parts of India in 1866, 1867 and 1868.

13) Europe. In 1871 the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland was formed. But in 1873 there was again a split; A new ‘London Anthropological Society’ emerged. This new society produced a magazine named ‘Anthropology’. International communication, research and publication were the main objectives of this society. By this time, such names as anthropology, ethnography, ethnography, archaeology, prehistory, linguistics and linguistics were firmly established.

14) Paul Broca, in his address ‘The Progress of Anthropology’ (1869), pointed out that anatomy together with biology formed the principal basis of anthropology, on which the final ideas of general anthropology were derived through rigorous synthesis. Could After a few years, anthropology acquired a truly synthetic character and became respected both in Europe and in America.

15) In Europe, various names are still in vogue as anthropology, ethnography, prehistory and linguistics; They complement each other to cover the entire study of man. But in the Americas and most of Asia, the word anthropology is sufficient to convey the full meaning. Before the discovery of America by Columbus, Native Americans had their own indigenous ideas about the nature of man.

16) Later, the European tradition of science and scholarship touched them as was the case with Africa, Oceania and parts of Asia. It is said that the English, French, Germans and other Europeans provided anthropology with a tradition of scholarship, books and theories while the Americans provided a fine laboratory nearby.

17) Lewis Henry Morgan was one of the world’s foremost personalities who combined his personal intensive field work in a native culture with comparative work and general theory. Missionaries and others who lived at the time, though they attempted to publish their observations, differed from Morgan’s position because

His remarks had a worldwide perspective. In fact, Morgan founded the great branch of anthropology known as socio-cultural anthropology through his comparative analysis of family and kinship structure.

18) In the last part of the nineteenth century, some anthropologists became interested in the study of racial stock and also in the biological evolution of man. France has contributed well to prehistory and physical anthropology. Germany established first a psychological and later a geographical tradition of cultural anthropology. Theodore Weitz developed basic physical anthropology, which embraced people all over the world. Adolf Basten speculated about the basic psychological makeup in humans by surveying the cultures of people around the world. Friedrich Ratzel blended geography with anthropology and created a new subfield, anthropology.

19) The concept of culture given by Sir Edward Burnett Tyler (1832–1917) established anthropology as an academically recognized discipline in Europe. Tylor is considered the father of modern anthropology. American anthropologists also believe the same.

20) The word ‘culture’ was originally used in the field of biology; Its German equivalent ‘Kultur’ was applied to human societies in the 18th century (Kroeber and Kluckhohn: 1963) to correlate behavioral variations with racial differences. Tylor, in his landmark book ‘Primitive Culture’ (1871), first defined culture in the following words; “Culture or civilization taken in its broadest ethnographic sense is that complex whole, including knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other.”

21) other abilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society”. The discipline of sociology and anthropology emerged as twin sisters after the industrial revolution and colonial expansion, respectively.

22) After the First World War, the approach to anthropology changed greatly, the 19th century anthropologists were completely unfamiliar with the people they were dealing with. They depended on stale and fabricated data collected by other non-anthropologists like explorers, missionaries, administrators etc. As anthropologists just sat in their libraries and made their proposals, there was a lot of speculation involved. They relied mainly on comparison. Brownisław Malinowski (1884–1942) was the first to break this trend. He taught the importance of field-study as opposed to speculation about primitive people.

23) During World War II, American anthropologists began to focus on the psychological problems and issues of entire nations in order to understand the basic characteristics of developed nations.

24) Civilizations like Japanese, Chinese and Russian etc. National character studies became very popular during this period. At the end of World War I, anthropology was found by the French scholar Claude Lévi-Strauss, whose emphasis was confined to the formal aspect of culture.

25) By the end of World War II, the physical aspect of anthropology also took a new turn. It was no longer a study limited to a variety of measurements; The rediscovery of genetics led to the study of growth and development. Advances in the study of human genetics provided a strong basis for the integration between physical anthropology and social anthropology. The basic interest of anthropologists in prehistory is more or less the same as that of primitive ethnography.

26) British scholars not only gave an ideological leadership to this field, they organized the first ever ‘International Congress of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences’ (ICAES) in 1934, in which nine hundred anthropologists, ethnologists and other related fields from forty three countries participated. Scientists participated. By that time, British evolutionary and diffusionist theories suffered setbacks but structural-functional theory emerged as the most important school.

27) The period can be termed as the initial phase of institutionalization of Anthropology. It was further strengthened by British social anthropology, which gained a certain recognition on a global scale. The influence of British anthropology was prominent at the next three congresses in Copenhagen (1938), Brussels (1948) and Vienna (1952), but after the ravages of World War II it was nearly dead and in need of revival.

28) The Fifth International Congress of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences, held in Philadelphia (USA) in 1956, showed the post-war dominance of American anthropology. The Weiner Graun Foundation for Anthropological Research Inc. in New York. There was a notable anthropological conference organized by A.L. Kroeber was presided over. It was also significant because Soviet delegates participated in this ICAES for the first time. The American model of anthropology was followed in this Congress instead of the British model. According to LP Vidyarti (1979), a unified image of anthropology emerged at the Vienna Symposium in 1952, but its study was based on planning and deliberative approach.

29) The work on ‘Integrated Man’ was done at the fifth ICAES in 1956. A book called ‘Current Anthropology’ by William Thomas (1956) and a magazine called ‘Current Anthropology’ edited by Soule

also. The tax (from 1960) further ensured the image of integration. As a result, at the Paris Congress (1960), the structural-functional school was found to be deeply entrenched and the American model of anthropology dominantly gained ground.

30) A large number of collaborators of present anthropology under the dynamic guidance of Prof. Sol. Kar was able to connect the whole world with human science. Soviet ethnography was found to have developed along the lines of evolutionary theory and was later modified by the writings of Marx, Engels and Lenin. Thus, new dimensions were added to anthropology, which was quite balanced and free from Anglo-American influence. The concept of colonial anthropology or neo-imperialism is a relatively recent achievement in anthropology. Scholars from third world countries were neglected for a long time. Now they are also getting due importance; Various sessions of ICAES have seen an increased rate of participation. But despite all these recent developments, we should not forget the beginning of anthropology which was blessed with European and American courage.

31) Anthropology is a young discipline in India. By the term ‘Indian anthropology’, André Bete (1996) refers to the study of society and culture in India by anthropologists, regardless of their nationality. There were many anthropologists inside or outside India who took interest in the study of Indian society and culture. However, the origin of anthropology dates back to the late 19th century with the ethnographic compilation of the tradition, customs and beliefs of various tribes and castes in different provinces of India.


SOCIOLOGY IN ENGLISH: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLuVMyWQh56R3KgAeBpmbY8Gv6201xh2dQ

32) Prof. D.N. Majumdar found the beginning of Indian anthropology in the establishment of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, inaugurated by Sir William Jones in 1774. But there is no concrete evidence for the emergence of anthropology in India during the 18th century. It is true that the Asiatic Society began to publish essays of anthropological and antiquarian interest in its journal and proceedings, but they were all written by government officials and missionaries who had no academic interest.

33) True anthropological work in the world scene began in the 20th century except for Tylor’s pioneering work. Tylor in his book ‘Anthropology’ (1881) discussed the language, race, physical characteristics, customs and practices of primitive man.

34) Old remains of people as well as people as part of anthropology. Their views were mainly derived from the reports submitted by administrators and missionaries who had penetrated various parts of the world in the wake of trade and commerce and subsequent colonization.

35) In the late 19th century, administrators and missionaries in India as in other parts of the world wrote a lot about the Indian people and their way of life. After colonization, the administrators took more interest in the issues of the colonial peoples for good governance in the newly acquired territories. Risley, Dalton, Thurston, O’Malley, Russell, Crooke, Blunt, Mills and other trained British personnel posted in different parts of India wrote compendiums on tribes and castes on India.

36) After this, anthropology progressed successfully in India throughout the century. Indian anthropologists borrowed ideas, framework and procedures of work from western anthropologists and practiced ‘self-study’ instead of studying ‘other culture’. But his work became unique with respect to pattern assumptions, selection of data, criteria of relevance and some other matters.

37) N.K. Bose (1963) published a booklet titled “Fifty Years of Science in India, Progress of Anthropology and Archaeology” prepared under the auspices of the Indian Science Congress Association from Calcutta. He discussed the progress of anthropology in India under the headings- Prehistoric Archaeology, Physical Anthropology and Cultural Anthropology. After Bose, L.P. students who tried to focus on the major trends in anthropology in the course of its development in India.

38) His paper was presented at the VIIth ICAES in Moscow in 1964. In another paper published in the same year, Vidyarthi specifically mentioned some of the recent trends in village studies, caste studies, studies of leadership and power structure, religion, kinship and social organization. Tribal village, even applied anthropology. The development of anthropology in the Indian context has been monitored from time to time by both Indian and foreign scholars. However in the light of Vidyarti and Sinha, we can divide the development of Indian anthropology into the following historical phases.

  1. Early Phase (1774–1919)

39) The establishment of the Asiatic Society of Bengal in 1774 is regarded as the beginning of the scientific study of ‘nature and man’ in India. Many anthropological studies were initiated through the efforts of the Asiatic Society under the leadership of the founder-president Sir William Jones. The Society gave rise to a journal which reflected scholarly interest in the diversity of Indian customs. British administrators, missionaries, travelers and other writers had the opportunity to publish their collected information on tribal culture and village life. Not a single journal of the Asiatic Society was published in 1784, Indian Antiquary in 1872, Bihar and Orissa Riser in 1915

In 1921 many magazines like the magazine of the French Society and Men in India came out one by one.

40) Thus the foundation stone of anthropology was laid in a systematic way in the form of ethnographic mapping. Hence the phase is considered as the initial phases in the history of Indian anthropology. Inspiration was drawn from the British anthropologists who came to work in India. For example, W.H.R. The river turned its attention to the Todas of the Nilgiri Hills; A.R.Radcliffe-Brown with the Andaman Islanders, G.H. Seligman and B.G. Seligman focused on the Vedas of Ceylon etc.

Formative Phase (1920–1949)

1) University level. The ‘formative phase’ of ethnographic studies took a new turn in 1920 when social anthropology was included in the postgraduate curriculum of the University of Calcutta. Although anthropology found a place in the University of Calcutta as a subsidiary subject in 1918, it required two more years to gain proper recognition.

2) An independent Anthropology Department came up in 1920 which was a major achievement for the discipline itself. K.P. Chattopadhyay was the first professor of anthropology in Calcutta who was trained at Cambridge by W.H.R. Rivers and AC Haddon. RP Chanda became the first lecturer there. Anthropology departments in Delhi, Lucknow and Gauhati universities were created in 1947, 1950 and 1952 respectively. Thereafter, a series of universities viz.

3) Saugarh, Madras, Pune, Ranchi, Dibrugarh, Utkal, Ravi Shankar, Karnataka, North Bengal, North-Eastern Hills etc. have been asked to include Anthropology wing in their academic setup.

Analytical Period (1950–1990)

1) The contact of Indian anthropologists with American anthropologists took place after the Second World War and especially after the independence of India. American anthropologists like Morris Opler, Oscar Lewis, David Mandelbaum and many of their students came to India

2) Carry out a systematic study of Indian villages to test some of your own hypotheses. Indian anthropologists include D.N. Majumdar, M.N. Srinivas and S.C. Dubey made notable contributions to community and village studies. The American anthropologist R. Redfield, M. Singer, M. Marriott and Bernard S. Cohn devoted themselves to the study of the dimensions of Indian civilization. Redfield’s ‘Great Traditions and Little Traditions’ as well as the ‘Folk-Urban Continuum’ were universal propositions.

3) K. Gough, E. Leach, N.K. Bose and A. Bete was busy unveiling the socio-economic base of Indian society. Many studies were done by the Anthropological Survey – In addition, many in-depth and analytical studies on different communities were encouraged which were completely free from the bias of the western theoretical model.

4) B, K, Roy Burman A.K. Das’ remarkable contribution, publication of new bulletins and journals, establishment of more and more research centres, especially characterized the analytical phase in the growth and development of Indian anthropology in the late 20th century.

5) 4. Evaluation Phase (1990 onwards)

6) Recently we have quietly entered a phase of evaluation. Since Western anthropology under British and American influence failed to explain the complexity of Indian society, the Indian situation required a critical appraisal and a reorientation of the discipline.

7) Indian scholars developed indigenous models with the intention of understanding the cultural matrix of India. The alternative methodological framework not only helped to establish a refined concept; It also aimed at ‘Indianness’ to maintain the quality of national life. In fact, Indian anthropology calls for an active, humanistic and critical approach to the subject matter to overcome the constraints of intellectual colonialism and neo-colonialism.

8) new types of data are encountered; Concepts, methods and theories are constantly shaped and reshaped. New ways of looking at new types of data have made Indian anthropology more unique than ever. Unlike western countries, there has been a close relationship between sociology and social anthropology in India from the very beginning. The sheer size and density of the Indian population has facilitated such proximity between the two disciplines. The present phase of anthropology in India has brought sociology very close; Both the disciplines examine tribal, agricultural and industrial socio-cultural systems.

9) Many eminent anthropologists like MN Srinivas, SC Dubey and others were found to enter the field of sociologists successfully combining the two disciplines to produce better results.

10) Methods of Anthropology E th n o g r a ph y

11) The term ethnography has come to equate to virtually any qualitative research project where the intent is to provide a detailed, in-depth description of everyday life and practice. This is sometimes referred to as a “rough description” – a term coined by anthropologist Clifford Geertz in the early 1970s on the idea of an explanatory theory of culture. The use of the term “qualitative” is to distinguish such a distinction. social science research from more “quantitative” or statistically oriented research.

12) Whereas an ethnographic approach to social research now

While not purely that of a cultural anthropologist, a more precise definition must be rooted in the disciplinary home of anthropology, that of ethnography. Thus, ethnography can be defined as both a qualitative research process or method (one conducts ethnography) and the product (the result of this process is an ethnography) that aims at cultural interpretation. Ethnographic reporting goes beyond description of events and experience. In particular, the researcher attempts to explain how these represent what we might call “webs of meaning”, the cultural constructs in which we live.

13) An ethnographic understanding is developed through a thorough exploration of multiple sources of data. Using these data sources as a foundation, the ethnographer relies on a cultural framework of analysis.

14) Long-term engagement in the field setting or location where ethnography takes place is called participant observation. It is probably the primary source of ethnographic data. The term represents the dual role of the ethnographer. To develop an understanding of what it is like to live in a setting, the researcher must become a participant in the life of the setting, while also maintaining the stance of an observer, someone who can describe the experience so that we can are call “detachment.” Ethnographers typically spend several months or even years in the places where they conduct their research and often form lasting relationships with the people.

15) Interviews provide for what may be called “targeted” data collection by asking specific but open-ended questions. There is a huge variety of interview styles. each ethnographer Brin

16) Your own unique approach to the GS process.

17) Researchers collect other sources of data depending on the specific nature of the field setting. This can take the form of representative artworks that cover the subject of interest, government reports, and features of newspaper and magazine articles. Although often not tied to the site of study, secondary academic sources are used to “locate” a specific study within an existing body of literature.

18) Most anthropologists today point to Bronisław Malinowski, author of such historical ethnographies as Argonauts of the Western Pacific (first published in 1922), as a founding father of ethnographic fieldwork, “participant- practice observation. Malinowski’s early twentieth-century ethnography was written in a voice that was removed and not fully disclosed.

19) The nature of the ethnographer and his relationship with the people studied. Since the time of Malinowski,

20) Personal details of the fieldwork are hidden in the notes and diaries.

21) Good ethnography recognizes the transformative nature of fieldwork, where as we seek answers to questions about people, we may find ourselves in the stories of others. Ethnography must be acknowledged as a reciprocal product that is born out of the interrelationship of the lives of the ethnographer and his subjects.

22) Case Study

23) Case study involves a particular method of research. Rather than using large samples and following a rigid protocol to examine a limited number of variables, case study methods involve an in-depth, longitudinal examination of a single instance or phenomenon. They provide a systematic way of observing events, collecting data, analyzing information, and reporting results. As a result the researcher may gain a sharper understanding of why the instance happened as it did, and what may be important to look at more widely in future research.

24) A case study is a form of qualitative descriptive research that is used to observe individuals, a small group of participants, or an entire group. Researchers collect data about participants using direct observations, interviews, protocols, tests, examination of records, and collection of writing samples.

25) According to H. Odom, case study method is a technique by which an individual factor, whether an institution or just an episode in the life of an individual or a group, is analyzed in its relationship to another in the group . Thus, a fairly detailed study of a person (as to what he does and has done, what he thinks he has done and has done, and what he expects to do and says he should do). Or the group is called life or case history. Bergers has used the term “the social microscope” for the case study method.

26) Case study method is a form of qualitative analysis which involves careful and complete observation of a person or situation or institution; An attempt is made to study each and every aspect of the concerned entity in minute details and then case data generalizations and conclusions are drawn.

27) Features

28) Under this system the researcher may take a single social unit or more than one unit for the purpose of his study, he may also take a situation to study comprehensively. Here an in-depth study of the selected unit is done i.e.

It is studied in fine detail. Generally, studies to trace the natural history of the entity last for a long period of time so that sufficient information is obtained to draw correct conclusions.

29) Through this method we try to understand the complex of factors that operate within a social unit as an integrated totality (complete study of social unit covering all features). The approach under this method is qualitative and not quantitative. about the case study

30) In the method, an attempt is made to know the interrelationships of the causal factors. Under this method, the pattern of the concerned unit is studied directly.

31) Case study method is a very popular form of qualitative analysis. It results in useful hypotheses with data that can be helpful in their testing, and thus enables generalizable knowledge to be enriched and enriched.

32) Focus Group Interview

33) Focus group research is a qualitative research method. It seeks to collect information that is outside the purview of quantitative research. The term “focus group” is often used to describe several types of group discussions. However, focus group research is a true research method. As such, it uses a fairly standard method. Focus group research involves an organized discussion with a selected group of individuals to obtain information about their views and experiences about a topic. Focus group interviewing is particularly well suited for obtaining multiple perspectives about the same topic. Benefits of focus group research include gaining insight into people’s shared understandings about everyday life and the ways in which individuals are influenced by others in a group situation. The problem arises when eaten

34) In identifying individual perspectives from the group perspective as well as in practical arrangements for conducting focus groups. The role of moderator is very important. Successfully moderating a group requires a good level of group leadership and interpersonal skills.

35) There are many definitions of a focus group in the literature, but characteristics such as organized discussion (Kitzinger 1994), group activity (Powell et al 1996), social events (Goss & Leinbach 1996) and conversation (Kitzinger 1995) identify the contribution The one who focuses. Groups form for social research.

36) Powell et al define a focus group as “a group of individuals selected and assembled by researchers to discuss and comment on, from personal experience, the subject of research”.

37) Focus group is a form of group interview but it is important to differentiate between the two. Group interviewing involves interviewing several people at the same time, with an emphasis on questions and responses between the researcher and the participants. Focus groups however rely on conversations within the group based on topics supplied by the researcher.

38) Hence the key feature that distinguishes focus groups is the insights and data generated by the interactions between participants.

39) Why use focus groups and not other methods?

40) The main purpose of focus group research is to elicit the attitudes, feelings, beliefs, experiences, and reactions of respondents in a way that may not be possible using other methods, for example observation, one-to-one interviews, or questionnaires Survey. This attitude

41) Feelings and beliefs may be partly independent of a group or its social setting, but are more likely to emerge through the social interactions and interactions that take place in a focus group. Compared to individual interviews, which aim to elicit individual attitudes, beliefs, and feelings, focus groups capture the plurality of thoughts and emotional processes within a group context. Individual interviews are easier for the researcher to control than a focus group in which participants can take the initiative. Compared to observation, a focus group enables the researcher to obtain a large amount of information in a short amount of time. Observational methods rely on waiting for things to happen while the researcher follows an interview guide in a focus group. In this sense, focus groups are not natural but organized events. Focus groups are particularly useful when there is a power differential between participants and decision-makers or professionals, when the everyday use of language and culture of particular groups is of interest, and when one wants to know the degree of consensus on a given topic. (Morgan & Krieger 1993).

role of focus groups

Focus groups can be used in the preliminary or exploratory phases of a study (Kreuger 1988); during a study, perhaps to evaluate or develop a specific program of activities (Race et al 1994); or after a program has been completed, to assess its impact or generate further avenues of research.

Focus groups can help to explore or generate hypotheses (Powell & Single 1996) and develop questions or concepts for questionnaires and interview guides (Hopp et al 1995; Lankshire 1993).

can do. However they are limited in terms of their ability to generalize findings to the entire population, mainly due to the small number of people participating and the likelihood of not being a representative sample of participants.



As in the natural sciences, the importance of observation in the social sciences cannot be overstated. The method of observation is being used by the social scientist for the study of class, community, men and women, institutions. As modern instruments are being used in social research, observation method is being given an equally important place. Several methods have been discovered by which observation is becoming more reliable. Observation is a synonym of the Greek word ‘Observation’, which means to observe. According to the English dictionary, “In order to know the work-cause or mutual relationship, seeing and palming the events in their own form is called observation. Observation is such a method of collecting facts related to social reality.” In which the use of eyes rather than ears and sound is implied. Under this, events have to be seen, inspected, tested and documented in the same form as they happen. Like – observation of the life of child laborers, done with widows Observation of labor practices and observation of worker-employer relationship etc. etc. Some of the important definitions are as follows:

In the words of C. A. Moser, “observation in its strictest sense means more use of the eyes than of the ears and speech.” ,

  P . V . According to Young, “Observation is employed by the eye as a method of thoughtful study in order to study collective behavior and complex social institutions as well as the individual units constituting the whole.”

William J. Gade and Paul K Hadr william J . Goode and Paul K. Hatt) has written, “Science begins with observation and has to ultimately return to observation to test its limited validity.” Observation is considered a fundamental method in all sciences. No scientist accepts any event or state until he himself. Don’t experience it from your own point of view.

  In the words of P.V. Young, “Observation is a systematic and deliberate study by the eyes of natural phenomena as they occur.” It is clear from this definition – (1) Observation is a systematic and deliberate method . (2) The use of eyes is the main thing in this. (3) In this, social events are observed in their natural form. In this form it is considered a scientific method.

  According to C. A. Moser, “In the strict sense, observation involves the use of eyes rather than ears and speech.” Tries to understand the events by observing himself.

It is written in the Oxford Concise Dictionary, “Observation is the exact observation and description of events, as they appear in the subject of cause-effect or mutual relations. ,

It is clear from this (1) that accurate observation and description go hand in hand in observation. (2) In this, behavior is studied in natural conditions. (3) In this, an attempt is made to know the cause-effect relationships.

  According to J. Galtung, “Observation is the recording of all kinds of perceptible subject matter.” It is clear from this that in the process of observation all the senses of the researcher are activated. Under this, the researcher observes the incident directly and writes it up.

  1. Wolf says, “Observation is the act of perceiving objects and events. Their characteristics and their concrete relations and knowing the direct consciousness of our mental experiences in relation to them.” This definition makes it clear. That through observation not only events are seen, but efforts are also made to know its characteristics and interrelationships. On the basis of the above description, it can be said that observation is such a method in which primary facts are collected thoughtfully through the eyes.

According to Salles, Jahoda, Deutsch and Cook, observation becomes a scientific method when the following characteristics are added to it:

  (1) When the observation has a specific purpose.

(2) When the observation is made in a planned and systematic manner.

  (3) When necessary control and restrictions have been imposed on the authenticity and reliability of observation.

  (4) When the findings of observation are written in a systematic form and their co-relation is established with the general hypothesis.

  P . V . Young has mentioned the following characteristics of scientific observation

(1) definite objective,

  (2) Arrangement of planning and documentation,

  (3) Useful for scientific testing and control.

  features of observation

  (Characteristics of observation)

  In observation, it is especially necessary to see an event in a systematic and well-thought-out form with our own eyes as it happens. It has the following main features

  1. Impartiality: The observer can see his own eye.

He observes the incident with his eyes, nor does he investigate it thoroughly. His decision is not based on the judgment or sayings of others. A subtle and deep study of himself saves him from opinion.

  1. Spontaneity: One of the main features of observation is that it studies events. It is done at the time when it happens. In this way observation of natural events is lost. It becomes possible.

3, Use of Senses: Human senses are used in the observation method. Eyes, ears and speech can all be used in this. But more emphasis is given especially on the use of eyes. 4. Systematic and Deliberate Study: Observation is a method of systematic and deliberate study. In this, the observer himself compiles the facts by observing the events systematically and thoughtfully. He does not depend on the things said or heard by others.

  1. Collection of Primary Data: Primary data is to be obtained through observation method. The researcher himself goes to the field and conducts a direct study.

6..Minuteness: In the method of observation one does not only know how to see, but also has to do a deep and subtle study of the incident. Through careful study, he succeeds in achieving his goal, otherwise he wanders here and there.

  1. To find out the Cause – Effect Relationship: One of the main features of observation is to find out the cause – effect. The observer himself establishes the relationship between the necessary causes and consequences by observing the incident.
  2. Empirical Study: Observation is a method based on experience. Not based on imagination. Empirical study, whether of an institution or of a community, is very useful in social research.

Importance or merit of observational method

Observational method is the basis of all scientific investigations. Science started with observations only. Observation method has special importance in social research. This method can be derived from human behavior and social phenomenon as simple as not relying on it. It is able to reveal with this legality, no other method can do that much. This method can be understood in the dated form of values or multiplication

  1. Wider Use: Observation method is used in almost all types of sciences. John Madge wrote, “All modern science is rooted in observation.” going .
  2. Simplicity: Observation method is considered to be the simplest. With simple training one may be able to observe. Unlike other methods, there are not so many difficulties in its use. An ordinary person can also observe the phenomenon by using his senses. The observation of the phenomenon is the easiest by the use of human senses. , (8) Basis of Scientific Knowledge: Almost all scientists believe that observational gathering is the basis of scientific investigations. Science has started through observation only. Along with this, observation is also needed to test the veracity of theories. Any subject (discipline) which has to get the status of science, emphasizes the use of maximum observation. It is clear from the above description that observation method is considered to be a very important method of social research. A . Moser wrote, “Observation can . . . be a method of a very high order of scientific inquiry.”

  1. Direct Method of Study: In the observation method, the researcher himself can take stock of the situation by observing the events. Under this, the researcher does not have to remain dependent on the experiences and answers of the informant. Major says that the daily activities of the people Observation is capable of providing sociologists with the kind of facts that they can hardly reliably obtain by any other means. In this form, observation is most useful.
  2. Study of Natural Behaviour: It is possible to study human behavior in its natural state through the method of observation, which cannot be done by any other method. The reality which cannot be attained even through life history and deep interviews. that comes through observation.
  3. Intensive Study: Observation method helps in the explanation of the phenomenon with depth. The main reason for this is that the investigator himself remains present at the scene of the incident. At the same time, he does not only see the happenings, but also tries to understand the relations found between those events, in such a situation, deep study through observation becomes natural.
  4. Accuracy and Reliability: Information collected by observation method is more accurate and reliable than other methods. In other methods the researcher has to depend on the informant. The account of the incident heard may be wrong. But the incident which has been seen and tested by the observer himself, has the possibility of being wrong.

The feeling is not equal. This is the reason that the information obtained by this method is more accurate and reliable.

  1. Helpful in the Formation of Hypothesis: Many hypotheses of science have been born through the observations of events. Formulation of hypotheses is the first step in the scientific process. Observation method has special importance in this construction work. This is because the experience of the researcher increases with repeated observations. On the basis of this experience, it is possible to make hypotheses.

Limitations or Defects of Observational Method

(Limitations or Demerits of Observation Method)

  Observation method has a special importance in social research, yet this method has some limitations of its own. This method becomes flawed. Mentioning its limitations, P.V. Young has written. “All events do not provide independent opportunities for observation. All events that can be observed do not occur at the time when the observer is present, it is not possible to study all events at the expense of observational methods.” Thus the method of observation cannot be used in every situation. Its major defects or limitations can be understood as follows.

  1. Unsuitable for intangible events: Some events are intangible which cannot be observed. For example, the thoughts, beliefs, attitudes and values of individuals are such subjects which are not possible to be seen. Therefore, observation method proves inappropriate in the study of such problems.
  2. Possibility of opinion: In the study by observation method, the researcher is independent. The point of view of each person can be different in seeing the facts and events. The culture a person grows up in has an impact on his outlook. Therefore, the personal opinion of the researcher can affect the observed fact which is harmful for scientific research.
  3. Artificiality in Behaviour: It is generally found that the persons who are being observed, whenever they realize it, they deliberately try to exhibit artificial behaviour. In such a situation, it becomes difficult to study their real and natural behavior through observation.
  4. Illusive Observation: Observation depends on the use of eyes. But the description of the phenomenon seen by the eyes can be misleading. Most of the observation is done selectively. So an event that is important to one person may not be of any importance to another. Thus misleading observation is the defect of observational method.
  5. Time consuming and expensive method: The speed of study is slow in the observation method. Reliable inspection is not possible in haste. This takes a lot of time to study. Because of the time taken, the expenses are also high. Thus observation method has its own limitations or defects. Despite this, it is the initial and basic method of all types of research studies. Most of the scientific knowledge has been accumulated through this method. If the researcher uses this method with understanding and honesty, then its defects can be avoided.
  6. Observation is not allowed: Some incidents are such that the researcher is not allowed to observe them. For example, permission to observe the relationship between husband and wife in family life may not be given to the researcher. Thus it is difficult to study such phenomena by observation method.
  7. Uncertainty of events: There are some events which are uncertain. Study of such incidents is not possible by observational method. For example, the researcher wants to study the fighting in the college. It is possible that when the researcher is present in the college, the incident does not happen and when the researcher is not there, the incident happens.
  8. Study of past events is not possible: Through observation method, the researcher studies what he sees directly. That’s why the events that have happened or the situations that have arisen in the past cannot be studied by the method of observation.

types of observation method

(Types of Observation Method)

  The nature of observable social phenomena is diverse and complex. As a result, many forms of observation have been used in different situations in social research. Therefore, many types of observation are told. For the convenience of study, it can be understood as follows

(1) Uncontrolled Observation,

  (2) Controlled Observation,

  (3) Participant Observation,

(4) Non-Participant Observation,

(5) Quasi-Participant Observation

(6) Collective Observation.

  (1) Controlled Observation: Observer and observed in controlled observation. The social event that takes place is controlled. Various types of tools are used to control the observer, such as detailed planning of observation, use of schedule and questionnaire, use of map, use of field notes, diaries, photographs, camera and tape recorder etc. The conditions or factors that must be controlled in order to control a social phenomenon

Or goes which are to be observed. In this way, such an artificial environment is created in which the conditions or components remain the same.

  (2) Uncontrolled Observation: Natural and real life events are carefully studied in uncontrolled observation. Under this, efforts are made to see the events in the form in which they are happening. There is neither control over the observer nor over the event or situation. It has three forms –

(1) Participant observation,

(II) Non-participant observation and

(III) Semi-participant observation.

  (1) Participant Observation: It was first used by Lindemann in 1924. For the study through participant observation, the observer becomes a member of the group which is to be studied. Participates in the activities of the group and observes. There are two schools of thought regarding participation. First, according to American social scientists, keep your identity a secret from the observer. Second, according to Indian social scientists, one should not keep his introduction and study purpose a secret.

  (II) Non-Participant Observation: In non-participant observation, the observer neither becomes a temporary member of the community or group nor becomes a participant in its activities, observes the events like a neutral person and does not reach its depth. tries to

  (III) Quasi-Participant Observation: Quasi-participant observation is a combined form of participant and non-participant observation. In this type of observation, the observer participates in some of the activities of the community or group being studied and mostly observes it neutrally without participating.

  (3) Mass Observation: When the observation work is done collectively by many persons, then it is called mass observation. Under collective observation, there are many experts related to different subjects of an event. These experts submit their observed facts to a central person. The conclusion is drawn on the basis of those collected facts by that central person.

Observational methods have a long tradition in organizational research, and offer the promise of a ‘coarse description’ (Geertz, 1973) of what people ‘really’ do as opposed to what they say [action science]. We do. Although very few researchers support a theoretical notion that observation allows them to ‘see (and tell) it how it is’, there is a temptation to believe that observational research is based on real-world behaviours, events and observations. provides an unauthenticated window on the Having said that, the thoughtful and judicious use of observational methods provides one of the most effective methods for understanding what is happening in natural settings. Based on the degree of participation by the observer, observation can be classified as participant and non-participant.

Observational methods come in many forms, of which participant observation (q.v.) [field research] is perhaps the most widely known. Participant observation has traditionally been associated with anthropology and particularly with the Chicago School of Sociology.

Participant observation is a type of data collection method commonly used in qualitative research paradigms. It is a widely used method in many disciplines, especially cultural anthropology. Its purpose is to achieve close and intimate familiarity with a given group of individuals (such as a religious, occupational, subcultural group, or a particular community). practice through

An intense involvement with people in their cultural environment, typically over an extended period of time. The method originated in the urban research of social anthropologists, notably Bronisław Malinowski in Britain, the students of Franz Boas in the United States, and later the Chicago School of Sociology.

Participant observation was widely used in the late nineteenth century by Frank Hamilton Cushing in his study of the Zuni Indians, followed by people such as Bronislaw Malinowski, EE Evans-Pritchard, and Margaret Mead in their studies of non-Western societies. Was. First half of the twentieth century. It emerged as the dominant approach to ethnographic research by anthropologists and relied on the cultivation of personal relationships with local informants as a way of learning about a culture, which involved observing and participating in the social life of a group.

By living with the cultures they studied, the researchers were able to produce first-hand accounts of their lives and gain novel insights. This same method of study has also been applied to groups within Western society, and is particularly successful in the study of subcultures or groups sharing a strong sense of identity, where simply participating does not allow the observer to actually live. Can gain access to those being studied.

Such research includes well-defined, though variable, methods: informal interviewing, direct observation, participation in the life of the group, group discussion, analysis of individual documents produced within the group, self-analysis, motion taken

results from methods or online, and life-history. Although this method is generally described as qualitative research, it can (and often does) include quantitative dimensions. In participant observation, a researcher’s discipline-based interests and commitments shape what phenomena they observe. important and relevant to the research investigation. According to Howell (1972), the four stages that most participant observation research studies go through are

  • making connections or getting to know people,
  • Immerse yourself in the field,
  • recording data and observation,
  • and consolidate the collected information

Type of participant observation

Participant observation isn’t just showing up at a site and writing things down. In contrast, participant observation is a complex method consisting of several components. After deciding to conduct participant observation to collect data, a researcher or individual must first decide what type of participant observer he or she will be. Spradley offers five different types of participant observation

participant observation type

Type of participant observation Level of participation

No contact with non-participating population or study area

Passive participation The researcher is only in the role of an observer

Moderate Participatory Researcher maintains a balance between “insider” and “outsider” roles

Active participation The researcher becomes a member of the group by fully adopting the skills and customs for a full understanding

Full participation The researcher is fully integrated into the population already studied (i.e. he is already a member of the particular population studied).

non-participant observation

Non-participant, or direct, observation is where data is collected by observing behavior without interacting with participants. In this type of observation, the researcher does not actually participate in the activities of the group being studied. He will be present in the group simply to note down the behavior of the respondents. The researcher does not make any attempt to influence or create a relationship between himself and the group.

Although this method implies non-participation, it should not be understood as a complete or total lack of participation. In fact, there may be no non-participant observation of a group.

The advantage of this method is that the researcher can maintain a purely unbiased position and be free from factionalism. He can adopt a scientific approach and look at events from that point of view. But the biggest problem with this method is that the group members (i.e. those under observation) may be suspicious of the presence of the researcher and therefore may not exhibit their natural behaviour. Furthermore, under non-participatory observation, the observer can observe only those activities that take place in front of him. Unless he has actively participated with the group, he fails to understand them in a proper sequence.

Limitations of any participant observation

  • Recorded observations about a group of people or event will never be a complete description.
  • As mentioned earlier, this is due to the selective nature of any type of recordable data process: it is inevitably influenced by the researchers’ personal beliefs about what is relevant and important.
  • It also plays

analysis of the collected data; The researcher’s worldview certainly influences how he or she interprets and evaluates the data.


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