An increasing number of anthropologists are involved in policy studies, studies which aim to change or to affect decision making with respect to important public issues. Characteristics of these studies are highlighted in contrast to traditional research assumptions given in the anthropological literature. It is the author's contention that research using traditional anthropological methods and techniques must be changed to accommodate policy studies. The boundaries within which anthropologists work are set by certain characteristics of policy studies: the duration of research, the requirement explicitly to assess future events, the fact that the conduct and format of policy research are largely determined by consumers rather than anthropologists, and the need to use measurement to supply objective verification of recommendations. Experience suggests that policy studies call for anthropologists with a commitment to public-service ideals rather than more narrow academic values. If this is true, what are the consequences for graduate training?
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