Ethnographer Bias in Cross-Cultural Research: An Empirical Study

Ronald P. Rohner, Billie R. Dewalt, Robert C. Ness

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    29 Scopus citations


    We direct attention in this paper to the problem of ethnographer bias (i.e. systematic errors occurring in the ethnographic reporting process) in cross-cultural research, and therefore in ethnographic fieldwork itself. Using multiple regression and other multivariate statistics, we assess the influence of ethnographer bias on the correlation between traits in the cross-cultural survey component of Rohner's Rejection-Acceptance Project (RAP). These procedures suggest a systematic ethnographer error, “the bias of romanticism,” in anthropological research. Overall, however, the relationships among substantive variables in this research cannot be ex plained by this bias or by other forms of systematic error plaguing cross-cultural research. Thus in the absence of a successful competing theory, we conclude that all but one of the universal causal-functional relation ships postulated in Rohner's theory are validated.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)275-308
    Number of pages34
    JournalCross-Cultural Research
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - Nov 1973

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Anthropology
    • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
    • Psychology (miscellaneous)


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