Anthropology and Data Science need each other

One reason why I sometimes call myself a Data Anthropologist

I stumbled across this brilliant article (Anthropology and data science need each other) while I was looking for something else. It was written two years ago by Schaun Wheeler (Here is his Twitter profile) and it is brimful of insight. For example, he wrote:

What I have always found compelling about anthropology is its emphasis on ethnography as a research method. "Ethnography" itself is a poorly-defined concept, but generally it entails non-fleeting participation, ideally immersion, in a particular environment to produce a description that is both recognizable to people familiar with that environment and intelligible to people unfamiliar with it.

I like the way this idea chimes with what Nick Tordoff and I have been saying in our Data Conversations workshop. Immersion is one of the four stages in the Clarify process, which is a key part of trying to understand the world of managers and clinicians so that data analysts can reflect back to them a meaningful description of that world using data.