ERIC Number: ED150082
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1977
Reference Count: 0
Anthropologists and Policy-Relevant Research: The Case for Accountability.
Freeman, Milton M. R.
Anthropology research should be relevant to public policy formation. If anthropologists continue to produce research which reflects a "detached observer" perspective, their studies will not enjoy widespread credibility. The use of policy-relevant anthropology (applied anthropology) will depend in large part on the efforts of anthropologists toward making their value biases and research documentation public. One area in which social relevance is particularly clear is ecological anthropology. This relevance is exemplified by widespread public concern over wilderness, recreation areas, rights of native peoples, and depletion of natural resources. Anthropologists can contribute to policy formation by critically approaching an issue, objectively evaluating the data, and providing information to policy makers. A case in point is a 1973 controversy between an Inuit Indian community and an oil company consortium over exploration rights on Bathurst Island, Canada. In this situation, anthropologists re-evaluated evidence relating to ecological damage and provided documentation to policy makers. The conclusion is that anthropologists share the responsibility of all scientists to create an informed public opinion and to undertake research in accordance with this objective. Conversely, anthropologists should avoid endorsement of policy-relevant issues prior to adequate scientific study of the problem. (Author/DB)
Descriptors: Accountability, Anthropology, Bias, Data Analysis, Data Collection, Decision Making, Evaluation, Information Needs, Intellectual Disciplines, Knowledge Level, Literature Reviews, Policy Formation, Productive Thinking, Public Opinion, Research Needs, Research Problems, Research Skills, Research Utilization, Scientific Attitudes, Scientific Research, Social Change, Social Science Research, Use Studies, Values
Publication Type: Books
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Reprinted from "Applied Anthropology in Canada", Proceedings No. 4, pp. 139-166