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.
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 "Discover" or "Science News" are not appropriate sources, although they may point you to good refereed sources. Web sites rarely present refereed information and material on the web is extremely 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 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 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 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, 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 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 Services. See how to access these at: http://www.lib.ua.edu/interlibloan/.
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. Our style guide is based on the Authors 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.|
|The text of the paper, including the reference list, must be double-spaced and 12 point in size.|
|Margins should be one inch on all sides. Right margins are to be ragged, i.e., do not use right margin justification.|
|Number all pages after the title page, starting with your first text page as page 1. Place the page number in the footer section of the page, centered.|
Rules for Writing Research Papers
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 properly referencing it, YOU ARE COMMITTING PLAGIARISM.
(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.
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 quite 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 changes.
Effect (noun): purport, intent; essence; something that inevitably follows 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 important 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 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 first spelling with the second: “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 filled with smoke.” When you affect a situation, you have an effect on it. The less common is a verb meaning “to create”: “I’m trying to effect a change in the way we purchase widgets.” No wonder people are confused. Note especially that the proper expression is not “take affect” but “take effect”—become effective. (http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/affect.html)
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.
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 possess something, only the last noun in the list gets the apostrophe: Jim and Kathy's party. If the two nouns possess 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 personal 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 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, 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 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, among others.
Taxonomic nomenclature rules: Taxonomic binomens (Genus species) are always italicized, with the 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 ends 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.).
- Do not start a sentence with numerals, if the sentence must start 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 10 and not grouped with numbers over 10 (one-tailed t test, eight items, nine pages, three-way interaction, five trials).
- Use numerals for numbers 10 and above, or lower numbers grouped with numbers 10 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 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 3 million people).
- Use numerals for exact statistical references, scores, sample sizes, and sums (multiplied by 3, 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 crying.
- Use metric abbreviations with figures (4 km) but not when written out (many meters distant).
- Use the percent symbol (%) only with figures (5%) not with written numbers (five percent).
- Quotation Marks: Use quotation marks for an odd or ironic usage the 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 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).
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.
In Word, in the Format Paragraph dialog box, under Indents and Spacing, choose Special "Hanging", and By: "0.5" to get this format. You also need to handle widow/orphan control. On the tab labeled "Line and Page Breaks", check the box next to "Widow/Orphan Control", and the box next to "Keep Lines Together". This will prevent a reference from breaking across pages.
To get to the Paragraph Dialog Box in Word you can right click on the mouse and choose "Paragraph" from the pop-up menu. If you have trouble with that, in WORD 2003 you can click on the Format Menu and choose "Paragraph". In WORD 2007, on the home tab, click on the arrow at the bottom right of the Paragraph bar.
Journal Articles reference format:
Bindon JR. 1994. Some implications of the diet of children in American Samoa. Collegium Anthropologicum, 18:7-15.
Bindon JR, and Crews DE. 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 Dressler WW. 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 Zansky SM. 1986. Growth and morphology. In Baker PT, Hanna JM, Baker TS, 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 web site, the first element would be the individual or registered name (give as much information as possible), Year last updated, Group responsible for the site with their address (if available/applicable), the date site was last updated, the date of access, and the URL address. The in-text citation would be (WHO, 1999).
WHO Country Health Information Profile: Samoa. U.N. W.H.O., Manila, Philippines. (updated July 1, 1999; accessed February 23, 2007). 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