Mahler's Fieldwork

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorUniversity, Bachelor's March 2001

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Mahler's Approaches to the Steps of Anthropological Research The introduction to American Dreaming by Sarah J. Mahler was extremely interesting. It was hard to stop and thing about the five steps to anthropological research because Mahler"˜s points where so interesting. The first step to anthropological research is choosing a research problem. Finding Mahler's approach to this was not as easy as I thought it would be. At first, the problem I thought she wanted to present was the ways immigrants treated each other, even when from the same culture. As I read on, Mahler also seemed to say allot about the reason for migration to suburbs rather than inner cities. It was very confusing for me trying to figure out what the research problem was. Moving on to the second step, Mahler decided to conduct her research in Long Island. Her reasons for this, was basically the groups of immigrants that were accessing Long Island as there new home.

I think the most interesting part of this whole process is finding the informants for the research. This is when Mahler began the fourth step in the research process, she started interacting with immigrants and finding places that would be of help to her. I thought her approach was very successful in gaining information from individuals. Going to ESL classes was a great idea and definitely gave her the access she needed to immigrant life. Mahler used this connection to collect information through questionnaires and interviews. In order to use these people for information she had to approach the topics very carefully and form a friendship with many strangers. She was definitely successful in doing so. The last and final step is analyzing and interpreting all of the information and data she collected to come to a conclusion. The four steps leading up to this makes an anthropologist successful or unsuccessful in concluding their studies. From what I have read so far her approaches to each of the steps is a good start to answering her research problem. Hopefully I have the right understanding of the fieldwork process and have shown how Mahler has gone about completing each of her tasks so far.