Something that I've been struggling with in the course of developing my thesis has been the concept of emic and etic and where my thesis experience fits into this binary positioning. For the unfamiliar, these terms come from the field of cultural anthropology, and refer to the positioning of the investigator, or in this case, thesis-er, with respect to the population that he or she is investigating. The form of investigation can take many forms, and in my case, the investigation that I'm in the process of completing is design. There are many dichotomies that can be used to position the two terms relative to each other: insider-outsider; cultural-scientific; subjective-objective. An emic account is one that is observed from within the culture, within the subject of observation. An emic observer brings into play the biases and cultural norms inherent in the very object of study. By contrast, an etic account describes the object of study from without, with a very deliberate aim of describing things impartially, as they are, sans bias.