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Ant 211: Research Proposal

Anthropology 211 (Advanced Topics in Cultural Ecology):
Cultural Ecology Classics and Their Consequences
[Winter Quarter 2006; CRN#73691; TR 9:00-11:50]


Preparation of a Concise Research Proposal

In constructing your research proposal you are to imagine that you are seeking funds to return to the site and time of the cultural ecology ethnography you've just read. You may propose investigation of topics complementary to those covered in the ethnographic monograph, or you may describe research that would better illuminate some topic which the author already sought to describe or explain. Your only restrictions are that your research be related to human ecology and that it be feasible for a single investigator in a year's time.

Your proposal should be no longer than one single-spaced page. This will require that you be very succinct. Use no smaller than an 11-point font.

I. Title

Be concise but try to include all or most of the key words that pertain to your proposal.

II. Problem statement

State your problem as directly and as briefly as is possible. Several sentences should suffice. In a short paragraph, describe its scholarly and theoretical context.

III. Objectives

In a sentence or (at most) two, and in order of importance, state each of the specific and achievable objectives of the research. Be sure that the objectives follow from the problem statement and that the following methods section encompasses all of the objectives.

If you have a basis for prediction, state the objectives as testable hypotheses. If the research is exploratory, state the objectives as questions. The former is preferable.

IV. Methods

State the research procedures in down-to-earth, operational terms. As appropriate, you may want to include: sampling, design of the study, instrumentation and data collection, definition of variables, and analytical techniques. Be specific, but in a proposal of this length you will have to establish priorities and be highly selective in what you discuss. Keep in mind that your referees will cast a stern eye on the question of feasibility.

V. Importance

In a short statement you should convince the reviewer that the problem is important, that it has generality, and that its study using your methods will contribute significantly to the development of theory and to our empirical understanding of human ecology.

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