1. The first step is wording your hypothesis carefully—what anthropological fact or trend are you seeking to document or to disprove?
2.The next step is separating out the “static” from the inquiry—because social studies covers all human traits, you must design your inquiry to eliminate false reports, such as intelligence or race or economic status. In other words, make sure your questions on the questionnaire or in the interview have nothing to do with those human traits not a part of your inquiry (This is, for example, the complaint of IQ tests—that language-driven questionnaires do not take into account ethnicity, nationality, etc., and therefore are not accurate measurements of intelligence quotient, while physical problem-solving is free from ethnic bias).
- The next step in your preparing your inquiry is to insure equality of test conditions—same time of day, same pre-test nourishment, same minimal distractions, same or equitable venues? etc. (For example, a questionnaire involving tasting food sample cannot change times of day for each participant.)
- How detailed is your data questionnaire to be? And how long can you count on the participants” attention?
- The next preparation step involves the transformation of data into measurable quantities—a scale of 1 to 10? A “good-better-best” scale? How will the data be evaluated? What will work best for your hypothesis? A simple “yes-no” questionnaire, in which each question must be answered absolutely? Or an opportunity to comment—and how will those comments be incorporated into your data bank?
- Finally, how will your results be expressed? “Nine out of ten respondents…” “Most people agree that…” “There is statistical evidence that…”?