Guidelines for writing Anthropology papers


The focus of research in anthropology is the study of humans and the social, cultural, physical, as well as historical aspects of human life.  This discipline is broad and is generally sub-divided into the following fields:

Cultural Anthropology methods include ethnography, surveys, and oral history.
Examples of primary literature: field notes, ethnographic observations, films, photographs, and artifacts.

Physical Anthropology methods include laboratory work, anthropometry, biochemical analysis, comparative anatomy, trace analysis, and taxonomy.
Examples of primary literature: skeletal material, medical records, genetic data, and fossils.

Linguistic Anthropology examines phonetics, phonemics, structural analysis, semantics, morphology, and syntax.
Examples of primary literature: field notes, tape recordings, historical records, and sound spectrograms.

Archaeology (geographic anthropology) methods include excavation, survey, sampling, collection, relative and chronometrical dating.
Examples of primary literature: artifact collections, site maps, excavation notes, photographs, and drawings.

Anthropologists convey information in both books and articles.  Dissertations are also primary sources of data.  They rely on current as well as older literature.

Major Indexes & Databases: Abstracts in Anthropology, Anthropological Literature, Anthropological Index to Current Periodicals, Human Relations Area Files (HRAF). There are many other useful research tools for this field depending upon the research question. Be sure to ask a librarian for assistance.

*This information comes from the essay “Anthropology” by Joyce L. Ogburn in
THE SOCIAL SCIENCES.  Nancy L. Herron, ed.  Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited, 1989.

Writing Style for Anthropology