Using course materials and outside readings, examine three authors’ hypotheses for the origins of bipedalism.
Compare the supporting points (such as fossil evidence and experimental data) that each author uses to support his or her claims.
Your anthropology courses will often require you to evaluate how successfully or persuasively a particular anthropological theory addresses, explains, or illuminates a particular ethnographic or archaeological example.
When your instructor tells you to “argue,” “evaluate,” or “assess,” s/he is probably asking for some sort of critical essay.
In most cases, the only difference is in the kind of evidence you use to support your argument.
In an English essay, you might use textual evidence from novels or literary theory to support your claims; in an anthropology essay, you will most often be using textual evidence from ethnographies, artifactual evidence, or other support from anthropological theories to make your arguments.
The types of writing that you do in your anthropology course will depend on your instructor’s learning and writing goals for the class, as well as which subfield of anthropology you are studying.
Each writing exercise is intended to help you to develop particular skills.
Another common type of research and writing activity in anthropology is the ethnographic assignment. Did anything happen that seemed unusual, ordinary, or interesting to you? Write down any thoughts, self-reflections, and reactions you have during your two hours of fieldwork.
Your anthropology instructor might expect you to engage in a semester-long ethnographic project or something shorter and less involved (for example, a two-week mini-ethnography). “Ethnography” means, literally, a portrait (graph) of a group of people (ethnos). At the end of your observation period, type up your fieldnotes, including your personal thoughts (labeling them as such to separate them from your more descriptive notes).