Ant 263: Research Proposal

Anthropology 263
Human Applications of Foraging Theory (4 units)
Fall Quarter, 2012; CRN # 43265 
224 Young Hall; Wednesday; 11:00AM to 1:50 PM


Preparation of a Concise Research Proposal


In constructing your research proposal you are to apply one or another of the behavioral ecology models that we have discussed in class to a research problem of your choosing. The context may be ethnographic or archaeological, but I would like you to set your research in the context of a real society, extant, historical or prehistoric. Your only restriction is that your research be feasible for a single investigator in a year's time.

Your proposal should be no longer than eight, double-spaced pages. Allow an additional page for citations (using American Anthropologist style). This length restriction will require that you be very concise. You do not need to propose a budget, but you should otherwise adhere to the following, annotated outline.

I. Title

Be succinct but try to include all or most of the key words that pertain to your proposal.

II. Problem statement and background

State your problem as directly and as succinctly as is possible (a paragraph should suffice).

You will then want to develop the context of your theoretical orientation to this problem through a brief literature review, several paragraphs in length, setting up the scholarly context and anticipating your argument for the significance of this work (see V).

III. Objectives

In a sentence or two at most, and in order of importance, state each of the specific and achievable objectives of the research. Be sure that the objectives follow from the problem statement and that the methods section encompasses all of the objectives.

If you have a basis for prediction state the objectives as testable hypotheses. If the research is exploratory or a survey, state the objectives as questions.

IV. Methods

State the research procedures in down-to-earth, operational terms. As appropriate, you may want to include: sampling, design of the study, instrumentation and data collection, definition of variables, and analytical techniques. Be specific, but in a proposal of this length you will have to establish priorities and be highly selective in what you discuss. Citation of statistical techniques or analytical software packages by name does not constitute explanation of analysis; give examples. Keep in mind that your referees will cast a stern eye on the question of feasibility.

V. Importance

In a short statement you should convince the reviewer that the problem is important, that it has generality, and that its study using your methods will contribute significantly to the development of theory and to our empirical understanding of human evolution and ecology.