Ceding Control, and Gaining Freedom: Anthropological Research in the Real World

Anthony P. Glascock*

Ceding Control, and Gaining Freedom: Anthropological Research in the Real World. Once I started conducting anthropological research with non-academics, I lost control over almost every aspect of the research endeavor. I could make suggestions, but the final say was in the hands of people at the organization or company.

The real benefit of not having to search for funding was the time I gained. Not only did I not have to write proposals,
and then rewrite them, but there was no longer that interminable delay between getting the idea for a research project, writing the proposal and waiting for the funding, if it came, in order to start the research. It is not correct to say that I completely gave up, because I’m still advocating for more academic researchers to get out of the safe, controlled environs of the university and apply their skills in the real world of care provision; but it is a hard sell.

I think that 2 things drive me to this work: freedom; and trying to make a difference. In a strange way, the
freedom that I experience engaging in this non-academic research is the result of me giving up a quest for control.

I’m free from trying to please granting agencies, negotiating with the university’s IRB, stoking the egos of my
co-PIs and other academic researchers, running after money to support a large academic research structure and, perhaps most importantly, free from waiting around to get the money and receive the permission that allows me to start collecting the data. From my perspective these benefits far outweigh the need to cede control and this is before I add in the second reason for my willingness to go so far from the boat: my work can and actually
has helped improve the delivery of care.

Anthropol Open J. 2016; 2(1): 10-14. doi: 10.17140/ANTPOJ-2-107