Published online by Cambridge University Press: 26 October 2011
Before setting out to search for the research many prior decisions had to be taken. There was a need to fix the territory, identify the language of the literature to be surveyed, define the framework of time, and decide the sources that would be tapped. Decisions had to be taken about what to collect, how much to look for, and where to explore. While a roster can be drawn and an itinerary customised, some decisions could only be taken while in the field.
Delimiting the Territory
India was picked as the spatial unit for study. The political map of the world defines the territorial extent of this country as covering an area of 3.29 million square kilometres. Lying entirely in the northern hemisphere, the mainland measures 3214 kilometres from north to south between the latitudes and about 2933 kilometres from east to west between the longitudes. The Indian subcontinent was partitioned in 1947. For ensuring compatibility, the boundaries of present day India were superimposed on the pre-partition map and references to Pakistan or Bangladesh were excluded. Any research that made peripheral or incidental reference to India was omitted. Therefore, works at the global scale or even concerning Asia or South Asia were set aside. The selection was strictly confined to references centred on India.
Selecting the Language
Research can be written and communicated in many languages. Of these, English was singled out as the language for this research.