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Grade Distribution​ and Due Dates

Assignment Descriptions


Final Research Proposal:


The central assignment for this course is to produce a full research proposal for the project that you plan to undertake for your thesis fieldwork. Throughout the course, you will be expected to develop this proposal in the various stages of the research process that we discuss, e.g., the literature review, designing methods, data analysis, overall research design, etc. Smaller assignments will lead up to this final proposal (see below). 


The final proposal will be graded for its content and style, evidence of your mastery of ethnographic research design, and the application of this understanding to proposing an original research project that you plan to undertake as your culminating thesis project in anthropology. This proposal should integrate all of the components of a proposal that we discuss throughout the semester, and it should be structured according to the logic of the ethnographic research process (think: theory-method-data triangle!). Namely, the proposal should:

  • pose a research question (and/or stake a potential theoretical stance on that question)

  • explain why this question is "interesting" and how it relates to the academic literature on the same topic

  • provide a detailed methodological plan to systematically collect and analyze data that will allow you to stake out a claim with regards to your research question.

  • include logically coherent connections between these different elements (your question and the literature, your methods and data, etc.)

A rubric that will be used to grade final proposals can be found here. A professional example of a funded research proposal will also be provided via Box as an example of what this looks like. Consider this example as a model in terms of logical structure and the different component sections, but your undergraduate thesis proposal need not be as in-depth as this example (which comes from a PhD dissertation funding proposal).​ The expected range for the final proposal is 2,500 - 6,000 words. Be sure to clearly cite all of your sources, using the Chicago (Author-Date) citation format for in-text citations and your references cited list. 

The final draft of the paper will be due by April 13 at 11:59pm. You may turn in a draft for discussion at one point during the semester, but the instructor and TA will also be regularly available for office hours to discuss your project as needed. It is also strongly encouraged that you visit with me during office hours at every stage of developing your project. 


Both drafts should be turned in via Box, uploaded as a single-spaced PDF, beginning with a cover page that includes 1) your full name, 2) date, 3) the name of this class (ANTHR 442), 4) “Research Proposal” followed by your title for the proposal, and 5) a word count of the document. The uploaded PDF filename should follow this format:  “PROPOSAL_COMPLETE_DRAFT—FirstName_LastName.pdf". Please add "DRAFT" to the filename of the ungraded draft, and please add "FINAL" to the filename of the final paper for grading.

IRB Proposal:


Before you conduct any human subjects research, you must approve your research with the Institutional Review Board (IRB) at this university. We will discuss the ethical issues involved in human subjects research throughout this course, and you will take an online (CITI) tutorial to certify with BYU's IRB. You will also be expected to submit an IRB protocol for review by March 10, in order to secure IRB approval for your project before the summer.


Various Assignments:


Minor assignments will be given throughout the course to assist in the completion of these larger projects and to help apply the principles and methods learned in class. Some of these may be assigned on an ad-hoc basis, while others are listed in the course schedule. These will include an initial abstract of your project, a literature review, a sampling strategy, a data collection strategy, a data analysis plan, an IRB tutorial, some field assignments, and possibly some introductory data analyses. Many of these (abstract, literature review, sampling, methods, analysis) will be component parts of your final proposal, so they will effectively factor into your grade twice. However, the final proposal should integrate feedback from the initial sections that you turn in to me, as this will help you more effectively develop a holistic and integrated approach to your research questions.

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