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Data and the Anthropologist: Could you be using your anthropology skills in a more data centric role?

The Geek Anthropologist

By Astrid Countee

When people think of quantitative analytics, big data, and statistics, they rarely picture an anthropologist. The truth is that although our discipline is well known for gathering qualitative data, anthropologists are trained to understand all kinds of data. In many graduate anthropology programs, the required research methods course includes lots of statistics and methods for making sense of quantitative data.

While anthropology may be more social science than science, most of us learn how to implement the scientific method, gather both qualitative and quantitative data, and perform mixed-methods analysis. Even if your anthropological study falls more on the qualitative side, it is inevitable that your dataset is still a mix of both qualitative and quantitative data. Yet many of those calling ourselves practicing anthropologists tend to associate our skills as best fit for qualitative research only, forgetting that we are also trained in quantitative data analysis…

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