How to Stay Unbiased in an Ethnographic Study

Sep 04

Ethnography refers to the science that seeks to comprehend the customs and belief systems of the existing cultures, and that its research is the method of studying these cultures. While the traditional ethnographers study nonindustrial cultures, the modern ones do take an interest in exploring the modern post industrial cultures. However, the techniques of ethnographic fieldwork come with several challenges to the goal of offering an objective view of a particular culture. Usually, all information is filtered through the researcher’s notions, personal biases intrinsic to the theoretical point of reference, social status, research strategy, and individual background.

Such a bias is a great threat to the integrity of the study or research, which is a self-triggered fault caused due to indecent procedures and basis on personal beliefs. Although it is almost impossible to eradicate bias completely from ethnographic study paper, there are many variables to consider for keeping at the minimum.

You need to start by determining the types of biases that can affect your research integrity apart from considering your personal beliefs. Although there can be many biases to watch out for, you need to find out the ones to which your research is vulnerable. For instance, if your research paper is on Judaism and you are including some interviews given by its followers, chances are that you may be unable to offer fully representative information on all possible experiences. You may also be very selective in collecting the information by ignoring the counter evidence due to commitment to a theoretical direction. Therefore, you need to be honest with your own opinions and keep an eye on them to catch their control on your research.

Consider including more number of samples to avoid bias that occurs when a researcher over-adds or omits some kind of information. This actually deviates from the facts. Therefore, try to include larger and diverse samples.

It usually helps to acknowledge the bias present in your research. Apart from adding as many variables as possible to reduce the bias effect, you need to comprehend that it is almost impossible to present a 100% biased-free paper, irrespective of how well you try. Therefore, reduce the effects of bias by admitting as the shortcoming of the study in the research paper. Doing so also gives extra credibility to your study.

Go the language bias pointed out by someone who can respond spontaneously and is not involved in the research. It is hard for you to see this bias on your own, so let others can look over your language for biased phrasing.

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