Anthropology Final Paper

Project Description

  • The aim of this final project is to hone your skills as an ethnographer and applied anthropologist. After all, one of the most important goals of the field of anthropology is to apply the knowledge gained from fieldwork to solve human problems.
  • You can also cite this project on your resume and discuss it during your own interviews once you are ready to hit the job market, or if you already have a job but are looking for a better job, lateral move, or different career.
  • Identify a topic within your community that some members of the community view as a problem that needs fixing.
  • Examples of possible problems include: ethnocentric reactions towards foreigners; loud music being played at night within one house that is disturbing the neighbors; student athletes having difficulty in certain academic areas; recent spikes in certain crimes such as robberies or auto theft; disgruntled workers at one of the Disney parks; inadequate technology for students to use on campus; repairs to apartment community amenities take a long time to get completed etc.
  • The list can be endless so just come up with an idea and run it by me first.
  • The community in question could be your local neighborhood block, town, Lake-Sumter State College, a major city such as Orlando, an organization like a club on campus, or even an online community in which you are a member etc. The scale or size of the community is simply up to you. It should certainly be larger than your extended family or a small group of friends.
  • You will spend several hours observing the scene of the problem for yourself or participating in an activity with community members that acts as an eliciting device to illuminate the problem(s). So try to think of ways to do that as you design your project. For example, if Daytona Beach has a lot of trash and it is affecting the wildlife, walk the beaches for a few days with a friend to collect some trash and observe humans interacting on the beach.
  • Pick 2-3 individuals to use as key informants.
  • These individuals should represent a range of perspectives on the problem. For example, if the problem was disgruntled workers at a factory, then it would be a good idea to interview one person from higher management, one entry level employee with little experience, and one seasoned employee that has been with the company for a long time.
  • Design a formal interview questionnaire and provide it to all of your key informants prior to the scheduled interview time.
  • Also get your key informants to sign the document of informed consent located in the Files Tab in Canvas. Submit these signed forms by scanning/taking photos of them and integrating them with your Word file that has the text of the final paper for final submission.
  • Conduct cross-cultural research to find other examples of this problem around the country or around the world, and/or find studies that examined similar problems within your specific chosen community.
  • Use as your preferred academic search engine. Also seek out resources via the college’s library system.
  • Based on the data that you have accumulated via fieldwork (i.e. interviews and observations), articulate the problem within this specific cultural setting using anthropological terms and concepts.
  • Based on the data from your fieldwork and your newfound cross-cultural research, devise a solution or several solutions to the problem(s).
  • Provide your solution(s) and reasoning behind the solution(s) to me as if I was a person in power and capable of implementing these solutions within the community.
  • I will evaluate your work and provide recommendations on how to move forward with the possibility of providing your work and solutions to actual figures of influence within the community.

Paper Organization

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  • Create these headings for your paper and use them (you may want to use more too):
    • Introduction
    • The Community and Its Problems
    • Participant Observation Summary
    • Key Informant Interview Summary
    • Cross-cultural Research
    • Recommended Solutions
    • Conclusion
  • Whenever you are assigned long and complex projects or papers in school or on the job remember to construct definable subsections or mini projects within the larger project.
  • Doing so makes it easier to accomplish these larger works.

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