Anthropological research Assignment | Top Essay Writing

In the paper, students describe how anthropologists study culture and critically and creatively discuss ways anthropological research can be applied to resolving social and global problems (e.g., health, nutrition, land-use, agriculture, climate change, inequality, and ethnic conflict). Finally, students will reflect on how learning about the human past and diverse cultures in this course has influenced the way they understand their own culture and place in the world.

Your paper should address the following:

How do anthropologists study culture? What do anthropologists from the different subfields study? How do they study it? Think about the specific methods they use and the types of materials or data they study. The Gonzalez textbook should be a good source for this, but you are welcome to use any of the sources we cover in the course, on the list of suggested sources, or academic sources you find on your own.
How is anthropological research applied to resolving social and global problems? Discuss at least 3 examples of how anthropological research has been used to address social or global problems (e.g., health, nutrition, land-use, agriculture, climate change, inequality, and ethnic conflict). I provide a long list of sources you can start with (the Dettwyler book is also a great example), but I recommend finding others with a librarian or on your own. You can cover just one topic (such as climate change), or provide examples of many different fields to which anthropological research can contribute. Email me if you want help finding sources on a particular topic.
How has learning about the human past and diverse cultures influenced how you think about your own culture and your place in the world? Reflect on what you have learned in this course, and how it has affected how you think about American culture and America’s role in the world, and your role in the world.
Finally: Turn your paper into a coherent argument. Start with a thesis sentence about the value of anthropological research in relation to social and global issues. Describe what anthropologists do. Discuss several examples of how anthropological research has been applied to social and global problems. Finish with your reflections and conclusions about the value of anthropological research to social and global problems, innovative ways of applying the anthropological perspective, as well as to your own understanding of American culture and your place in the world. Be sure to cite each source within the text as well as including them in the bibliography.

Learn to tell the difference between academic publishers and the popular press. For example, Wikipediais increasingly popular, but understand that anyone can add or edit entries! You might scope out what it has to say to get you started, but you should not use Wikipedia as a source in your writing, and always double check any information found in it. This is not to say that you may never use information found in the popular press—as some research will require you to read magazines or newspapers or blogs to answer the research question. For this course, your final project topic will require you to focus on ACADEMIC SOURCES.

What do we mean by ACADEMIC SOURCES?

Academic sources are those that are written by experts on the subject, and that have been reviewed by other experts in the field. This “peer review” means that other people who are familiar with previous scholarship and accepted methods, have reviewed a piece of research and agree that the author has conducted the research well and that the author’s interpretations are warranted by the data they collected. When doing academic (or any!) research, we want to know that we are getting accurate information, not just the ideas of Joe Schmoe. After all, we want to know the person is more qualified to talk on the subject that we are!

Ways to identify ACADEMIC SOURCES:

Find out what the author’s credentials are. You can do this by googling them, finding their page on the website for the university/college they work at, and reviewing their resume, Curriculum Vitae, or list of publications. The publications should be peer-reviewed.

For books, look at the publisher. Is it an Academic Press? (Examples include Oxford University Press, University of Alabama Press, University of Florida Press)

For journals, you can look at the publisher’s website to find out if they are peer-reviewed. (Examples include American Antiquity, World Archaeology, American Anthropologist, Cultural Anthropology)

For websites, check their web address. They should be affiliated with an educational institution—URL ends in .edu (for example, University of Florida), a professional organization—URL ends in .org (for example, Anthropological Association of America, Society for American Archaeology—and you can find links to major anthropological professional organizations under Handouts and Web Links), or governmental agency or branch—URL ends in .gov (for example, the CDC).

Steps to doing Research:

  • Identify your topic. Read the Final Topic Assignment so you know what types of topics are appropriate. Review the Generalized Outline under Handouts and Web Links so that you know exactly what questions you will need to answer. This will help you evaluate any topic you come up with to see whether it will work for this assignment. Discuss your ideas with the professor.
  • Preliminary research. Review the course materials that address your topic. The professor will let you know which week the topic is discussed. Use these to focus your topic or point you to new sources. Find a few preliminary sources using the library’s databases. Google Scholar @ UI&U, JSTOR, and AnthroSource are great databases to start with. Make an appointment with a librarian if you are at all unfamiliar with using these databases. This step should give you a broad idea of the literature out there and how anthropologists talk about the topic. You should also start finding ideas for cultures to focus on (you have to talk about 4 different cultures in the final paper). Keep up a dialog with the professor about your ideas so you don’t stray too far from the assignment.
  • Once you have your 4 cultures, and some idea of what you already know and what you still need to find out (remember to keep the generalized outline handy so you know what questions you need to answer), you should use the library’s databases to find additional sources on these cultures and subjects. I strongly recommend making an appointment with a librarian during this stage. It will not only build your research skills, it will save you time and energy doing searches that are not effective or not focused enough. Contact the assistant librarian, Klara Charlton at 800-861-6400 ext. 8913 or send an email to set up an appointment (they can do evening appointments):
  • Fill out the Generalized Outline for your topic. This is the Week 6 Exercise, but you can do it earlier in the term if you are ready. This will give you an idea of what more you need to do. It will also help organize your ideas and data into a coherent document. I also provide an Example Outline under Handouts and Web Links to give you an idea of what the Outline can look like. If you are still missing answers to some questions, keep researching. Talk to the professor about ideas for sources on questions you are struggling with.
  • Write your paper. Use your Outline as a guide. Basically, you can write 1-2 paragraphs for each item listed on the Outline, and you will have a final paper!


I don’t have time to teach you to cite in this course (we have too much anthropological content to cover!). So, I am providing my advice here.

Any time you discuss ideas or data you found somewhere else, you need to cite that source. This gives the person who did the research or who expressed the ideas the proper credit. It also lets your reader know where you got your information. A researcher reading an academic source may want to go back the original source as part of their own research project. (Bibliographies for helpful sources will point you to additional helpful sources.) Remember that to present someone else’s work as your own is plagiarism, and is against Union’s Academic Integrity Policy:

Your paper should include in-text citations and a list of all References Cited (or Bibliography) at the end. You may use whichever citation (APA or MLA) format you usually use for your major. For in-text citations, the author’s last name and either the publication date (APA) or the page # (MLA) are listed in parentheses at the end of the sentence, but before the period.


APA: The late prehispanic people on St. Catherines Island, Georgia, exploited the same suite of estuarine resources as the Late Archaic people on the Island (Bergh 2012).

MLA: The late prehispanic people on St. Catherines Island, Georgia, exploited the same suite of estuarine resources as the Late Archaic people on the Island (Bergh 20).

Use the library’s sources for how to format your References Cited/Bibliography page.



If you need help with this, make an appointment with a librarian ( [email protected] ) or with the Writing Center ([email protected]  ).

Style: APA

Number of pages: 6 pages/double spaced (1650 words)

Number of source/references: 4

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