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What it Takes: Educating Students to Excel in a Growing Anthropological Market

Reisinger HS. What it Takes: Educating Students to Excel in a Growing Anthropological Market. Paper presented at: Society for Applied Anthropology Annual Meeting; 2012 Mar 31; Baltimore, MD.


Over the past decade of working in health-focused academic, non-profit, and government research centers, I have witnessed a growth not only in demand for ethnographic research, but also familiarity with the methods among the research scientists at the centers. With this familiarity has come more career opportunities for all levels of anthropology students, but also more specific and refined expectations of necessary training. The challenge is anthropology students are not always well-trained for the growing demand in health services research. This presentation reflects on the education anthropologists need to be successful in this growing field from my perspective as a fellow anthropologist working in one of those centers-and as someone who has the responsibility of hiring anthropologists at the center. For me, this education goes beyond requisite methodological skills in interviewing, observation, and coding, but must include command of an "anthropological perspective" and opportunities to grapple with ethical dilemmas and critical and social theory.

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