Laura Fortunato
Department of Anthropology
University College London
14, Taviton Street
London WC1H OBW, UK
What is the EDP?
The EDP is a web-based tool for the collection of comparative ethnographic data. It allows anthropologists to enter data about their field research using a set of standard codes developed for cross-cultural application.
At present, the codes included in the EDP relate to a society’s organisation, kinship and marriage practices, subsistence economy, and pattern of sexual division of labour. You can view a sample version of the EDP here.
About the EDP
What is cross-cultural research?
Cross-cultural research is the study of variation in culture and behaviour across human groups. Cross-cultural researchers use a variety of statistical methods to analyse comparative ethnographic data; the data are often derived from ethnographic datasets such as the Ethnographic Atlas [1] and the Standard Cross-Cultural Sample [2], collated using information available in the ethnographic record.
The EDP aims to complement the existing ethnographic datasets by: (i) obtaining data directly from anthropologists who conducted field research in the societies of interest, (ii) using standard codes developed for cross-cultural application, (iii) expanding the range of societies for which coded ethnographic data are available. Thanks to its web-based interface, the EDP can be easily distributed to anthropologists in any country.
  1. 1. ^ Murdock, G. P. (1986) Ethnographic Atlas. World Cultures, 2(4).
  2. 2. ^ Murdock, G. P. & White, D. R. (1969) Standard Cross-Cultural Sample. Ethnology, 8(4), 329-369.
  3. 3. ^ Mace, R. & Pagel, M. (1994) The comparative method in anthropology. Current Anthropology, 35(5), 549-564.
  4. 4. ^ Dyen, I., Kruskal, J. B. & Black, P. (1992) An Indoeuropean classification: a lexicostatistical experiment. Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, 82(5), 1-132.
How can I contribute to the EDP?
You can contribute to the EDP by entering data from your field research. You can also contribute by suggesting other potential contributors, and by letting potential contributors know about this project. Click here to view a list of EDP contributors.
The data you contribute will be made freely available on this website exclusively for the purpose of cross-cultural research. Please use the contact form if you would like to contribute to the EDP, or to suggest potential contributors. You can also use this form to contact us with any comments or queries about this project.
Last updated 28 December 2007
© Laura Fortunato
Which societies are included in the EDP?
The first stage of the EDP includes societies speaking Indo-European languages, which are underrepresented in the existing ethnographic datasets. By matching comparative ethnographic with comparative linguistic data, researchers can apply sophisticated analytical methods [3], which greatly improve the accuracy of cross-cultural studies.
The societies included in the first stage of the EDP speak languages for which comparative linguistic data are available in the comparative Indo-European database [4]. We welcome contributions from researchers who have conducted fieldwork in societies speaking these languages (or variants such as local dialects); click here to browse the languages by name, by country, and by language phylum.