'In a paper published in Australian Aboriginal Studies, Bob Reece (2007:54) explains his purpose in writing about Daisy Bates:
'My purpose here is not to rehabilitate Bates as an ethnographer…As an historian, I see it as my ultimate task to make available from her extensive correspondence sufficient of her own writings for people to make up their minds about her motivation and beliefs, and about what kind of person she really was.
'He charts her early life in Ireland, arrival and work in Australia, her interest in Aboriginal peoples and her consequent development as a fieldworker (a self-taught anthropologist), and her final days working as a journalist in Adelaide. Reece makes the assertion that she was the first to undertake intensive participant/observer fieldwork, which became the template for modern anthropological fieldwork. (This is contested by the work of AC Haddon in the Torres Strait in 1898, and Baldwin Spencer in Central Australia in the 1890s). She is described as not engaging in theory, just stating the facts as she witnessed them — empiricism at its most pure. In response to a criticism by JB Cleland that she was misled by informants who provided the answers that they thought she wanted, Reece defends her: it ‘is hardly a convincing accusation against a highly experienced field worker who was perfectly aware of the hazard’ (p.88). Her unsubstantiated arguments about the existence of wholesale cannibalism among the desert people seems to seriously undermine his defence.' (Introduction)