• What kinds of writing assignments can I expect in Anthropology?

    Professors in the Anthropology Department give various assignments depending on the course such as short reaction papers, theoretical term papers, empirical (research) papers, group project papers, and journaling.

    Types of writing in this department include:

    In class
    • Short and long essay examinations
    • Journaling / Reflection essays
    Technical Writing
    • Reports
    Formal Writing
    • Abstracts
    • Research papers
    • Formal research proposals
    • Position papers
    • Literature Reviews
    • Scholarly journal article reviews
    • Methodological reviews/critiques
    • Annotated bibliographies
    Informal Writing
    • Reflection/reaction papers
    • Film critiques
    • Concept application papers
    • Experiential papers
    • Field notes
    • Interview transcription
    • Journals
  • How will I be graded?
    • Clear sense of the question or topic being written about
    • Clear purpose and reasonable argument with relevant support (evidence, references, examples)
    • Careful integration of assigned readings in paper (flow & coherence)
    • Good organization
    • Depth of coverage (content)
    • Clear, concise language
    • Correct use and reporting of research methods (if empirical)
    • Careful attention to format and documentation
    • Grammatical and spelling proficiency
    • Specific guidelines depending on the professor
  • What qualities are sought out in Anthropology?
    • Critical Insight
    • Theoretical analysis & analytic sensitivity
    • Authorial voice and dimensionality
    • Reflexivity and Self-awareness
    • Identification & questioning of assumptions
    • Creativity & exploration of ideas
    • Anticipate objections to argument & address them
  • Learning Objectives for writing in the Anthropology Department:

    After completion of the DSW requirements, students will be able to:

    • Write papers/documents using lines of reasoning and support unique to Anthropology
    • Reflect on their own process of discovery (reflexivity)
    • Properly use citation style
    • Write literature reviews/critiques
    • Properly write data analysis and interpretation of findings
    • Engage in theoretical analyses of multiple texts
    • Write abstracts
  • What kinds of evidence are recognized as valid in Anthropology papers?
    • Students are expected to use peer-reviewed journal articles, books, and scholarly monographs as evidentiary sources, and to critically integrate this with their own experience and the experience of others.
    • Exceptions or additions to these will be specified in each class.
  • What citation conventions will I be expected to use in Anthropology papers?
    • This depends on the professor. Many professors, however, require AAA style (American Anthropological Association): http://www.aaanet.org/publications/style_guide.pdf
    • All professors stress that the bibliographic section include all materials used to give credit to the original sources.
  • Special do's and don'ts for papers in the Anthropology Department:


    • Cite material you use even if you paraphrased!
    • Use active voice construction
    • Write several drafts of your paper.
    • Run spell-check!
    • Consider suggestions made by grammar check
    • Double-check correct spellings of theorists, authors, and terms.
    • Say "I" or "me" in papers when appropriate.
    • Go the Writing Center for help if needed.
    • Get help from the professor if you have any questions.
    • Take the revision process seriously, taking professors' critiques as guidelines for re-writing papers.
    • Learn how to search for academic sources using the library's resources.


    • "Borrow" ideas without citation, even if paraphrasing.
    • Print off a thrown together at the last minute rough draft that has not been spell checked or proofread and turn it in for a grade.
    • Write and turn in the same paper for different classes.
    • Use words or phrases that you do not understand.