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    Comparison of the Fieldwork Methodologies of Bronislaw Malinowski and Purnima Mankekar

    Number of Pages: 6


    Summary of the research paper:

    This 6 page paper discuses how Bronislaw Malinowski's field-work methods, for anthropology and ethnography, with the Trobriand Islanders differed from Purnima Mankekar’s field work methods in India. The bibliography cites 4 sources.

    Name of Research Paper File: TS14_TEMalinowski.rtf

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    is only when boundaries are pushed by that great discoveries can be made that will add to the understanding of the topic. When looking at anthropology and ethnography two names  stand out as pushing the boundaries in terms of the way fieldwork too place. Bronislaw Malinowski and Purnima Mankekar undertook their research three quarters of a century apart, and using  very different methods but each used a fieldwork methodology that could be seen as innovative. By looking at their methods and comparing them the value of each can be appreciated.  Malinowski may be seen as interesting as when he started out his methodology was to rely on the primary research of others, using surveys and reports that had been  put together by travellers such as missionaries or government officials located overseas (Ember and Ember, 2002, Womack, 1997). The usual method of study of natives by other anthropologist when they  undertook fieldwork was to have them brought into offices at colonial outposts and use interpreters in order to understand the interviews (Ember and Ember, 2002). Malinowski realised this  was a flawed methodology and it was this recognition that lead to his unique approach and use of an immersed approach and the development of the functionalist approach in social  sciences. When developing his methodology he considered the flaws of the existing approaches and argued that to understand the native population being studied it would be necessary to learn  the language, eliminating the need for an interpreter and also to study the natives in their natural environment by living with them, this was extremely radical at the time and  was to become known as participant observation (Ember and Ember, 2002). This approach for ethnographic fieldwork was developed when he was undertaking his work with the Trobriand Islands initially 

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