Paper topics: The most important thing in choosing a paper topic is to make sure that your interest is sufficiently 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 tiny fraction of possible topics (ANT 475 click here; ANT 570 click here). Be sure to do some library work the first or second week of class and then come in to see me to discuss your choice of topic. Only one person per specific topic will be allowed, so choose early.
Bibliographic Resources: In choosing a paper topic, it is important 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 important online databases that need to be consulted to find recent, appropriate 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.
Expanded Academic ASAP: Choose this source from UA Library Database page. This resource is accessible both on campus and from home. This source has bibliographic, abstract, and full text data on a wide array of periodicals useful for anthropological research. It can be searched by keywords for subjects, journals, authors, etc.
Academic Search Elite: Choose this source from UA Library Database page. This resource is accessible both on campus and from home. This source has bibliographic, abstract, and full text data on a wide 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 and select the "Full Search" database. 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. If you have a key source or classic article that you have found on your topic, you can enter the information about this article and see who has published work citing the article. This way you can work forward from an older piece to newer references. Abstracts of many of the articles are available. Full 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 full text versions are unavailable online, you will want to use our online Interlibrary Loan form at: http://zap2.library.colostate.edu/zap/Entry.cgi?Affiliation=alm.
Start 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. We will follow the Authors Guide for the American Journal of Physical Anthropology for format 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.
Rules for Writing Research Papers
(For more on quotations CLICK HERE)
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 appropriate 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 between 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 breaking 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.
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 between past and present gratuitously. Be consistent. Since you are working with published results, past tense is usually the most appropriate.
Do not confuse its, the apostrophe-less possessive form of it, with it's, the contraction 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.
Colloquialisms are not appropriate 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 piece of a sentence which has been punctuated as if it were a complete 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. 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 couple 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 quite, extremely and very. Words such as these have lost their potency through overuse, and have become filler. Also stay away from phrases like "a great many of . . ." and "a great 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.
You must cite sources for all information that is not your first-hand research. Footnotes and endnotes have no place in a biological anthropology research paper. If the material is important enough to be considered at all, it should be incorporated in the body of the paper. If it is not important enough to be included in the body of the text it should be omitted anyway!
The following rules are taken from the Authors Guide for the American Journal of Physical Anthropology. For more detail please see that source.
. . . Bindon (1994) discussed or is discussed (Bindon, 1994a; 1994b) for a single authored piece--use a, b, etc. for multiple pieces by the same author(s) in a single year
. . . Bindon and Crews (1993) discussed . . . or . . . is discussed (Bindon and Crews, 1993) . . . for two authors
. . . Bindon et al. (1991) discussed . . . or . . . is discussed (Bindon et al., 1991) . . . for three or more authors
. . . is discussed by many workers (Bindon, 1994; Bindon and Crews, 1993) for a list of citations, they should be arranged in alphabetical order then by date, separating references by semi-colons.
. . . Bindon and Baker (1997) argue for a modification of Bergmann's rule based on the thrifty genotype:
Thus it may be that the relationship of body weight to temperature which Roberts found would closely resemble that found in our more recent results provided corrections were made for the thrifty genotype in some groups which exhibit the unusual ability to gain weight very rapidly in a modernizing context (Bindon and Baker, 1997:209).
For direct quotes the page number must be included following the year and a colon.
Bindon JR, and PT Baker. 1997. Bergmann's rule and the thrifty genotype. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 104:201-210.
Bindon JR. 1994. Some implications of the diet of children in American Samoa. Collegium Anthropologicum, 18:7-15.
Bindon JR, and DE Crews. 1993. Changes in some health status characteristics of American Samoan men: a 12 year follow up study. American Journal of Human Biology, 5:31-38.
Bindon JR, Crews DE, and WW Dressler. 1991. Life style, modernization, and adaptation among Samoans. Collegium Anthropologicum, 15:101-110.
Bindon JR. 1997. Coming of age of human adaptation studies in Samoa. In Ulijaszek SJ and Huss-Ashmore RA, editors. Human adaptability: past, present, and future. New York, Oxford University Press. p 126-156.
Bindon JR, and SM Zansky. 1986. Growth and morphology. In Baker PT, Hanna JM, and TS Baker, editors. The changing Samoans: behavior and health in transition. New York: Oxford University Press. p 222-253.
Dressler WW. 1991. Stress and adaptation in the context of culture: depression in a southern Black community. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.
Web site: For a website, the first element would be the individual or registered name (give as much information as possible), the year follows, then city (if applicable/available), the revision date (the revision date must be given), and the URL address. The in-text citation would be (WHO, 1999).
WHO Country Health Information Profile: Samoa. 1999. Manila, Philippines. (July 1, 1999); http://www.who.org.ph/chip/ctry.cfm?ctrycode=sma&body=sma.htm&flag=sma.gif&ctry=SAMOA.
A suggested outline for the research paper
A. Brief statement of the context of your topic within biological anthropology
B. Specific statement of purpose, e.g., to examine the impact of socioeconomic modernization on obesity and obesity-related health problems among the Polynesian populations of Fiji and Easter Island
A. First area of your focus, e.g., models of adaptation to caloric deprivation
1. Genetic Models
2. Developmental Models
3. Behavioral Models
B. Second area of focus, e.g., socioeconomic modernization
1. Generalizations about modernization
2. Specific conditions
C. Population or populations that you will deal with in your paper
1. Background about population(s)—what do we need to know to understand the application of the theoretical models to the population(s)?
A. Specific data about the population(s) derived from your literature sources
1. What is likely to have affected the gene pool
2. What do we know about growth and development in the population(s)
3. Diet, activity, and other behavioral data on the population(s)
A. Limitations or qualifications of your findings: What problems do you see with the data you are using to analyze your results
B. How do the data you have reviewed agree or conflict with your model
2. Growth and development
3. Diet, activity, and other behavioral data
C. Conclusions based on your findings
D. Suggestions for future research related to this topic