Guide for Writing a Strong Anthropology Essay

Apart from the requirements of producing a sound academic paper in conventional disciplines, writing anthropology papers requires that the writer thinks anthropologically. Here, thinking anthropologically means temporarily suspending one’s own assumptions regarding how the world functions, and what is strange versus what is normal. in other words, anthropology advocates for cultural relativity, where writers and readers are required to view cultural difference in its own terms without arranging such difference in a hierarchy. There are other important elements of writing a good anthropology essay, some of which are discussed here. Some of the areas discussed include:

  • Evidence
  • Conventions
  • Formatting and citations

 Evidence in Writing an Anthropology Research Paper

When writing an anthropology paper, as is the case with any form of academic writing, you need to support your arguments using reliable sources. In some cases, you may be asked to use any form of a wide range of evidence. For instance, assignments requiring you to undertake ethnographic analysis expects you to use your won field notes, or oral histories, or transcripts of interviews. Sources of this nature can either be summarized within the anthropology term paper or they can be quoted directly. Magazine or newspaper articles, advertisements, and websites can also be used. On the other hand, for book reviews, students need to use the text of the book as their main source of evidence. Other sources to be used to enhance the quality of your paper are academic texts and scholarly journal articles.

An important consideration in relating to citing sources is whether to paraphrase or quote. When using your own ethnographic data, we encourage you use direct quotes of your research participants. On the other hand, when using information obtained from academic texts and journal articles, it is preferable for you to paraphrase, summarize and synthesize as much as possible. Anthropology courses are often sequenced to allow you to master the skills necessary to synthesize relevant literature by the time you are required to produce an anthropology thesis. Though quotations shorter than three line should remain within the text and should be indicted using quotation marks, longer quotations should be placed on the line below the text and indented on both sides by 0.5 inches.

 Other Conventions of Writing an Anthropology Thesis

One important convention to consider when writing anthropology papers is the use of the first person voice ‘I’. in anthropology papers, unlike some academic essays, it is often permitted to use the pronoun “I” so as to make the writer visible to the readers. However, we recommend that the pronoun be used judiciously according to the assignment. Using “I”, for instance, is expected in ethnographic analysis. However, since papers of that nature are not about the writer, but rather about the cultural phenomena under analysis. The use of “I” would be particularly inappropriate for critical book reviews, literature reviews, and research papers.

Students are also often confused on the use of passive and active voice in anthropology papers. While we understand that persuasive writing may comprise both active and passive voices, we encourage you to use the active voice in your anthropology research paper. However, in the same way that using “I” reveals the writer to the readers, using an active voice makes the subject or actor center and front, which is something writing generally aims for.

One of the most prevalent errors in anthropology writing is some form of ethnocentrism, or some lapse in cultural relativism. Such ethnocentrism is often demonstrated by erroneously attributing value or an emotion to why people are behaving in a certain way. Suggesting, for instance, that some action is “weird” is, on its own a form of ethnocentrism.

In addition, when writing an anthropology dissertation, develop an elegant style, but try not to overwrite. Your priority should be for clarity and precision in your writing style. Make sure you go through your assignment prompt carefully and respond to each part of it. We, however, understand that adopting some of these guidelines into your actual writing may be challenging, and you may need professional help. You may also have limited time available which may render you incapable of producing your own paper. If you need help, contact us, and we will respond to your questions and connect you with reliable and experiences anthropology paper writers.