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ANTH 195A: Research Design in Anthropology (VanDerwarker, Spring 2024: Home

Course Description


This is a seminar format course that prepares students for the ANTH 195B/195C senior honors thesis sequence.  The senior honors thesis is optional for majors, restricted to students with a minimum GPA of 3.4.  The ANTH 195B/C sequence must be completed in consecutive quarters during the student’s senior year, and ANTH 195A is a required prerequisite for that sequence.  As the 195B/C sequence is constructed as an independent study under the mentorship of a chosen faculty member, students desiring to undertake a senior thesis will benefit greatly from the formal preparation intended in this course on research design.  Combined, this three-course sequence will allow students to apply their knowledge of the discipline in constructing a research problem, conducting original research, and writing up the final results.

Course Assignments

Bibliography (10%)

Find at least 15 relevant sources for one of your proposed research topics (10 should be published since 2010). Books are OK but remember that most peer-reviewed research is published in journals. Your mentor may also recommend specific books/articles. Refs should follow AAA style ( to an external site.)


Three Refined Research Questions and Hypotheses (10%)

Choose one of your proposed research topics and refine your three related research questions; identify an overarching research question that potentially umbrellas the three (narrower) study questions; identify the central problem these questions are designed to answer.


Assessing Research Trends in the Discipline (10%)

  1. Look in 2-3 relevant journals to get a sense of the current topics of significance in your sub-discipline (e.g. Current AnthropologyAmerican AntiquityAmerican Journal of Human Biology, American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Evolution and Human Behavior, (consult mentor for additional possibilities). Make a list of the top three themes around which people are doing research and consider how these fit in with broader changes in media and popular culture, in the arts, religion and education, in the economy, in science, or in national and international politics.
  2. Explore National Science Foundation website to see what doctoral dissertation projects (called DDIGs) are getting funded in Cultural, Biological, and/or Archaeological research ( to an external site.). Make a list of the top three themes which are being funded– how do these fit in with broader real-world events or processes in the areas mentioned above?

Subject Guide

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gary colmenar
UCSB Library
University of California, Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9010
(805) 893.8067

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