Best Practices for Anthropologists

This entry is part 3 of 6 in the Applying Best Practices section

A best practice is a method, technique, or procedure shown by research and experience to produce optimal results or a standard way of doing things based on evidence and common agreement.  To date, anthropological best practices have mostly been implicit in our education and training.  It is time to make them explicit.

These best practices represent a resource for conceptualizing issues, applying a problem-solving orientation, and identifying, testing, and implementing opportunities for change.  Inspired by human rights and social justice along with scientific approaches, we should seek to serve the diversity of humanity and foster decisions benefitting organizations and groups equally and equitably.  This effort is a “living document” that will evolve with changes in our perspectives on our work. We welcome your feedback and reflections in the space provided on this web page.

The best practices are divided into three sections, broadly covering the major activities in which most anthropologists are engaged. Many items are not exclusive to anthropology but are nonetheless fundamental to applying anthropology successfully. Also, the sections are not mutually exclusive due to the variation in scope of our duties and responsibilities. The first section, Building Trust with Stakeholders, covers most issues faced by anthropologists in most professional circumstances. The second section, Enhancing Operational, Organizational, and Management Effectiveness, is relevant for anthropologists who are working primarily in internal organizational roles. The third section, Protecting Research Participants, Clients, and Ourselves is focused on anthropological research contexts. Following these three sections are References by different areas of practice and General Resources on practice.