This handout briefly situates anthropology as a discipline of study within the social sciences. It provides an introduction to the kinds of writing that you might encounter in your anthropology courses, describes some of the expectations that your instructors may have, and suggests some ways to approach your assignments.
It also includes links to information on citation practices in anthropology and resources for writing anthropological research papers. Anthropology is the study of human groups and cultures, both past and present. Anthropology shares this focus on the study of human groups with other social science disciplines like political science, sociology, and economics. The four major subfields within anthropology are linguistic anthropology, socio-cultural anthropology sometimes called ethnologyarchaeology, and physical anthropology.
Each of these subfields takes a different approach to the study of humans; together, they provide a holistic view. So, for example, physical anthropologists are interested in humans as an evolving biological species. Linguistic anthropologists are concerned with the physical and historical development of human language, as well as contemporary issues related to culture and language.
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Archaeologists examine human cultures of the past through systematic examinations of artifactual evidence. Writing An Anthropology Paper cultural anthropologists study contemporary human groups or cultures. Each writing exercise is intended to help you to develop particular skills. Most introductory and intermediate level anthropology writing assignments ask for a critical assessment of a group of readings, course lectures, or concepts.
Here are three common types of anthropology writing assignments:. This is the type of assignment most often given in anthropology courses and many other college courses.
Your anthropology courses will often require you to evaluate how successfully or persuasively a particular anthropological theory addresses, explains, or illuminates a particular ethnographic or archaeological example. For more help with see more your assignments, see our handout on understanding assignments. Instead, a critical essay should evaluate or assess both the weaknesses and the merits of a given set of readings, theories, methods, or arguments.
Another common type of research and writing activity in anthropology is the ethnographic assignment. Your Writing An Anthropology Paper instructor might expect you to engage in a semester-long ethnographic project or something shorter and less involved for example, a two-week mini-ethnography. So what is an ethnography? If your Writing An Anthropology Paper asks you to do an ethnographic project, that project will likely require some fieldwork.
Because they are so important to anthropological writing and http://agnix.info/edu-help/thesis-on-tax-system.php they may be an unfamiliar form for many writers, ethnographies will be described in more detail later in this handout.
In some assignments, you might be Writing An Anthropology Paper to evaluate the claims different researchers have made about the emergence and effects of particular human phenomena, such as the advantages of bipedalism, the origins of agriculture, or the appearance of human language. To complete these assignments, you must understand and evaluate the claims being made by the authors of the sources you are reading, as well as the fossil or Writing An Anthropology Paper evidence used to support those claims.
Click here evidence might include things like carbon dated bone remains; material evidence might include things like stone tools or pottery shards. You will usually learn about these kinds of evidence by reviewing scholarly studies, course readings, and photographs, rather than by studying fossils and artifacts directly.
Writing an essay in anthropology is very similar to writing an argumentative essay in other disciplines. In most cases, the only difference is in the kind of evidence you use to support your argument. In an English essay, you might use textual evidence from novels or literary theory to support your claims; in an anthropology essay, you will most often be using textual evidence from ethnographies, artifactual evidence, or other support from anthropological theories to make your arguments.
Many introductory anthropology courses involve reading and evaluating a particular kind of text called an ethnography. To understand and assess ethnographies, you will need to know what counts as ethnographic data or evidence.
So what kinds of things might be used as evidence or data in an ethnography or in your discussion of an ethnography someone else has written? Here are a few of the most common: A fact or observation becomes evidence when it is clearly connected to an argument in order to support that argument. It is your job to help your reader understand the connection you are making: In anthropology, as in other fields of source, it is very important that you cite the sources that you use to form and articulate your ideas.
Please refer to our handout on plagiarism for information on how to avoid plagiarizing. Anthropologists follow the Chicago Manual of Style when they document their sources. Note that anthropologists generally use in-text citations, rather than footnotes. If the style requirements for a particular journal are not explicitly stated, many instructors will be satisfied if you consistently use the citation style of your choice.
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For more information on citation, please see please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial. We consulted these works while writing the original version of this handout. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial.
This brief guide offers you a few ways to improve your academic writing skills, especially if this is the first time writing an anthropology paper. Here are some tips for approaching your anthropology writing readings or lecture notes that are not relevant to the argument you will make in your paper. The Student's Practical Guide: Writing Term Papers for Anthropology The seven magical rules of term paper writing apply to all research papers. This brief guide will help you to see how to compose an anthropology paper and enhance your composition skills. You will likewise see some valuable tips here. How to Write an Anthropology Paper. Writing a paper for an Anthropology course can be a new experience for those of you that are new to this field of study.
Harnack, Andrew and Eugene Kleppinger. Scupin, Raymond and Christopher R. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Citations and Bibliographic Style for Anthropology Papers.
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