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Genealogical Method in Sociological Research

The genealogical method is part of the sociological research though it is used more by the anthropologists. Its main purpose lies in kinship studies which is important field in any social-cultural research. Genealogical method refers to systematic narration or description of family tree showing all the ramifications of kinship linkages, kinship terms, various kinship usages and succession etc.

Genealogical method is used to learn about many societies which preserver their local culture and traditions. It is important for the researcher to interpret these keeping local perspective in mind. The data collected through genealogical method also throw light on the demographic and settlement patterns of the group or society under study. Genealogical information also includes the names of the members of the group, kinship relations between the living as well as the deceased members, their age, marital status and so on.

The conventional way of deriving information through the genealogical method is through the ego, a person chosen by the researcher as the main source of information through which the kinship relations are traced and family tree constructed. Ego is the designated point of reference on a kinship chart. This ego gives all the relevant information. The most significant aspect of genealogical method is that most of the information is through few individuals ( ego).The ego should be a senior or elderly member of the group who will be in position to provide cultural data spread over a substantial period of time. The researcher is required to create good rapport with the respondents through an efficient impression management. Despite limitations in this method, genealogical method has proved its immense utility in anthropological research and the related social sciences have also adopted it as an important tool of collecting data of a particular nature. Along with participant observation ,genealogical method is considered as distinctive features of anthropological network.


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