Cultural anthropology | Social Science homework help

Posted: July 31st, 2022

This assignment requires you to go out into “the world” and do ethnographic study to explore a social or cultural issue of particular interest to you. You will need to think about four major areas as you develop your project idea and engage in ethnography:

Research Topic: (the people, place and phenomenon for research)

Possibilities for research may include:

Something familiar: If you choose something familiar to you, an organization you belong to or your place of work, for example, try to look at it as if it were strange. Step back. Imagine that you don’t know what’s going on. Ask some new questions of the situation. If you choose something unfamiliar, try to figure out how it makes sense, what is the logic guiding it, what are the assumptions that you have to understand in order to understand what is going on.

A social event: Your project could be an analysis of a ceremony (wedding, quinceniera, or baptism) a social gathering, a place where people come together for one purpose only, like a bus station or a hair salon. You could look at a group that you are a member of–a club, a performing group, a religious organization or even your work place. Or you could choose a topic with which you are not already connected. You can begin by looking around at places where people congregate or thinking about groups that you are already a part of.

A cultural phenomenon: Your project could also be an analysis of a specific cultural phenomenon: traditional healing and home remedies; the preparation of a certain ethnic or family dish; rituals associated with preparation and playing team sports; religious practices associated with particular observances.



2. Research Questions:

What are you investigating about this topic? What do you want to find out? What are the questions that you want to ask the individuals involved? Formulate questions that you think you may want to ask your informants about your topic. If you consider yourself a part of this group, think of the aspects that you will want to know more about. These preliminary questions will be listed in your worksheet but once you begin your fieldwork, they may change or you may find additional questions that are relevant to ask.

3. Ethnographic Methods:

These are the ways to investigate the issues that interest you in context of the particular topic you have chosen. Please review Chapter 3. You will want to choose your research methods to best fit your topic and the kind of research questions you are investigating. You will probably use some combination of participation, observation, and interviews. Please let your informants know that you are doing a college project and obtain permission from them to use their name (if you decide to do so). You MUST get consent from your informant(s). If they want to remain anonymous, then you can just refer to them as “Informant #1”, “Informant #2”, etc. Please review the section on informed consent in Chapter 3.

Whatever your method, you will need to take notes; you may take notes while observing in your research situation, or, if this is impractical, you may write down notes afterwards. But do keep a written record of your observations as you go. YOU WILL NEED TO TURN IN YOUR NOTES. These will be your actual notes in progress; you are not required to type these notes up or put them in any special format. They should be a combination of field observations and your initial assessments or organization of those topics.

4.Anthropological Analysis

This will include the discussion of topic, your interpretations of the research and it will include the emic and etic perspectives. You can include your personal commentary and any application of anthropological theories (Remember the 4 anthro dudes? – this is where their perspectives will apply).


The Essay:

The paper needs to be clearly organized and should include the following and in this order. You can see the point breakdown for each section:

1) A description of the topic, ethnographic site, group, context, event, or situation. (5 points)

2) A brief background of the topic from your personal experience and/or from sources you have consulted. Your sources must be reputable academic sources that can be found in the VC library and databases. No Google searches, Wikipedia, Blogs, etc will be accepted. (5 points)

3) A discussion of the methods you utilized, what you actually did in your fieldwork, and howeffective those methods were. Did your ideas about your project topic change in the process of doing ethnographic fieldwork?(10 points)

4) An account of your observations, what you found out, your results. This is where you may include excerpts from your interviews and your informants’ commentary (which of course, will be a part of your emic interpretations.) (20 points)

5) An anthropological analysis or interpretation of your results. What does it all mean? Use your text or other sources to support your perspective. Include your theoretical interpretations using one of the 4 anthro dudes if possible. You must to include the emic and etic perspectives in your discussion. (20 points)

6) A brief bibliography of references used- everyone should have at least the textbook as a reference. (10 points)

7) Your interview notes and photographs (if applicable.) Indicate that you did obtain consent from your informants to use their information for your project. (15 points)

8) Your worksheet (15 points)

Your paper should contain some reflections on your process, on how you did the ethnographic work; how you made decisions about what you did ethnographically; what worked and what didn’t (and why); who you talked to and who you didn’t talk to (and why); how the methods you chose might have affected your findings; and why you think your methods were appropriate both to your research question and to your research setting.

In the case of interviews, be sure to describe your respondents in whatever way is relevant to your project (ethnicity, gender, class, age, etc).

Include at least one (1) reference to the anthropological approach in your introduction and cite the textbook as you discuss any or all of the following aspects: ethnography, participant observation, cultural relativism, ethnocentrism etc.


You final project will include:

The essay (minimum 5 page paper.) It must include: an introductory paragraph and a conclusion paragraph. If your informants do not want to be named you may refer to them as, “my informant” or “my consultant”.

You must format your paper as follows:

Typed, 12 point font- Times New Roman, black ink, double spaced, normal margins.

Include a title page (cover page) with your name, class time and title of your paper. Staple your papers with your notes and worksheet. Do not place your paper in a folder or binder.

In your bibliography or works cited page, be consistent in your citations; use MLA or APA style. Consult the following website for additional information:




Include yourinterview and/or observation notes. Additionally, if you include photographs, please label them accordingly.

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