How to Write a Research Paper in Anthropology

What is Anthropology?

This is the study of all that makes us human. Anthropologists adopt a comprehensive approach to comprehending the various aspects of the human experience, known as holism. The anthropologists look at the past, through archeology, to establish how groups of humans lived thousands or hundreds of years ago and what mattered to them. They look at what constitutes our biological genetics and bodies, as well as our health, diet, and bones. Also, anthropologists compare us with other animals, mostly other primates like chimpanzees and monkeys, to establish what we share and what distinguishes us.

Although nearly all human require the same things for survival, such as companionship, water, and food, the way we meet these need varies. For instance, food is essential for everyone but different people consume different types of foods and obtain the food in different ways. Therefore, anthropologists study how different populations obtain food, prepare, and share it.  Another thing that anthropologists do is to try and understand how humans interact in social relationships, such as with friends and families. They study the different ways of dressing and communicating among societies. They use the comparisons to make sense of their own societies. Anthropologists also work within their societies to study policy, law, education, health, and economics, etc. in an attempt to comprehend these complex issues, they consider what they know about types of communication, culture, biology, and how people lived in the past.

Anthropology Subfields

Anthropology is normally categorized into four subfields. Each subfield teaches distinguishable skills, but the subfields have several similarities. For example, they all apply theory, employ systematic research methodologies, articulates and tests hypotheses, and creates comprehensive data sets.

  1. Archeology

Archeologists focus on human culture through analyzing the objects made by people. They carefully retrieve from the ground things like tools and pottery, and map house locations, burials, trash pits to learn more about the way of living of a specific people. They also analyze human teeth and bones to obtain information on a people’s diseases and diet. Archeologists collect the remains of soils, animals, and plants from places people have inhabited before to understand their way of living and how they transformed their natural environments. Archeological research began with the earliest human ancestors dating millions of years ago and extending to the present day. Like other anthropology areas, archeologists also try to explain similarities and differences in human societies across time and space.

  1. Biological Anthropology

Biological anthropologists try to understand how people adapt to various environments, causes of early death and disease, and the evolution of humans from other animals. To achieve this, they study humans (dead and living, primates such as fossils (human ancestors), apes and monkeys. They also take an interest in how culture and biology collaborate to shape our lives. They are concerned in explaining the differences and similarities found among people across the world. Through their work, biological anthropologists have demonstrated that, as humans vary in behavior and biology, they have more similarities than differences.

  1. Cultural Anthropology

Sociocultural anthropologists investigate how people in diverse places live and comprehend the world around them. They seek to know what people perceive to be important and the rules they create about how they ought to interact with each other. Anthropologists often discover that the ideal way to learn about different peoples and cultures is to live among them. They attempt to comprehend the social organization, practices, and perspectives of other groups whose way of life and values may be different from theirs. The knowledge they obtain can improve human understanding on a greater level.

  1. Linguistic Anthropology

Linguistic anthropologists look at various ways of communication among people across the globe. They are concerned with how language is connected to how we perceive the world and how they relate to each other. This means studying how language works in its different forms and how it evolves over time. It also implies looking at our belief about communication and language, and the way we apply language in our lives. For linguistic anthropologists, communication and language are bases how we make culture and society.

If you are taking any of the anthropology courses above, you will write a research paper in anthropology in the future. A research paper in anthropology should address your chosen topic or one assigned by your instructor. Research papers involve putting course content into conversation with additional scholarly literature on a theme or topic. You are required to undertake comprehensive searches for material in the library; both electronic databases holding journal articles and the library’s book collection. Usually, you are not strictly limited to anthropological articles and books, you are expected to look for material from various disciplines that talk about the topic you are researching. These books and articles will later need to be organized and synthesized to support the argument you intend to make. Research papers should be well organized, with every section relying upon the others and sustaining the primary argument of your paper. You should cite your sources as you use them, it is not compulsory to use direct quotations. At the end of your paper, you should include a list of works cited.

This instructional guide will educate you on how to write the paper successfully based on reliable anthropological sources and information. When writing for linguistic, cultural or another anthropology class, the paper will deal with several things, such as:

  • Interrogate cultural norms critically (in your culture and other people culture)
  • Evaluate ethnographic information (data relating to everyday activities, events, interviews, histories) to trace interesting and important patterns.
  • Organize ethnographic and other types of evidence (historical accounts, newspapers, etc.) in sequence to study, describe, and evaluate a cultural issue, a phenomenon, an event, or to sustain an argument about one.
  • Critically look at the theoretical perspective to make sure it is sensible in cultural phenomena. You can choose one and find a topic to write about for your research paper in anthropology. Let us look at how to go about writing this assignment.

Choose your Anthropology Research Paper Topic

In short, anthropology studies humanity. As there are many types of anthropological studies and branches, you will not have difficulties choosing a topic to research. You can choose any of the topic below for your research paper in anthropology.

  1. The Influence of Illness, Culture, and Health on Human Society
  2. The Influence of the West on the Indigenous People of North America
  3. Mythologies and its Significance to Modern Culture
  4. The Influence of the Culture of Ancient Indians on the Advancement of American Culture
  5. Similarities and Differences in Asian and American Rock
  6. What Role Do Women Play in the Chinese Culture?
  7. Migration and its Effect in the World
  8. The Meaning of Anthropology and Essence of Historicity
  9. Future Perspectives of the Underwater Archeology
  10. How has Social Media Impacted Different Cultures?

Anthropology Research Paper Outline

Outlining is not a feature in anthropology writing. An outline is among the most essential things to do for an academic project. Ensure that you start and conclude your research paper in anthropology outline in one go. You can come back to it later on and edit it whenever you want as you progress. But, creating a well-done outline before you start writing will be helpful in working faster, efficiently, and more effectively.

Checklist for Anthropology Thesis Statement

The introduction acts as a road map for your research paper. You are expected to clearly indicate what you intend to do. Ensure that your introduction discloses what the research paper is about, what you want to discuss, how you will discuss it, the examples you will use to prove your argument, and the key objective of your project. If you do not inform your readers what your essay is all about, they might make their own conclusions, which will cause a number of misunderstandings and misconceptions.

Begin your introduction broadly and then narrow it down. For example, you can start with a statement explaining what anthropology is in general. You can then go to Physical anthropology and then nutritional anthropology. After this, you can now proceed to your chosen subject of study.

The introduction part of your paper should have a solid thesis statement. Look at the following list to know if your thesis statement is good.

  • A concrete thesis statement has one primary idea. If your thesis contains more than one idea, the research project will be confusing to your readers. A clearly illustrated primary point will give your paper a strong focus.
  • A concrete thesis statement demonstrates that the author has a stand and validates the topic discussion. Ensure that your thesis statement answers the question ‘so what?’ and shows that you have evaluated and researched the subject comprehensively to arrive at the right conclusions.
  • A concrete thesis statement is narrow and focuses on a particular subject. If the thesis is too broad, you will not be able to fully develop your research paper. Make sure that you can exhaustively research and deliberate the issue within the provided length.
  • A concrete thesis statement is flexible; you can change it at any stage of your work. When starting your project, you do not know where the research and analysis will lead you. Hence, ensure that you can adjust the thesis whenever it becomes necessary to do so.

Write the Main Body

This is the point where your outline will become useful. When you are midway in your writing, do not think of your outline as a trap. Feel free to use the outline and adjust it to ensure that your paper flows smoothly and logically. However, do not move away from your thesis statement and the primary theme of your project.

If you decide to quote any text word-for-word at some point, make sure that you cite the source. Mention where you obtained the quote and write the text in quotation marks. Give more details about the quote on Works Cited or References page. If you paraphrase, that is, not using the exact words but applying another person’s idea, give them credit as well. Quotation marks are not necessary here, but make sure that you mention where you obtained the idea from.

  • To incorporate your sources of information into your research paper discussion, ensure that you investigate, summarize, describe, and assess each published word rather than just mentioning it.
  • Do not overwrite in this part. Though your instructor may urge you to create your own sophisticated style, ensure to first target for clarity and precision in your writing. Once you become a clarity and precision guru, you can experiment with wordy and complex sentences, different figures of speech, and so on.

Figures and Tables

Undoubtedly, your research paper in anthropology will have figures, tables, and graphics. These are integral elements in your project as they are numbers that denotes the author’s findings and the methods that were used in the research

Explain the Research Methods

In your paper’s methods section, you should do the following:

  • Explain how you carried out the experiment
  • Provide an explanation of why you chose particular experimental procedures
  • Provide a description of the steps you followed to answer the research question
  • Describe how you have evaluated your results

Provide your Results

What did you discover? Give the direct findings of your anthropological research:

  • Give your results in the same sequence as in the methods section
  • Present the data in graphs, tables, charts, or any other figures of your preference
  • Mention about data collection methods, how you chose your participants, etc.
  • Provide data that relates to the primary research question
  • Provide secondary findings


While thinking about how to write the conclusion of your research paper in anthropology, think of it as an additional section attached to the end of your paper after doing your analysis or argument. The conclusion paragraph will serve as a reproduction of the introduction. Remember to remind your reader the journey from the start to the end of the essay. Mention the reasonable ideas that linked one issue or topic to another. Have you proven your argument successfully? Why is your research important in the chosen study field?

Summarize each of the strategies you used with the acquired results. Mention some inconsistencies revealed between your research work and other anthropology studies as acted as a basis of your experiment as a whole. Provide ideas and suggestions on how your project can be advanced and improved.

Conventions of Anthropology Writing

  • Use of the First-Person “I”

While writing an anthropology paper, you can use the pronoun “I” to make yourself visible to your audience. You should use the pronoun judiciously according to the assignment. Evidently, instructors in anthropology want you to use “I’ and express your opinion in a journal-type assignment. The use of “I” is also anticipated in ethnographic analysis. But, the papers are basically not about you, the student, but about the cultural issue under analysis, your instructor expects a more judicious application of “I.” when writing a research paper in anthropology, avoid the use of “I” as it is deemed less inappropriate.

  • Passive vs. Active Voice

We recommend the use of active voice, however, we are aware that beautiful writing can incorporate both passive and active voices. But, just like using “I” exposes the author to the reader, the use of active voice makes the “subject” or “actor” front and center, which is what we aim for; anthropologists want the people they study to the as current as possible in our writing.

  • Verb Tense

The tense to use in an anthropology paper is a challenging issue because of consistency. Then there is the issue of forming a false sense of authority and guarantee by the use of the present tense to describe cultural issues. Sometimes a writer will show that something is a continuing still present feature of the subject under description. You should be aware of these problems, purpose for consistency and your instructor will work with you to identify the best way to apply tense in your writing.

  • Style

Anthropology readers appreciate beautiful writing with well-designed style. You can use complex sentences and mix them with shorter sentences. You should target an elegant, clear, beautiful, and evocative style. Especially in research papers, we encourage you to write a thick and rich ethnographic description as you can. You should purpose to sum up your past experiences, the interactions and events you have witnessed, for your readers. You can also use metaphors and other figures of speech and match your writing with clarity.

Final Thoughts

We hope that this guide has been helpful to you. If you are still facing challenges writing your research paper in anthropology, just ask us “write my anthropology research paper” and we will get back to you within a short time. is a custom paper writing service providing help in various types of academic papers including those in anthropology. Our writers are all experts in their chosen fields where we have several specializing in social sciences. Give us a chance to help you with your paper at an affordable price that is student friendly. We promise to deliver your paper with high-quality and within your deadline.

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