He lived with them and learned their culture firsthand His practice of living

He lived with them and learned their culture

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Americans in the Pacific Northwest. He lived with them and learned their culture firsthand. His practice of living with the people he was studying rather than studying them from afar separated him from many of his peers. At that time, a number of anthropologists were "armchair philosophers" and adventurous travelers. Such anthropologists viewed the people they studied as curiosities rather than investing the time to learn their culture and develop relationships with them. Although not all anthropologists were biased, the discipline needed more, well, discipline. Boas brought that discipline with him when he began studying anthropology. He had been academically trained in the study of the natural sciences. Boas therefore had a distinct mindset that anthropology must be conducted with the same discipline and ethics as fields of science. For him, empirical study (study conducted through direct observation and objective description) was a necessary part of authentic anthropology. He threw out the practice common to many anthropologists before him of creating a theory prior to conducting research (which often resulted in results skewed to support the researcher's initial assumptions).
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