The following appeared in an article written by Dr. Karp, an anthropologist.

“Twenty years ago, Dr. Field, a noted anthropologist, visited the island of Tertia and concluded from his observations that children in Tertia were reared by an entire village rather than by their own biological parents. However, my recent interviews with children living in the group of islands that includes Tertia show that these children spend much more time talking about their biological parents than about other adults in the village. This research of mine proves that Dr. Field’s conclusion about Tertian village culture is invalid and thus that the observation-centered approach to studying cultures is invalid as well. The interview-centered method that my team of graduate students is currently using in Tertia will establish a much more accurate understanding of child-rearing traditions there and in other island cultures.”

Write a response in which you discuss what specific evidence is needed to evaluate the argument and explain how the evidence would weaken or strengthen the argument.

The anthropologist asserts that anthropologists must observe cultures through interviews rather than through observation. He claims that his interviews are a more accurate way of studying Tertian culture but fails to give any specifics to support his claim. The anthropologist claims that Dr. Field’s research is invalid because his team uses interviews instead of observation, leading to many problems.

Firstly, the anthropologist’s theory implies that observation is a waste of time because it is impossible to understand how culture works without making observations. However, without interviews, the anthropologist would have no idea what his subjects said. This would not be the case because anthropologists study language, which reveals a great deal about a culture. While studying the culture of Tertia, the anthropologist could ask his subjects questions such as the following: “Do you talk to your biological parents?” “How do you talk to your biological parents?” or “In what way is your biological mother different from your stepmother?” The answers to these questions would reveal a great deal about Tertian children.

The anthropologist states that interviews provide more accurate information about a culture than observations do. However, this assumes that interviews are the only way to gain precise information about a culture. Interviews are indeed an essential source of information for anthropologists, but sometimes ethnographic research includes observations. For instance, when Dr. Field went to Tertia, he noticed that local children appeared to be unfriendly. While interviewing Tertian children, he observed that most avoided eye contact. This led him to conclude that Tertian children had a negative attitude toward strangers. However, if Dr. Field had interviewed adults who lived in the same village, he would have learned that no one considered Tertian children unfriendly. The people of Tertia would disagree with the idea that they dislike strangers.

Furthermore, interviews only provide information about people’s attitudes in Tertia, not about the Tertian culture itself. Therefore, the anthropologist should present evidence to back up his claim that the ethnographic approach does not provide an accurate picture of Tertian culture.

Secondly, the anthropologist states that interviews would reveal more details about child-rearing traditions in Tertia than the ethnographic approach would. However, it is also true that interviews can reveal a great deal about a culture. To show that interviews provide a more accurate picture of Tertian culture, the anthropologist would need to show that the interviews reveal details about Tertian customs that observation would not. For instance, if Dr. Field had interviewed several Tertian adults, he would have learned which foods are considered acceptable to eat during Tertian festivals. This would have been valuable information for Dr. Field since he would have known which foods to prepare when he ate in Tertia. However, if Dr. Field had not conducted interviews, he would have had no way of knowing which foods would be appropriate.

The anthropologist’s argument that interviews are more accurate than observation is flawed for several reasons. First, the anthropologist provides no evidence for his claim that interviews offer a more accurate picture of culture than observations do. Second, he assumes that interviews are the only way to learn about a culture. This is not true, and observations are an essential part of ethnographic research. If the anthropologist wants to show that interviews are the best way to learn about Tertian culture, he should explain how interviews provide more information than observation would. However, this cannot be done because interviews with Tertians can give information about Tertian culture, and observations cannot. Finally, the anthropologist’s claim that interviews provide details about Tertian culture that observation would not is unproven and irrelevant. The anthropologist does not explain why interviews are more accurate than observation. The interviews are used only to support the idea that observation is not the best way to learn about a culture.