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ERIC Number: ED142452
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1977-Apr
Pages: 53
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
The Ethnography of Controversy: An Analysis of the Abortion and Salvaging of a Research Project.
Whitehead, Tony Larry
This paper presents an ethnographic analysis of a controversial research project, the Putaney Study, as an argument for the involvement of anthropologists in research that is perceived to be potentially controversial. A research team from Putaney University initiated a research project to document the fertility attitudes and practices of 600 employed male heads of households receiving financial aid to dependent children (ADCU) from the Warsaw County Office of Public Assistance. The rationale for the paper is that a study of the factors which led to the success or failure of a particular research project can sometimes be as valuable as the data that the research was designed to collect. The ethnographic techniques of participant observation, taking detailed notes of events observed, and studying the whole as an integrated system of interacting parts, are well suited for such a study. The term "system" refers not to the structural subsystems of a project, but rather to the ideological ones which can cut across these subsystems. These ideologies can potentially lead to four levels of conflict which are analyzed in separate sections of the paper. The conclusion is that, to avoid opposition, ideological congruence must be attained within the research team and cooperation gained from the study population. If the latter process is successful, the potential opposition from other structural groups might be dramatically reduced. (Author/KC)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: N/A
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New York, New York, April 3-8, 1977)