ARCHAEOLOGICAL RESEARCH DESIGN  About Research Designs

- a set of instructions or strategies for archaeological problem-solving - intended to clarify goals and guide procedures of a research project - emphasis on RD, an outgrowth of processual archaeology (in Culture History archaeology, RD was usually implicit -- determine chronological sequence of region or site) - RD is now critical to research-based archaeology (no funding without it), and to CRM archaeology, where issues of cost-effectiveness at stake - in research archaeology: how will you solve the problem? - in CRM: how will you solve the problem cheaply? - RD serves 3 functions: 1. delimit research goals and clarify research questions -- ie., a clear statement of the problem 2. outline basic procedures for solving the problem, often through trial formulation, pilot studies 3. minimize error through appropriate measuring, sampling etc. 

Research Design from A to Z

- basic elements of RD: 1. statement of the research problem(s); what is the research about? 2. development of a model of the systemic context 3. deduction of testable propositions 4. statement of methods (field and lab) 5. discussion of how results will be disseminated 

1. What is Your Problem, Man?

- problem statement orients the research; most obvious but most difficult part of RD - good problem statement should show theoretical relevence (how the case study links to a larger archaeological issue) - problem should solveable (in at least one lifetime!); bad problem: what are the effects of the environment on sociocultural change? -- too vague, too open-ended, won=t get funded - types of research problems (a partial list): 1. cross-cultural studies -- search for cultural regularities by comparing several cultures, using ethnographic and/or archaeological data - usually relational studies involving two or more variables (eg., degree of sedentism, degree of food storage) - often geared to dealing with Abig theory@ problems - inexpensive research, usually does not involve fieldwork - biggest problem: reliability of existing data drawn from many sources 2. archaeological case studies -- most common, by far; involves intensively examining one case study of a larger problem

how will data be measured...may be used to refute conventional wisdom about the larger problem. ethnoarchaeological study -.biggest problem: demonstating relevence of the case study 3. 69) . then B storage)) usually require nominal scale data.problems: is the static worth knowing about (is it an important archaeological pattern)? . interval (data have the property of distance).eg. nominal scale places data into categories (present. D+D. bottom p.RD should specify the kind of data appropriate to solving the research problem (ie. 69) .using deduction. using a version of DHA (relational analogy) .simulation modeling (eg. moves research design from description of systemic context to archaeological patterns it produced (eg. absent.does more than one dynamic produce the same static?  Developing a Model . etc.modeling is often based on existing anthropological theory (eg.Aproblems of correlation@ (increase in A (distance between sites) leads to increase or decrease in B ceramic stylistic similarity)) require ordinal or interval data . how it functioned (describes the >dynamic=. p.. eg.. red. systemic variable states are changed through several iterations  Hypothesis Formulation and Testing .certain research problems often Adictate@ the kind of data required .usually a case study aimed at linking dynamic to static . D+D.. blue.should also make clear operating assumptions -.attempts to describe what the cultural system looked like. but without doing ethnoarchaeology . what will we make observations on) . modeling may also invoke ethnographic record.scale possibilities include: nominal (present/absent).conditions that underly the model. Awomen made the pots@)  Measuring the Data .model operationalizes theory with repsect to particular research problem.. Aproblems of association@ (if A (agriculture). length:width = 2:1) . especially relevent to archaeological case studies . Ahunter-gatherers do not have economic specialization@ .. we assume their existence without further testing (eg. ordinal (data can be ranked). and ratio (allows comparison of two variables.) . according to what scale? . climatic conditions have not changed in past 5000 years@. linear programming) sometimes used.. eg..in archaeological case studies.

descriptive statistics .two types: 1. once measurements have been made . Describing the Data . description of pattern in the sample of actual observations -.an attempt to look for systematic patterns in the data set.

inferential statistics reason from sample description (a statistic) to population description (a parameter)..2. what are the chances that the sample drawn accurately reflects the population? . using principles of probability.what audiences should results be presented to? .RD should specify how research results will be reported (ie.inferential statistics . etc. description of pattern in the larger universe from which sample is drawn -. you must learn to write good) .RD should discuss how data will be collected .inferential statistics require random sampling (eg.) describe general properties of sample . random. ie.allow us to generalize from specific cases -.producing empirical generalizations (hypothesis formation)  Sampling the Data .different kinds of sampling: judgemental. systematic.. can we infer projectile point length at a site if we only recover from refuse midden?)  Dissemination of Results . stratified .descriptive statistics (mean..inferential statistics are critical to process of induction -. median. range.

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