Ant 5: Proposal

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ANTHROPOLOGY 5 Proseminar in Biological Anthropology (4)
Spring Quarter 2008 (MW 12:10-1:30, 3 Wellman; CRN #66293)
Professor Bruce Winterhalder, 218 Young Hall [; 754-4770]


Research Proposal

Imagine that you have been funded to do follow-up research on a topic raised in one of the four volumes we are reading in this class. Your travel, living expenses, supplies and equipment will be paid. Imagine yourself to be an expert evolutionary anthropologist, archaeologist, or primatologist. The context may be ethnographic, ethological or archaeological, but I would like you to set your research in the context of a real society, extant, historical or prehistoric, primate or human. Your only restriction is that your research be feasible for a single investigator in a year's time.

Your proposal should be no longer than five, double-spaced pages. Allow an additional page for citations (using American Anthropologist style). This length restriction will require that you be very concise. You do not need to propose a budget, but you should otherwise adhere to the following, annotated outline.

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.