Final Project Paper

The Final Project Paper is a minimum five-page analytical research-based paper representing a cultural community. The paper must go beyond a descriptive narrative about the community, and demonstrate an anthropological analysis of the community using anthropological terms and concepts introduced in this course. The five-page paper should be in 12 point, Times New Roman Font, double-spaced with one-inch margins. It will be graded according to: 1.) grammar, structure and writing style, 2.) use of material (terms & concepts) presented in the course, 3.) content  and 4.) formatting and use of academic references.  It is best to familiarize yourself and use the citation style that is recognized in your discipline. Failure to include citations or terms and concepts from the course will result in an automatic ‘0’.

Description versus Analysis

Analysis is the process of producing new information based on research and observation. The thesis in this research paper should represent new information about the cultural community based on your research. For example, a paper simply describing ‘The Amish of Lancaster’ is not an anthropological analysis, but a a thesis paper stating ‘The Amish of Lancaster represent a cultural community that is bound by a shared struggle to maintain religious and cultural identity in a rapidly changing globalized world’ is an analytical statement that provides new information about the Amish of Lancaster to the reader.  This makes it important to conduct research first, then create a statement you can support with your researched data using anthropological terms and concepts from this course. For an Word Doc template, click here

Steps to Produce a Successful Research Paper

  1. conduct research and collect data about the community
  2. organize data into topics and identify patterns
  3. create a declarative thesis statement based on patterns in the data
  4. organize the body of paper to support thesis statement using anthropological terms and concepts from this course
  5. write introduction and conclusion

Paper Structure

The paper must be organized into an Introduction, Body (divided into subcategories) and Conclusion.  Subheadings play an important role in organizing the paper  during the writing process as well as for the reader. 

  1. Introduction: The introduction should provide a general overview of the community and a thesis statement about the community that reflects patterns in the data you collected during research. As a result, you should write the intro LAST. For the purpose of this class, put the thesis statement in bold or italics to make it easy to identify.
  2. Body: The body of your paper is comprised of organized data that supports the statement in your introduction. Organize the body on thematic trends; this can be Diversity within the community (demographics such as gender, age, race, etc), Socio-historical Contexts (the unique social and historical circumstances that have shaped, and continue to shape, the experiences of the cultural community), Cultural Expressions (examples of a cultural artifacts produced by the community that expresses the experiences, ideas, values and beliefs of the community), Contemporary Challenges (What type of challenge does your selected community face, what are the consequences, and how is the community dealing with / adapting to it?)  You will identify the trends as you conduct research. Be sure to track the sources of your information with in-text referencing and use terms and concepts (in bold and italics in the lessons) that you will use in your paper.
  3. Conclusion: The Conclusion reiterates your statement to a reader who isnow more informed after reading the data in the body of your paper.  It should wrap up the paper and suggest ways of moving forward (need for more research, advocacy, and/or tolerance, etc.)  Consider the goals of course posted on the homepage of the website when wrapping up your conclusion.


The Bibliography is a properly formatted reference page listing ALL of the sources used in your research and should be tied into in-text referencing within the body of your paper.  The paper  must have in-text referencing and at least three of five sources must be scholarly sources – Wikipedia is NOT scholarly. For useful tips about writing, research and scholarly citations, visit the Purdue Online Writing Lab known as Purdue Owl. For formatting your bibliography, visit: You may use any style, as long as it is consistent throughout your paper. Please note that the cover page and reference page do not count toward the five-page minimum.

Discussion: Create an outline (approx. 500 words) for your final paper for peer review and review at least three other student outlines using the criteria described in this lesson and the grading rubric. Your outline should be organized into an Introduction, Body (divided into subcategories), and Conclusion. Within the Body section of your outline, include which weblesson you will use to draw terms and concepts for each designated category.  It is acceptable to present your outline using bullets, numbers and/or paragraph form.  At the end of your outline, include a list of formatted and scholarly bibliographic resources that you will use in your paper and project.

*For full credit, you must provide constructive criticism pointing out ways that someone can improve their outline/paper, for at least three other students.