Dr. Bindon Anthropology Arts & Sciences University of Alabama
ANT 475 ANT 476 ANT 570
Paper topics : The most significant thing in choosing a paper topic is to make sure that your interest is reasonably engaged so that you can sustain the effort necessary to produce a work that is satisfying both to you and to your instructor. See some of the papers that have been submitted in the past for an idea of a little fraction of possible topics (ANT 475 click here ; ANT 570 click here ). Be sure to do some library work the very first or 2nd week of class and then come in to see me to discuss your choice of topic. Only one person per specific topic will be permitted, so choose early.
Bibliographic Resources : In choosing a paper topic, it is significant to do the preliminary bibliographic research to make sure that you will have enough material to write the paper you wish. For human biology, there are several significant online databases that need to be consulted to find latest, adequate journal references for your paper. You should make an exhaustive search of four of these in particular. These are available through the UA Library web site at: http://www.lib.ua.edu/resources/databases/. For an excellent introduction to doing bibliographic research at UA, see Dr. Murphy’s Bibliographic Search Strategy.
A Warning About Sources:
A research paper requires information from sources that are as reliable as possible. In science and the social sciences, this reliability is established by the peer-review process. Academic journals subject articles to the peer-review process so that other professionals have examined and vetted the information before it is published. A research paper should rely only on peer-reviewed information. For that reason sources like “Detect” or “Science News” are not suitable sources, albeit they may point you to good refereed sources. Web sites uncommonly present refereed information and material on the web is enormously suspect. You may find good figures on the web for presentations or papers, but the information is not likely to be useful.
Expanded Academic ASAP: Choose this source from UA Library Database page or use this URL for off-campus access: https://libdata.lib.ua.edu/login?qurl=http%3a%2f%2finfotrac.galegroup.com%2fitweb%2ftusc49521%3fdb%3dEAIM. This resource is accessible both on campus and from home. This source has bibliographic, abstract, and total text data on a broad array of periodicals useful for anthropological research. It can be searched by keywords for subjects, journals, authors, etc.
Academic Search Premier: Choose this source from UA Library Database page. or use this URL for off-campus access: https://libdata.lib.ua.edu/login?qurl=http%3a%2f%2fsearch.epnet.com%2flogin.asp%3fprofile%3dweb%26defaultdb%3daph. This resource is accessible both on campus and from home. This source has bibliographic, abstract, and utter text data on a broad array of periodicals useful for anthropological research. It can be searched by keywords for subjects, journals, authors, etc.
Web of Science: Choose this source from UA Library Database page. or use this off-campus URL: https://libdata.lib.ua.edu/login?qurl=http%3a%2f%2fisiknowledge.com%2fwos. This resource is accessible both on campus and from home. This site offers an online search of the Social Science Citation Index, the Science Citation Index, and the Arts & Humanities Citation Index. Be sure to do general searches with at least the Social Science and Science Citation Indexes checked. If you have a key source or classic article that you have found on your topic, you can inject the information about this article and see who has published work citing the article. This way you can work forward from an older chunk to newer references. Abstracts of many of the articles are available. Utter bibliographies are available from all of the articles in the database.
Medline: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PubMed/. This provides the most comprehensive online database of health-related journal articles. It is available to the public and can be accessed from home or campus without going through the UA Library site.
Interlibrary Loan: After finding a suitable set of references, be sure to check that the journals or books are available at the Library. If they are unavailable in our library and utter text versions are unavailable online, you will want to use our online Interlibrary Loan Services. See how to access these at: http://www.lib.ua.edu/interlibloan/ .
Commence early on your search so you ensure having sufficient resources for your paper.
Paper: Failure to meet a deadline on the paper will be penalized by reducing the grade on the late element of your paper by one letter grade per weekday. Our style guide is based on the Author’s Guide for the American Journal of Physical Anthropology for general formatting and for how to cite references.
Your paper must be submitted as an e-mail attachment, using some version of Word as your word processor or saving your document in a word file format. This paper will be posted to the web so that other students can critique your work.
Title page. Be sure to include a title page including the title, your name, the date, number of text pages, number of pages of references cited, and number of tables and figures.
Number all pages after the title page, embarking with your very first text page as page 1. Place the page number in the footer section of the page, centered.
Make an outline (see a suggestion for the outline ) that proceeds logically to make all of your points and stick to this outline. The outline should take the form of a brief introduction (See #Two), a brief statement of any methods you will be using other than literature review, a critical review of the published research that is relevant to your paper, a conclusion where you consider limitations of your probe, compare your findings with those of others, and project areas of potential future research based on your findings. A well organized paper should never contain redundancies or statements about redundancies such as “as mentioned above”. You should use your outline headings as section labels in your paper.
Your introduction should be no more than a duo of paragraphs, usually less than one page, and should end with a concise statement of the purpose of your paper (“The purpose of this paper is to. “), and how you intend to accomplish it, following your outline.
Your primary research mechanism will be a review of the literature on your topic. If you are culling data from various sources to conduct further statistical or other analyses, be sure to state your criteria for accepting or rejecting data clearly, and provide a utter discussion of all of your analytic technologies.
In reviewing the concepts and literature on your topic, be critical. Simply because something is published, even in refereed sources, does not mean the authors are interpreting their findings correctly. Examine your sources to make sure the authors are justified in their conclusions. Consider alternative explanations of the findings if applicable. It is fine to have an opinion so long as it is based on a reasonable consideration of the available information.
In reviewing your sources, there are several rules to recall:
DO NOT MAKE UNSUPPORTED ASSERTIONS. This is the most common error made in research papers. If you wish to make a point, present the evidence, as specifically as possible, that applies to the point, and evaluate its relevance. Use the literature sources you have uncovered. The only statements not attributed to some author or authors should be those based on your own very first arm practice, or your conclusions and your criticisms of the published work you are including in your paper.
Present REAL DATA from your studies, do not just discuss what the authors found. E.g. do not say “they ate more meat,” say “Aardvark (1992) found Carbon 13 /Carbon 12 isotope ratios of 0.014 in group X and 0.035 in group Y, indicating that group Y ate more meat than group X.” Just citing the source is NOT presenting evidence–the evidence is in the source, but you must dig it out and present it.
It is also not sufficient to provide a p-value as if that portrayed an analysis. DO NOT say “they ate more meat (p < 0.001).” That is no more informative than the phrase without the p-value and it does not contain any extra information! It is good to discern inbetween statistically significant and non-significant results, but it is more significant to present the data that are being tested.
Appeals to authority do not constitute valid evidence in support of an argument. I.e. statements such as, “most anthropologists agree,” “several studies showcase,” or “Dr. Joe Deep-throat of the Harvard School of Public Health says. ” For this reason, very first names and affiliations are inappropriate. Who says it does not count, it is the quality of the evidence–as reviewed by you–that the author presents that counts.
Always go to the original sources. Review articles and texts are good for building your bibliography, but do not trust the authors of these secondary sources to get the facts correct or to interpret them correctly. Encyclopedia articles and popular magazines such as Time, Newsweek, Detect, are NOT adequate sources for research papers.
Include tables and figures. especially maps for work examining several groups. Be sure to use decent attribution for these elements with citations including page number, as for direct quotes. When incorporating tables or figures, you need to re-label them with the suitable table or figure number for your paper, not the number from the original source. Also, make sure the legend or title you put on the table or figure relates to its use in your paper. You MUST refer to and discuss each table or figure in the text of the paper, it is not enough to simply stick it in among the pages. Be sure to highlight significant elements of the table–and there better be several for you to include it.
Use direct quotes only when they are especially pertinent and cover an significant point. Reserve the use of quotation marks for direct quotes. You must give the page number, for example, (Bindon, 1982:181) for direct quotes. You should keep direct quotes to an absolute minimum in any research paper. A research paper is not a string of quotes linked together with brief text by you. If we want to read a bunch of quotes, we’d skip your paper and go to your bibliography to read the material for ourselves.
Sentence structure with quotes: The sentence that includes the quote must be grammatically correct. Your material will have to be written so as to place the quoted material in suitable grammatical context. If this is not possible the quote will have to be edited using [brackets] and/or ellipses (. ) to denote switches.
Omitting material from a quote: Ellipses (space period space period space period space) are used to denote the omission of material from a direct quote. Ellipses are generally not to be used at the beginning or ending of a quote.
Long quote format: If the quote is more than one sentence, or more than three text lines, go to long quote format which is indented ½” from left and right margins and is single spaced. No quotation marks are required, albeit the citation must go at the end of the last line. To indent both margins in Word, use the Format, Paragraph menu guidelines and in the dialog box, under Indentation set both left and right at 0.Five”. You can also set the line spacing to single in this dialog box.
In a case of sickness, a cup of kava [‘ava, beverage made from the root of Piper methysticum] was made and poured on the ground outside the house as a drink-offering, and the god [Salevao] called by name to come and accept of it and heal the sick. (Turner, 1884:51) Quoting without noting: If you copy directly from a source without noting that it is a quote and decently referencing it, YOU ARE COMMITTING PLAGIARISM.
When not quoting, paraphrase succinctly. It should take you substantially fewer words to get the point across than it did the original author. There is no BS credit in research papers, and in fact, the more irrelevant verbiage I have to wade through to get your point the more annoyed I will be, so include only the most relevant material.
A research paper is not a mystery. Do not introduce critical material at the end of the paper to come to a dramatic conclusion. We should have all of the relevant information by the time the discussion commences.
Run your spell checker on your document twice before submitting.
Proof READ your document. The spell checker will not pick up missing lines, misspelled words, basic grammar errors, and gravely deficient logic.
Have someone else read your paper. If you have flawed logic embedded in your work, it has been part of your creation process, and you are unlikely to catch it. Let another person help you find the glitches.
Some common grammatical problems.
Make sure all verbs are correct for all subjects (subject-verb agreement). This agreement is most frequently violated for the word “data”. Data are plural, datum is singular. You will find data, singular, as an acceptable use in most dictionaries, however, this is a lay or colloquial usage and NOT adequate for a scientific research paper. (For More on subject-verb agreement Click Here)
Check on the antecedents to your pronouns. To whom or what does they or it refer? If the antecedent is not the last named group or item, you need to restructure your sentence. Also be sure to check for singular versus plural agreement inbetween pronouns and antecedents. (For More Click Here)
Use parallel construction, be especially careful when linking series of phrases to use the same construction (verb, noun, modifier, etc.). (For More Click Here)
Punctuation problems include misuse of commas, colons, semicolons, and dashes. Most people misuse semi-colons (;) and dashes (–). Unless you are certain you know how to use these, avoid them by cracking the sentence into smaller, direct and active sentences. Also, always use two spaces after the punctuation terminating a sentence. (For More on General Punctuation Click Here) (For More on semi-colons Click Here) (For More on dashes Click Here)
Do not confuse affect and effect.
Affect (transitive verb): to produce an effect upon, to produce a material influence upon or alteration in (paralysis affected his limbs). To act upon (as a person or a person’s mind or feelings) so as to effect a response. influence.
Effect (transitive verb): to cause to come into being; to bring about often by surmounting obstacles; accomplish (effect a settlement of a dispute); to put into operation (the duty of the legislature to effect the will of the citizens).
The confusion of the verbs affect and effect is not only fairly common but has a long history. Effect was used in place of affect as early as 1494. If you think you want to use the verb effect but are not certain, check the definitions.
Affect (noun): the conscious subjective aspect of an emotion considered apart from bodily switches.
Effect (noun): purport, intent; essence; something that inevitably goes after an antecedent (as a cause or agent); an outward sign. appearance; accomplishment, fulfillment; power to bring about a result; influence (the content itself of television is therefore less significant than its effect); a distinctive impression (the color gives the effect of being warm); the creation of a desired impression (her tears were purely for effect).
When “affect” is accented on the final syllable (a-FECT), it is a verb meaning “have an influence on”: “The million-dollar donation from the industrialist did not affect my vote against the Clean Air Act.” A much rarer meaning is indicated when the word is accented on the very first syllable (AFF-ect), meaning “emotion.” In this case the word is used mostly by psychiatrists and social scientists— people who normally know how to spell it. The real problem arises when people confuse the very first spelling with the 2nd: “effect.” This too can be two different words. The more common one is a noun: “When I left the stove on, the effect was that the house packed with smoke.” When you affect a situation, you have an effect on it. The less common is a verb meaning “to create”: “I’m attempting to effect a switch in the way we purchase widgets.” No wonder people are confused. Note especially that the decent expression is not “take affect” but “take effect”—become effective. (http://www.wsu.edu/
Avoid elaborate or any other kind of parenthetical statements. Either find a way to include the comment directly in the text or omit the information. This may take some time and effort on your part! (For More Click Here)
Do not switch verb tense inbetween past and present gratuitously. Be consistent. Since you are working with published results, past tense is usually the most adequate.
Do not confuse its, the apostrophe-less possessive form of it, with it’s, the spasm of it is, which you should not be using. Possessive pronouns such as his and hers do not take apostrophes and the same is true of its. When discussing inanimate objects, it is best to use the “of” form for possessives rather than the apostrophe form; “the back of the house” sounds better than “the house’s back,” which gives the house human qualities.
An apostrophe plus “s” is used to form the possessive case of these nouns:
All singular nouns, including those ending in “s”: Rachel’s car, the cat’s pajamas, Alice’s restaurant, Chris’s plants, the fox’s tail. Plural nouns which do not end in “s”: The People’s Court. An apostrophe alone is used to form the possessive case of these nouns:
Plural nouns ending in “s”: the Smiths’ house, the foxes’ tails.
Singular nouns that would sound awkward with another “s” added: Ulysses’ adventures, Borges’ novels.
If two or more nouns wield something, only the last noun in the list gets the apostrophe: Jim and Kathy’s party. If the two nouns wield separate things, however, they each take an apostrophe: We’ll go in Michael’s and Jacy’s cars.
In hyphenated words, only the last word takes an apostrophe: my brother-in-law’s boat.
Possessive individual and interrogative pronouns such as yours and whose do not include apostrophes, but possessive indefinite pronouns such as anyone ‘s and each other’s do.
Colloquialisms are not adequate in a research paper. Do not use contractions for verb forms (isn’t, don’t, weren’t, etc.) since you are preparing a formal writing project and these are colloquial forms.
Make sure all sentences are sentences, do not leave fragments floating in your text. A sentence fragment is a chunk of a sentence which has been punctuated as if it were a finish sentence. Usually it is a phrase or subordinate clause which has been improperly separated from a main clause. (For More on Sentence Fragments Click Here)
Sentences can become confusing because of awkward construction, missing words, or simply from being too long. Avoid sentences that are too long, but also avoid all run-on sentences (Click here for run-on help). The longer the sentence grows the more likely it is that you will screw it up and the more likely it is that your reader will become confused. If you have a sentence that is running on for several lines, chances are you should go back and rewrite it into a duo of shorter more straight-forward sentences. Your readers will thank you. (For More on Writing Sentences Click Here)
Avoid overusing relative pronouns such as which and that. Often they can be eliminated by rewriting the sentence in a more direct manner.
Avoid overusing meaningless qualifiers such as fairly, enormously and very. Words such as these have lost their potency through overuse, and have become filler. Also stay away from phrases like “a fine many of. ” and “a fine deal of. ” and the old standby, “in general”.
Avoid ponderous or vague constructions such as despite the fact that, due to the fact that, an aspect of, and the use of. among others.
Taxonomic nomenclature rules: Taxonomic binomens (Genus species) are always italicized, with the very first letter of the genus capitalized and the species name all in lower case as in Homo sapiens. As a side note, the species name for man completes in an s–that is not the plural form. In addition to genus names, all higher taxons should be capitalized (e.g. family: Hominidae, superfamily: Hominoidea, suborder: Anthropoidea, order: Primates, etc.).
Quotation Marks: Use quotation marks for an odd or ironic usage the very first time but not thereafter, for example, “This is the “good-outcome” variable, but as it turns out, the good-outcome variable predicts trouble later on. “
- Do not commence a sentence with numerals, if the sentence must begin with a number, the number must be spelled out, no matter how large it is. Always spell out numbers beginning sentences (Thirty days hath September. ).
- Spell out numbers which are inexact, or below Ten and not grouped with numbers over Ten (one-tailed t test, eight items, nine pages, three-way interaction, five trials).
- Use numerals for numbers Ten and above, or lower numbers grouped with numbers Ten and above (for example, from 6 to 12 hours of sleep).
- Spell out common fractions and common expressions (one-half, Fourth of July).
- To make plurals out of numbers, add s only, with no apostrophe (the 1950s).
- Treat ordinal numbers like cardinal numbers (the very first item of the 75th trial. ).
- Use combinations of written and Arabic numerals for back-to-back modifiers (five 4-point scales).
- Use combinations of numerals and written numbers for large sums (over Trio million people).
- Use numerals for exact statistical references, scores, sample sizes, and sums (multiplied by Three, or 5% of the sample). Here is another example: “We used 30 subjects, all two year olds, and they spent an average of 1 hr 20 min per day blubbering.
- Use metric abbreviations with figures (Four km) but not when written out (many meters distant).
- Use the percent symbol (%) only with figures (5%) not with written numbers (five percent).
Do NOT use quotes to.
. cite a linguistic example; instead italicize the term (the verb gather ).
. hedge, cast doubt, or apologize (he was “cured”). Leave off the quotes.
. identify endpoints on a scale (poor to excellent).
. introduce a key term (the neoquasipsychoanalytic theory).