Anthropology @ UBC

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anthropology essay questions and answers

ANTH 100-2011: Final Exam Essay Questions

The final exam will be scored out of 80 marks (worth 40% of your final grade).  Part 1 of the exam is 60 points (questions will be handed out on exam day).  Part 2 is 20 points with each essay question worth 10 points.

Three of the following five questions will be included on the final exam.  On exam day you will have a choice to answer two of the three essay questions.

Long list of essay questions.

  • Compare and contrast the variation of gender in human societies.
  • Discuss how the four original sub-disciplines of anthropology (socio-cultural, linguistic, archaeological, and biological) contribute to an understanding of humanity.
  • Lee, Marcus, and Menzies each describe their research methods and experiences in their respective ethnographies.  Drawing from their ethnographies, describe the research method(s) of socio-cultural anthropology.
  • Discuss how drastic social change can lead people to create new worldviews to help make sense of their changed world.  Your answer should use one or more examples from course lectures and/or readings.
  • Discus the role of anthropologists in the “Human Terrain System.”  In your answer consider the following: what is the place of anthropology in military settings, and; what role does racism and/or cultural imperialism have in shaping the problems that these anthropologists are engaged to resolve?

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16 Mini Essay Questions

The mini essay questions adapt material from:

Perspectives: An Open Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, 2nd Edition by Nina Brown, Thomas McIlwraith, Laura Tubelle de González  licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License ,

Discovering Cultural Anthropology Copyright © by Antonia M. Santangelo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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Study-Guide Essay Questions for the Final Exam Format of the Final Exam : The final exam consists of three parts: PART 1 (20 points): Identify 5 out of 8 terms chosen from the list circulated in class and posted to the website. For each term, explain what it means and where it comes from (1.5 points) and why it is significant in the context of the themes covered in class (2.5 points). PART 2 (40 points): A required essay on a topic synthesizing material from the entire semester. In your answer, you must discuss three authors or examples chosen from the list provided. PART 3: (one essay, 40 points): The essays in this section will focus on the second half of the course. You must write on one of the two questions provided. Your essay must include discussion of two examples from readings, lectures, or films. For Part 2, you are free to choose any two examples relevant to your argument, but some suggestions will be provided to guide you. Note #1: You may not repeat examples between your two essays. While you may, for example, discuss Malinowski's views on the kula in one essay and his views on culture and fieldwork in another, you cannot describe his views on the kula in more than one essay. If you repeat material, points will be deducted from your essay grade. Note #2: In the questions below, different items separated by a slash should be treated as a single example. You can discuss one or both, but, either way, you will get credit for only one example. If you repeat material, points will be deducted from your essay grade. Note #3: For Part II, you will be required to discuss at least one author from the first part of the course (i.e. before the midterm) and at least one author from the second part (post-midterm). Please keep that in mind as you review the questions below. The following is a selection of study guide questions to help you prepare for the essay questions on the exam.In thinking through possible answers for these questions, pay particular attention to formulating a clear, interesting, and arguable thesis statement . For more information about thesis statements and some examples, see the writing assignments handout .   ESSAY QUESTIONS FOR PART II 1. How has the concept of culture been defined by various anthropologists? What strengths and weaknesses does each definition pose? How should anthropologists in the 21st century define and study culture? Discuss with reference to the work of three of the following: Malinowski/Rappaport, Mead, Farmer, Geertz, Steedly/Abu-Lughod, Wilk/Watson, and Rabinow. 2. One of the main objectives of this course was to explore the question, "what fate and value do cultural differences have in today's interconnected world?" Discuss the views of 3 anthropologists that we have studied in terms of culture, cultural exchange, cultural change, and/or globalization. How are their views similar? Different? Finally, what is, or should be the role of anthropology in light of the globalization of today's world? Choose from: Starn/Kroeber, Mead, Luhrmann, Kulick, Farmer, Mauss/Malinowski, Steiner/Wilk/Watson/Nietschmann 3. If you had to choose three valuable lessons you could take from this anthropological perspectives course, after reading the various works and discussing different concepts, what would those be? How have they helped you to better understand culture or how to perceive a culture? Your essay should discuss at least three of the authors we have explored. 4. Explain how cultural relativism is an integral aspect of three of the following authors' fieldwork: Malinowski, Lurhmann, Farmer, Mead, Tylor/Morgan, Kulick, Steiner/Wilk. Be sure to include details from pertinent readings, theories, etc. 5. While doing fieldwork, many anthropologists form relationships with their informants. Using examples from at least three different authors, explain the different types of relationships between anthropologists and their informants. How and why do these relationships affect the work of the anthropologists? Choose three of the following: Mead, Kroeber, Lurhmann, Farmer, Wolf, Kulick.   ESSAY QUESTIONS FOR PART III 1. In Farmer's book, AIDS and Accusation , we saw that there were cultural differences between Haitian and American explanations of understanding the spread of AIDS. He recommended extending a hermeneutic of generosity so that we could see the "truth" contained within views which we might find factually inaccurate. What do we learn from applying a hermeneutic of generosity? Is it a useful methodological and analytical technique? Discuss with reference to TWO examples. Suggested examples are: Farmer, Luhrmann, Wolf, Kulick. 2. How has globalization affected both core countries and periphery countries? For the better or for the worse and do the influences maintain "authenticity"? Why? Discuss with reference to three of the following: Farmer, Steiner, Carsten, world systems theory/Wallerstein, modernization theory, Mauss, Marx, Wilk, or Watson. 3. Anthropologist Nancy Scheper-Hughes theorized that there are three types of body. Name and describe the three types and explain how they relate to conflicts between naturalistic and personalistic modes of healing. Discuss with reference to two of the following: Farmer, Evans-Pritchard, Luhrmann, Eduardo the Healer. 4. We often refer to globalization as prompting a clash between modern and traditional ways of doing things or viewing the world. Anthropologists have typically cautioned, however, that the terms modern and traditional are problematic. What are the dilemmas raised by discussing "the modern" or "the traditional"? Are these useful terms? If so, how should they be understood? If not, what might be a better way of talking about the cultural effects of globalization? Discuss with reference to two authors, which may include: Farmer/Eduardo the Healer, Mauss/Malinowski/Ongka's Big Moka, Lurhmann, Steiner/Watson/Wilk, Steedly/Abu-Lughod. 5. In "Is Female to Male as Nature is to Culture?," Sherry Ortner claims that women handle physical reproduction which is closer to nature, while males handle social and technological reproduction which is closer to culture. She claims that because culture is superior to nature males are superior to females. Explore this theory through examples of cultures we have studied in this course: Wolf, Kulick, Paris is Burning, Mead, and Carsten. Based on this discussion, what do you think are the strengths and weaknesses to universal subordination theory? If you disagree with Universal Subordination Theory, explain why you think that women nonetheless seem to be defined as inferior. 6. Tania Luhrmann's Persuasions of the Witch's Craft describes the process of interpretive drift and uses this phenomenon to explain how many people in contemporary England come to believe in witchcraft. Define and describe interpretive drift. Choosing from other topics covered in the second half of the semester (kinship, gender, medicine, economics, and globalization), give two examples of other social or cultural phenomena which might be explained by the process of interpretive drift. Based on your discussion, what are the strengths and weaknesses of Luhrmann's analysis? 7. How does globalization affect healing systems, kinship systems, and conceptions of gender (pick two topics, and one author for each)? Are the effects on each of these an example of homogenization or heterogenization? 8. How would you compare the approaches of two of the following -- Malinowski, Mauss, Marx and Carsten -- in relation to their views on capitalism and economics? What are the strengths and weaknesses of each approach? 9. Discuss the arguments for and against globalization. How is homogenization a factor in this process and why do Marx and Mauss support this stance? How do World Systems Theory and Modernization Theory relate to globalization?  

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Introduction to Anthropology

anthropology essay questions and answers

Jennifer Hasty, University of Pennsylvania

David G. Lewis, Oregon State University

Marjorie M. Snipes, University of West Georgia

Copyright Year: 2022

ISBN 13: 9781951693992

Publisher: OpenStax

Language: English

Formats Available

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Learn more about reviews.

Reviewed by Katherine Fox, Assistant Professor, Southern Oregon University on 11/2/22

This is a comprehensive four-field introduction to anthropology that is clearly organized, with a complete index. read more

Comprehensiveness rating: 5 see less

This is a comprehensive four-field introduction to anthropology that is clearly organized, with a complete index.

Content Accuracy rating: 5

I saw no issues in the content.

Relevance/Longevity rating: 3

It is definitely a more up-to-date textbook than many offered by traditional publishers, but many of the "modern" examples are still drawing from the early 2010s. The section on digital and new media feels underdeveloped for 2022. I do think that the format will allow updates with relative ease.

Clarity rating: 5

Clear language with ample definitions and explanations.

Consistency rating: 4

Generally speaking, it is consistent. However, many sections are treated as independent topics and do not always clearly link to and reference other material covered earlier in the book, so in some ways this is not applicable.

Modularity rating: 3

Blocks of text are often larger than is comfortable to read online. Sections of the book can be printed without major issues, though there is some disruption of graphics.

Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 5

Clear structure. While each chapter covers a different topic that is often very separate from others, the sections within the chapters follows a clear and logical sequence.

Interface rating: 5

No problems with the online interface.

Grammatical Errors rating: 5

No grammatical errors; sentences are clear and well-written.

Cultural Relevance rating: 5

The book uses diverse examples to illustrate anthropological concepts. Though it feels as though its target audience is American, different regions of the world feel evenly represented (i.e., the book doesn't overwhelmingly focus on one area, such as Southeast Asia or Latin America).

This is a really great textbook option for four-field anthropology classes. I don't think that it replaces textbooks that are specifically for introductory cultural anthropology courses, at least without supplementation with other materials.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter 1  What Is Anthropology?
  • Chapter 2  Methods: Cultural and Archaeological
  • Chapter 3  Culture Concept Theory: Theories of Cultural Change
  • Chapter 4  Biological Evolution and Early Human Evidence
  • Chapter 5  The Genus Homo and the Emergence of Us
  • Chapter 6  Language and Communication
  • Chapter 7  Work, Life, and Value: Economic Anthropology
  • Chapter 8  Authority, Decisions, and Power: Political Anthropology
  • Chapter 9  Social Inequality
  • Chapter 10  The Global Impact of Human Migration
  • Chapter 11  Forming Family through Kinship
  • Chapter 12  Gender and Sexuality
  • Chapter 13  Religion and Culture
  • Chapter 14  Anthropology of Food
  • Chapter 15  Anthropology of Media
  • Chapter 16  Art, Music, and Sport
  • Chapter 17  Medical Anthropology
  • Chapter 18  Human-Animal Relationship
  • Chapter 19  Indigenous Anthropology
  • Chapter 20  Anthropology on the Ground

Ancillary Material

About the book.

Designed to meet the scope and sequence of your course, OpenStax  Introduction to Anthropology  is a four-field text integrating diverse voices, engaging field activities, and meaningful themes like Indigenous experiences and social inequality to engage students and enrich learning. The text showcases the historical context of the discipline, with a strong focus on anthropology as a living and evolving field.  There is significant discussion of recent efforts to make the field more diverse—in its practitioners, in the questions it asks, and in the applications of anthropological research to address contemporary challenges.  In addressing social inequality, the text drives readers to consider the rise and impact of social inequalities based on forms of identity and difference (such as gender, ethnicity, race, and class) as well as oppression and discrimination. The contributors to and dangers of socioeconomic inequality are fully addressed, and the role of inequality in social dysfunction, disruption, and change is noted.

About the Contributors

Jennifer Hasty , University of Pennsylvania

David G. Lewis , Oregon State University

Marjorie M. Snipes , University of West Georgia  

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  • Authors: Jennifer Hasty, David G. Lewis, Marjorie M. Snipes
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  • Book title: Introduction to Anthropology
  • Publication date: Feb 23, 2022
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100 Anthropology Essay Topics


Table of Contents

Anthropology Essay Topics: A Comprehensive Guide

Essay writing is pivotal in every student’s academic journey. In particular, anthropology students will encounter numerous essays throughout their educational journey. It’s essential to master the art of crafting outstanding essays to secure top grades. Contrary to common misconceptions, essay writing isn’t confined to language or linguistics courses. Every discipline, including anthropology, demands this skill. Thus, students must refine their essay writing abilities to produce stellar content.

Selecting the Ideal Anthropology Essay Topic

The essence of an exceptional anthropology essay often lies in the topic chosen. Selecting a broad topic might overwhelm you, preventing you from addressing it thoroughly. Conversely, an overly narrow topic might lack adequate content, making it challenging to meet word count requirements. The ideal topic should be of personal interest and fall between these extremes.

Anthropology Essay Topics to Consider

At times, professors might provide topics. But often, the onus is on students to choose. To aid in this selection, here’s a list of ten anthropology essay topics:

  • Anthropology’s role in forensic science
  • Varied marriage customs across global cultures
  • Human evolution traced through time
  • Native American cultures and anthropology
  • Literature’s contribution to human evolution
  • The increasing threat of terrorism
  • Anthropology’s influence on art
  • Supernatural beliefs across different cultures
  • The effect of social media on global cultures
  • The interplay between anthropology and genetic engineering

Cultural Anthropology Essay Topics

Delving deeper into cultural anthropology, here are ten more topic suggestions:

  • Defining ‘culture’ across societies
  • Supernatural beliefs and their cultural implications
  • Diverse cultural perceptions of death
  • Rituals associated with death globally
  • Marriage customs across various cultures
  • Societal hierarchies and caste systems
  • The pivotal role of ancestors in culture
  • Unique clothing designs across the world
  • Body modification views in different cultures
  • A deep dive into ancient Roman culture

Evolution-centric Anthropology Essay Topics

For those interested in evolution, consider these topics:

  • The development of human intelligence
  • The fascinating evolution of the human eye
  • Sexual selection among humans
  • An exploration of the Red Queen hypothesis
  • Comparing human brains to other species
  • Chromosomal evolution in plants
  • Bird evolution mysteries
  • Climate change and its evolutionary repercussions
  • The earliest known life forms on Earth
  • Natural selection in the animal kingdom

Ritual-based Anthropology Essay Topics

Rituals form the backbone of many cultures. Delve into these topics:

  • The essence of ritual efficacy
  • The intersection of magic and science
  • The linkage between myths and rites
  • Global variations in marriage rituals
  • Childbirth rituals across cultures
  • Death ceremonies worldwide
  • The historical evolution of rituals
  • The societal significance of rituals
  • The intricate web of myths, rituals, and religion
  • The interrelation of rituals, myths, and faith across societies

Physical Anthropology Topics:

  • The mystery of Neanderthals and their relationship with modern humans.
  • Human bipedalism: Why did we start walking on two legs?
  • The role of nutrition in human evolution.
  • Cranial capacity and its relation to intelligence.
  • The significance of lactose tolerance in human evolution.

Cultural Anthropology Topics:

  • Indigenous communities and their relationship with the modern world.
  • Cultural adaptations to extreme environments.
  • Tattoos and body piercings: Cultural significance and global variations.
  • The cultural impact of globalization.
  • Migration and its effect on cultural identity.

Medical Anthropology Topics:

  • Traditional medicine vs. Western medicine.
  • The cultural basis of certain illnesses.
  • Global health issues and cultural perceptions.
  • The role of rituals in healing.
  • Mental health awareness in various cultures.

Linguistic Anthropology Topics:

  • The dying languages of indigenous tribes.
  • The role of language in shaping thought.
  • Bilingualism and its effects on cognitive functions.
  • The evolution of slang and colloquialisms.
  • The cultural implications of language loss.

Archaeological Topics:

  • The significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
  • Unearthing ancient civilizations: Lessons from Pompeii.
  • The mysteries of the Egyptian pyramids.
  • Megalithic structures around the world.
  • The societal structure of the Indus Valley Civilization.

Religious Anthropology Topics:

  • The origins of world religions.
  • Shamanism across different cultures.
  • Religious rites and their social implications.
  • The anthropology of atheism.
  • Comparative study of creation myths.

Gender and Sexuality Topics:

  • Gender roles in matrilineal societies.
  • The third gender in various cultures.
  • Cultural perceptions of homosexuality.
  • Transgenderism across history.
  • The social construction of femininity.

Economic Anthropology Topics:

  • The cultural basis of consumerism.
  • Barter systems and their societal implications.
  • The anthropological study of modern-day capitalism.
  • The rise and fall of ancient economies.
  • Gift economies and their societal significance.

Political Anthropology Topics:

  • The rise of nation-states.
  • Ancient political structures and their relevance today.
  • The role of leaders in tribal communities.
  • The anthropology of revolutions.
  • The cultural basis of political ideologies.

Technological Anthropology Topics:

  • The impact of the Internet on societal structures.
  • Mobile phones and their influence on culture.
  • The anthropological perspective on AI.
  • Social media and its role in shaping modern identities.
  • Technology adoption rates across various cultures.

Environmental Anthropology Topics:

  • Indigenous knowledge and environmental conservation.
  • Cultural adaptation to climate change.
  • Rituals related to agriculture and harvesting.
  • The anthropological study of urban landscapes.
  • Human-animal relationships in different societies.

Art and Anthropology Topics:

  • Indigenous art forms and their significance.
  • The evolution of music across cultures.
  • Dance forms and their cultural roots.
  • The anthropology of film and cinema.
  • The cultural implications of fashion and clothing.

Migration and Diaspora Topics:

  • The anthropology of refugee communities.
  • Cultural assimilation vs. preservation in immigrant communities.
  • The impact of remittances on home communities.
  • The evolution of diaspora identities.
  • The role of food in migrant communities.

Kinship and Family Topics:

  • The evolution of the nuclear family.
  • Kinship structures in patrilineal societies.
  • The role of elders in family structures.
  • Marriage customs and their evolution.
  • The anthropology of adoption.

Unique Anthropology Essay Ideas

For those seeking distinctiveness, here are some unique topics:

  • Gift-giving customs in diverse societies
  • Global agricultural practices
  • The practice of polygamy across cultures
  • The rich tapestry of folklore
  • Traditional healing across cultures
  • Gender roles in various societies
  • Religious convictions and customs
  • Clothing preferences and designs across cultures
  • Societal social networks

Students aim for top grades in pursuit of academic excellence. However, various challenges might hinder this quest. That’s where our institution can assist, from topic selection to complete essay writing. Reach out today, and let us guide you through your anthropology essay journey.

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30 Anthropologist Interview Questions and Answers

Common Anthropologist interview questions, how to answer them, and example answers from a certified career coach.

anthropology essay questions and answers

Stepping into the world of anthropology means understanding and deciphering the various nuances of human behavior, culture, and evolution. As an anthropologist, you’re skilled at observing patterns, analyzing data, and interpreting findings to offer meaningful insights about our species’ diverse societies and histories.

However, before you can dive deeper into these fascinating studies, there’s a critical step you need to take: acing your job interview. This process involves not just demonstrating your knowledge of anthropology but also showcasing your research skills, cultural sensitivity, and problem-solving abilities.

In this article, we will explore common interview questions for anthropologists along with insightful tips on how to craft compelling responses that will help you stand out from other candidates.

1. Can you describe a time when you used anthropological methods to solve a real-world problem?

This question aims to tap into your practical application of anthropology. It’s one thing to understand the theories and research methods, but applying them to real-world scenarios requires a different skill set. The interviewer wants to know if you’ve had the opportunity to use your anthropological knowledge in a practical sense to solve a problem or provide insights, suggesting hands-on experience and adaptability.

Example: “During my fieldwork in a rural community, I noticed the locals were struggling with water scarcity. Using participant observation, I lived amongst them to understand their daily routines and challenges.

I discovered that they had traditional knowledge about rainwater harvesting but lacked the technical expertise to implement it effectively. Collaborating with local engineers, we designed a sustainable model based on their indigenous knowledge.

This experience highlighted how anthropological methods can be used for problem-solving by bridging gaps between traditional practices and modern technology.”

2. How have you integrated interdisciplinary perspectives in your anthropological research?

Anthropology is a wide-ranging field that intersects with many other disciplines, from sociology and psychology to history and biology. Being able to integrate these various perspectives into your research not only helps you build a more comprehensive understanding of human societies and cultures, but also shows that you can think critically and creatively about complex issues. Thus, interviewers are interested in your ability to leverage interdisciplinary approaches in your work.

Example: “In my research, I’ve often integrated perspectives from sociology and psychology to gain a deeper understanding of human behavior. For instance, when studying cultural practices, I used sociological theories on social structures to examine how societal norms influence these practices.

Similarly, insights from psychology have been invaluable in exploring individual motivations behind certain behaviors. This interdisciplinary approach has allowed me to create more comprehensive analyses that consider both macro-level societal influences and micro-level personal factors.”

3. How would you approach studying a culture vastly different from your own?

To explore the unknown is at the heart of anthropology. Therefore, hiring managers are interested in your methods and mindset when approaching a culture starkly different from your own. They want to know how you would ensure objectivity, sensitivity, and respect for cultural differences, while also gathering meaningful insights. This question is asked to assess your cultural competence, adaptability, and commitment to ethical research practices.

Example: “Approaching a culture vastly different from my own would require an open mind and respectful curiosity. I’d first immerse myself in available literature to gain foundational knowledge about the culture’s history, traditions, values, and societal norms.

Next, fieldwork is crucial for firsthand experience. This involves living within the community, participating in daily activities, and observing cultural practices. It’s essential to approach this with cultural relativism, understanding their customs within their context rather than comparing it to my own culture.

Lastly, building relationships is key. Engaging genuinely with individuals allows me to understand personal experiences and perspectives, providing a deeper insight into the culture as a whole.”

4. Can you share an instance where you had to adapt your research methods due to unexpected circumstances in the field?

In the unpredictable world of field research, your ability to think on your feet is critical. Anthropological research often requires flexibility and adaptability, as cultural norms, logistical issues, or unexpected events can quickly change the course of your study. By asking this question, hiring managers want to gauge your problem-solving skills and your ability to adjust your research plans under challenging and unexpected circumstances.

Example: “During a field study in Papua New Guinea, my team and I planned to use structured interviews for data collection. However, we quickly realized that the community was uncomfortable with this method due to their oral tradition culture.

Adapting to this, we shifted our approach to participatory observation and informal conversations. This not only made them more comfortable but also enriched our understanding of their social dynamics beyond what structured interviews could have provided. It was an important lesson in cultural sensitivity and flexibility in research methodologies.”

5. In your experience, what are the most significant ethical considerations in anthropological fieldwork?

Anthropology is a field that often deals with sensitive issues—cultural practices, personal histories, societal structures—that require a high level of ethical consideration. Thus, hiring managers ask this question to ensure you, as a prospective anthropologist, can handle these delicate matters appropriately and respectfully. This also gives them an insight into your ability to maintain ethical standards while conducting potentially intrusive research.

Example: “In anthropological fieldwork, one of the most significant ethical considerations is obtaining informed consent from participants. This involves clearly communicating the purpose and potential impacts of the research.

Respecting cultural norms and traditions is also crucial. Anthropologists must be sensitive to local customs and avoid imposing their own values on the communities they study.

Lastly, ensuring confidentiality and anonymity can be challenging but essential in protecting individuals’ identities and personal information. Balancing transparency with privacy requires careful judgment and constant vigilance.”

6. How have you used quantitative data within your anthropological research?

Anthropology may be a social science, but data still plays a significant role in the field. Quantitative data can help anthropologists notice patterns that they might not have been able to otherwise, and quantify the prevalence of certain behaviors or beliefs within a community. Thus, interviewers are interested in understanding your familiarity with using such data in your research, as it can enhance the quality and reliability of your findings.

Example: “In my anthropological research, quantitative data has been crucial for providing a statistical foundation. For instance, while studying migration patterns, I used census data to understand the demographic shifts over time. This helped identify key trends and correlations.

Moreover, in ethnographic studies, I’ve employed surveys with Likert scale questions to quantify subjective aspects like beliefs or attitudes. This allowed me to analyze cultural phenomena statistically, adding depth to my qualitative observations.

Quantitative data, therefore, not only offers measurable insights but also enhances the validity of my findings by complementing qualitative data.”

7. What methods have you used to ensure cultural sensitivity and respect during your fieldwork?

Cultural sensitivity is the cornerstone of anthropology. It’s about understanding, respecting, and appreciating the differences and similarities between cultures. Your approach to fieldwork should reflect this. Interviewers want to ensure that you know how to navigate cultural dynamics delicately, with the utmost respect and understanding, as this is essential in preserving the integrity of your research and maintaining ethical standards.

Example: “In my fieldwork, I have prioritized learning the local language to communicate effectively and show respect for the community. This also aids in understanding their customs and traditions more deeply.

I’ve always sought informed consent before conducting any research activities, ensuring individuals understand their rights and participation is voluntary.

Engaging with local leaders or elders has been crucial as well, they often provide guidance on appropriate behavior within their culture.

Lastly, I continuously reflect on my own biases and assumptions to avoid imposing them on the communities I study.”

8. Describe a time when your findings challenged prevailing theories or assumptions in anthropology.

As an anthropologist, your role involves researching, questioning, and sometimes challenging established theories or ideas. An interviewer would ask this question because they want to gauge your ability to think critically, your courage to challenge the status quo, and your skills in communicating and defending your findings. It’s also a test of your knowledge of the current theories and trends in your field.

Example: “During my doctoral research, I studied the impact of globalization on indigenous cultures. The prevailing assumption was that globalization leads to a loss of cultural diversity.

However, my findings suggested otherwise. Instead of eradicating local cultures, globalization had led to their reconfiguration and adaptation. For example, traditional music forms were being infused with modern elements to appeal to a wider audience.

This challenged the notion that globalization necessarily leads to cultural homogenization. It underscored the resilience and adaptability of indigenous cultures in the face of global influences.”

9. How would you handle a situation where your research findings could potentially harm the community you’re studying?

This question is designed to assess your ethical compass and sense of responsibility towards the communities you study. As an anthropologist, you’re often entrusted with sensitive information that could have profound implications on the lives of individuals and communities. Interviewers want to see that you’re capable of handling such scenarios with integrity and respect for those you study.

Example: “In such a situation, I would prioritize the welfare of the community over my research. Ethical guidelines in anthropology mandate that we do no harm to those we study. If potential harm is identified, it’s crucial to reassess and adjust the research plan.

I’d communicate these concerns with my team and stakeholders, ensuring everyone understands the implications. It might mean altering our approach or even halting the project if necessary.

Transparency is also key. I’d engage with the community, sharing the findings and discussing potential impacts. Their input could guide us towards a solution that respects their wellbeing while still achieving scientific objectives.”

10. What steps do you take to ensure the validity and reliability of your ethnographic data?

Your ability to collect accurate and reliable data is fundamental to the field of anthropology. It’s how you contribute to the broader understanding of cultures, societies, and human behavior. The interviewer wants to understand your research process and how you ensure that your findings are both valid—accurately representing the phenomenon you’re studying—and reliable—consistently measured and not due to chance or inconsistent methods.

Example: “To ensure the validity and reliability of my ethnographic data, I employ a multi-faceted approach.

I start with thorough background research to understand the cultural context. This includes reviewing existing literature and consulting with local experts.

Next, I use triangulation methods, which involve collecting data from various sources or using different methodologies to corroborate findings. This helps eliminate bias and increases the reliability of the data.

I also prioritize reflexivity by continuously reflecting on how my own biases might influence the data collection and interpretation process.

Lastly, I maintain transparency in my work by clearly documenting all stages of the research process, making it easier for others to replicate the study or review the methodology used.”

11. Can you describe a project where you’ve had to collaborate with professionals from other disciplines?

In the realm of anthropology, cross-disciplinary collaboration is often the key to a comprehensive understanding of a research question. Whether it’s working with historians to explore cultural shifts, biologists to study human evolution, or sociologists to examine societal structures, these collaborations can provide richer, more nuanced insights. Therefore, your ability to work effectively with professionals from other disciplines can significantly enhance the value you bring to a project.

Example: “In one particular project, I collaborated with archaeologists and historians to study ancient civilizations. As an anthropologist, my focus was on understanding the cultural aspects of these societies.

Working closely with archaeologists, I interpreted artifacts in a socio-cultural context while they provided insights into their physical characteristics and uses. The historians contributed by placing our findings within a chronological framework, helping us understand societal changes over time.

This multidisciplinary approach enriched our research and led to a comprehensive understanding of the studied civilizations. It highlighted the importance of cross-disciplinary collaboration in anthropology.”

12. How have you handled disagreements or conflicts during your fieldwork?

Conflict management is a critical skill in anthropology, given the often sensitive nature of fieldwork. Anthropologists often work in diverse cultural contexts and sometimes challenging environments where disagreements or conflicts can arise. Interviewers ask this question to assess your interpersonal skills, your cultural sensitivity, and your ability to navigate complex social dynamics effectively and ethically.

Example: “In fieldwork, disagreements or conflicts are inevitable. I believe in open communication and active listening to resolve such issues. For instance, during a project involving multiple tribes, differing opinions on cultural practices led to discord.

I facilitated a dialogue where each party could express their views respectfully. By fostering an environment of mutual understanding, we were able to reach a consensus that respected all perspectives.

This approach not only resolved the conflict but also enriched our anthropological research with diverse insights.”

13. Can you discuss a time when you had to present complex anthropological concepts to a non-specialist audience?

Your ability to bridge the gap between intricate anthropological concepts and the understanding of the general public is a critical skill as an anthropologist. This question is designed to assess your communication skills and your ability to make complex ideas accessible and engaging. This is particularly important if your work involves public outreach or policy advising, where you need to clearly articulate your findings and their implications to people outside your field.

Example: “During a community outreach program, I was tasked with explaining the concept of cultural relativism. To make it relatable, I used examples from popular culture and everyday life to illustrate how different societies have their unique norms and values. I also emphasized that understanding these differences doesn’t mean agreeing with them but respecting diversity. The audience appreciated this approach as it made complex concepts accessible and engaging.”

14. What strategies have you employed to minimize researcher bias in your studies?

Researcher bias can drastically skew the results of anthropological studies, making the findings less reliable or even useless. Therefore, interviewers want to ensure that you are aware of this issue and have proactive strategies to minimize such bias. This demonstrates not only your professionalism and integrity but also your commitment to producing high-quality, trustworthy research.

Example: “In my studies, I’ve used several strategies to minimize researcher bias. One is triangulation, where I corroborate evidence from different sources or methods to build a more comprehensive understanding of the phenomenon under study.

I also practice reflexivity by constantly questioning and reflecting on my own assumptions, beliefs, and values that could potentially influence the research process.

Moreover, I employ peer debriefing, inviting colleagues to critique my work to ensure objectivity.

Lastly, I use random sampling when feasible to reduce selection bias. This ensures every individual within a population has an equal chance of being included in the study.”

15. How would you approach a situation where your personal beliefs conflict with the cultural practices you’re studying?

Diving into the depths of cultural diversity and understanding, the heart of anthropology often involves navigating unfamiliar, and sometimes uncomfortable, territories. Interviewers want to ensure you can manage personal biases and maintain professional objectivity. Your approach to handling personal beliefs conflicting with the cultural practices you’re studying reveals your ability to respect and appreciate cultural differences, a fundamental skill in the field of anthropology.

Example: “As an anthropologist, my role is to observe and understand cultures objectively. If I encounter a situation where personal beliefs conflict with cultural practices, I would prioritize professional integrity over personal bias.

It’s crucial to approach such situations with empathy and respect for cultural diversity. This doesn’t mean condoning practices that may be harmful or unethical, but rather seeking to comprehend the context in which they exist.

Remembering that anthropology seeks to illuminate human behavior without imposing judgment helps maintain objectivity. Ethical guidelines also provide a framework for navigating these complexities responsibly.”

16. How do you maintain a balance between participant observation and objective analysis in your research?

Anthropology is a delicate dance between immersion and analysis. It’s about immersing oneself in a culture or situation to understand it deeply, while also maintaining the ability to objectively analyze what’s happening. As a researcher, you’re expected to deeply respect and understand the cultures you’re studying, but you also need to be able to step back and analyze them in a broader social or historical context. This question is designed to see how you balance these two competing demands.

Example: “Maintaining a balance between participant observation and objective analysis is crucial in anthropological research. This involves immersing oneself in the culture or community being studied while also maintaining an analytical perspective.

To achieve this, I use reflexivity, continuously reflecting on my interactions and experiences to understand any biases that may influence my interpretation of data.

I also employ triangulation, using multiple sources of data or different methods to validate findings. This helps ensure objectivity and accuracy.

Lastly, I maintain regular peer debriefings where colleagues review my work. Their insights help me identify blind spots and keep my analyses grounded.”

17. Can you discuss a time when your research findings were not well received by the community you were studying?

As an anthropologist, you will often find yourself in scenarios where your research could challenge established norms, traditions, or beliefs. This question is designed to test your ability to navigate such situations with sensitivity and respect. It’s about understanding how you deal with conflict, your problem-solving skills, and your ability to communicate difficult information in a sensitive manner.

Example: “During my fieldwork in a rural community, I studied the impact of modern technology on traditional practices. My findings suggested that while technology brought convenience, it was also eroding cultural heritage.

However, when presented to the community, they were defensive and disagreed with my observations. They felt their traditions were adapting rather than disappearing.

This experience taught me the importance of sensitivity towards local perspectives during research interpretation and presentation. It’s crucial to balance academic objectivity with respect for the communities we study.”

18. How did you ensure the proper preservation and documentation of artifacts during your fieldwork?

Anthropologists are the custodians of our collective human history, and part of their job is to ensure that the artifacts they uncover are preserved for future generations. Proper documentation, including where and how an artifact was found, is also essential for interpreting its significance. Asking this question helps interviewers gauge your understanding of these foundational practices, your attention to detail, and your commitment to the ethical standards of the profession.

Example: “In my fieldwork, I ensured the preservation of artifacts by handling them with utmost care using gloves and other protective equipment. They were kept in controlled environments to maintain their integrity.

For documentation, each artifact was meticulously photographed from different angles before being cataloged with a unique identification number. Detailed notes about its condition, location, and context within the excavation site were also recorded.

I used digital databases for secure storage of this information, ensuring easy access and retrieval. This rigorous process helps maintain the historical value of each artifact and allows future researchers to build upon our findings.”

19. How have your anthropological studies influenced your understanding of global issues?

Your ability as an anthropologist to view global issues through a cultural lens is a key component of your role. With these insights, you can contribute to the development of more inclusive and effective strategies and policies. The question aims to assess your ability to apply anthropological theories and methodologies to real-world problems and your understanding of cultural diversity and human behavior.

Example: “My anthropological studies have greatly shaped my understanding of global issues. They’ve taught me the importance of viewing problems through a cultural lens, acknowledging that solutions are not one-size-fits-all due to diverse societal norms and values.

For instance, in addressing climate change, it’s crucial to consider how different cultures interact with their environment. Some may prioritize industrial growth over conservation, while others might hold deep-rooted respect for nature.

Similarly, when examining social inequality, anthropology highlights the role of cultural history in shaping power dynamics. It underscores that addressing such disparities requires more than economic solutions; it necessitates a shift in societal attitudes and prejudices.

In essence, anthropology has provided me with a holistic perspective on global issues, emphasizing the need for culturally sensitive and inclusive strategies.”

20. Discuss an instance where you used anthropological theories to predict future social or cultural trends.

The essence of anthropology is the study of human societies and cultures and their development. As an anthropologist, you’re expected to understand and apply anthropological theories to predict and analyze cultural and social trends. This question is the interviewer’s way of gauging your ability to use your anthropological knowledge practically, and how you can apply these theories to real-world situations.

Example: “In my research on digital culture, I used the theory of cultural materialism to predict the rise of virtual reality (VR) as a significant social trend. Cultural materialism posits that technological and economic factors often drive societal changes. Recognizing the rapid advancements in VR technology and its decreasing cost, I theorized that it would soon permeate everyday life.

Indeed, we’ve seen VR’s influence grow in various sectors like gaming, education, and even real estate. This prediction not only demonstrated the applicability of anthropological theories but also emphasized the importance of understanding technological trends within their broader socio-cultural contexts.”

21. How do you keep up with the latest advancements and theories in anthropology?

This is asked to gauge your passion and commitment to staying informed in your field. Anthropology, like any science, constantly evolves as new discoveries are made and theories are refined. It’s essential for anthropologists to stay updated with the latest research, theories, and methods in order to stay relevant and contribute effectively to the field. This question also allows the interviewer to assess your research habits and learning strategies.

Example: “Staying updated is crucial in anthropology. I regularly read scholarly articles from top-tier journals like American Anthropologist and Annual Review of Anthropology. These provide insights into the latest research findings and theoretical advancements.

I also attend conferences, such as those organized by the American Anthropological Association, to engage with other professionals and learn about their work firsthand.

Moreover, I follow several anthropology-focused blogs and podcasts that discuss current issues and developments in a more accessible format. This helps me stay connected with broader trends and public discourse around anthropological topics.”

22. What experience do you have with grant writing and fundraising for anthropological research?

The crux of this question lies in the fact that anthropological research often relies heavily on funding from grants and other sources. Therefore, having experience and skill in grant writing and fundraising could be critical for the successful execution of research projects. Employers want to know if you have the ability to secure necessary funds, which is a vital part of the job.

Example: “I have extensive experience in grant writing and fundraising for anthropological research. I’ve successfully secured grants from both governmental bodies and private foundations. My approach involves a thorough understanding of the project’s needs, meticulous research to identify potential funding sources, and crafting compelling proposals that highlight the significance of our work.

In terms of fundraising, I’ve organized events, initiated crowdfunding campaigns, and built partnerships with relevant organizations. This multifaceted strategy has consistently enabled me to meet or exceed fundraising goals.”

23. Can you describe a time when you had to reassess your research goals due to unforeseen challenges in the field?

This question is a way for hiring panels to assess your adaptability and problem-solving skills. Fieldwork is a fundamental part of anthropology, and it’s often unpredictable. Conditions can change rapidly, and researchers must be able to adjust their plans on the fly. By asking this question, interviewers hope to gauge how you handle unexpected obstacles and whether you can keep your research on track in the face of adversity.

Example: “During my fieldwork in a remote village, I initially planned to study the impact of modernization on local traditions. However, upon arrival, I noticed an increasing tension between different ethnic groups due to resource scarcity, which was overlooked in previous studies.

I decided to shift my research focus towards these inter-ethnic relations and their connection to resource allocation. This allowed me to provide more relevant insights into the community’s current issues rather than focusing solely on traditional practices. It was a challenging decision but ultimately led to a more impactful research outcome.”

24. Describe a project where you had to use digital technology or software in your anthropological research.

The realm of anthropology is becoming increasingly digitized, with researchers leveraging technology to collect and analyze data, collaborate with other scientists, and present their findings in engaging ways. By asking this question, employers want to assess your familiarity with digital tools and software relevant to the field, and understand how you can incorporate technology into your research approach to enhance its quality and reach.

Example: “One project involved using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to map and analyze spatial data from an archaeological site. I collected GPS coordinates of artifacts during fieldwork, then used GIS software to visualize their distribution.

This digital technology allowed us to identify patterns in artifact placement, providing insights into the social organization and cultural practices of the community we were studying. The use of such software greatly enhanced our research capabilities by allowing a more nuanced understanding of the data.”

25. How do you ensure your personal safety and well-being during extended periods of fieldwork in remote locations?

Your safety and well-being is a top priority in any job, but especially in anthropology where you may be conducting fieldwork in remote or potentially hazardous locations. Interviewers need to know that you’re aware of the risks and have strategies in place to manage them. They want to ensure that you can take care of yourself, contribute positively to a team, and complete your research without causing harm to yourself, others, or the environment.

Example: “Ensuring personal safety during fieldwork involves a multi-pronged approach. Prior to departure, I thoroughly research the area’s geography, climate, and potential hazards. This helps me pack appropriate gear and take necessary vaccines or medications.

On-site, I maintain regular communication with my home base, providing updates on my location and status. If possible, I also try to work in pairs or groups for added security.

I also prioritize self-care, ensuring adequate sleep, nutrition, and hydration. Mental well-being is equally important, so I practice mindfulness techniques to manage stress and isolation.

In emergencies, I’m trained in basic first aid and always carry a kit. Lastly, respecting local customs and establishing good relationships with community members often ensures additional protection and assistance.”

26. How have you incorporated local knowledge or indigenous methodologies in your research?

In the realm of anthropology, understanding and respecting local knowledge and indigenous methodologies is key. This question is asked to gauge your cultural sensitivity, your ability to collaborate with diverse communities, and your willingness to incorporate non-Western perspectives into your research. This reflects the modern shift in anthropology towards a more inclusive, respectful approach that values the knowledge and methodologies of the cultures being studied.

Example: “Incorporating local knowledge in my research has been crucial. For instance, while studying the cultural practices of a tribe in Africa, I engaged with community leaders and elders to gain insights into their customs. This engagement allowed me to understand the nuances of their culture better.

Indigenous methodologies have also played a significant role in shaping my research approach. In a project on Amazonian tribes, I adopted participatory observation methods, living within the community for several months. This immersion helped me gather data from an insider’s perspective, adding depth to my findings.

Both these experiences underscored the importance of respecting and learning from indigenous wisdom, which is often overlooked in mainstream anthropology.”

27. Can you discuss a time when you used anthropological insights to inform policy or decision-making?

As an anthropologist, your unique perspective and research skills are often utilized to influence public policy, corporate decisions, or other impactful choices. Interviewers want to see how you’ve applied your anthropological knowledge in a real-world context to make a significant impact. Your ability to connect anthropological insights to practical outcomes demonstrates your value as a potential hire.

Example: “During a project with a multinational corporation, I utilized anthropological insights to understand the cultural dynamics of their diverse workforce. The company was facing issues in team cohesion and productivity due to cultural misunderstandings among employees.

I conducted ethnographic research within the organization, observing interactions, conducting interviews, and analyzing patterns. This helped me identify key cultural differences causing friction.

Based on my findings, I recommended policy changes that included cross-cultural training programs and modifications in communication protocols. These recommendations were implemented and resulted in improved teamwork and increased productivity.”

28. How have you handled situations where you were unable to communicate effectively with the community you were studying?

The question is designed to evaluate your problem-solving skills and adaptability in challenging situations. As an anthropologist, you’re likely to work with diverse communities—some of which may have language barriers or cultural nuances that could pose communication challenges. Your ability to navigate these obstacles can determine the success of your research or project.

Example: “In situations where communication was challenging, I leveraged local translators and cultural guides. They helped me understand the nuances of the community’s language and customs.

I also utilized non-verbal cues and body language to communicate effectively. Patience and active listening were key in these scenarios.

Moreover, I engaged in immersive learning by participating in their daily activities which fostered trust and opened up channels for better communication.”

29. Can you describe a project where you had to analyze complex social networks or kinship systems?

Anthropology is all about understanding the complex social interactions and structures that make up human societies. Whether you’re studying ancient cultures or modern day communities, you’ll likely have to navigate intricate social networks and kinship systems. Interviewers want to know that you can take on these complex tasks, analyze data effectively, and present your findings in a clear and understandable way.

Example: “In my doctoral research, I studied the social networks of a remote indigenous community in Papua New Guinea. Using ethnographic methods and network analysis tools, I mapped out relationships based on shared rituals, exchanges, and kinship ties.

The complexity arose from non-linear and multi-layered connections. For example, an individual could be linked to another through both blood relations and participation in communal hunting activities.

My analysis revealed that these overlapping networks were crucial for maintaining social cohesion and managing resources within the community. This project required careful data collection, rigorous analysis, and sensitivity to cultural nuances.”

30. How have you dealt with the psychological impact of prolonged immersion in a different culture during your fieldwork?

This question is essential because being an anthropologist often involves immersing oneself in cultures vastly different from one’s own. The hiring manager wants to understand how you handle the emotional and psychological stress of adapting to a new environment, away from the comforts and familiarities of your own culture. It’s also key to know how you manage to maintain objectivity in your research despite these challenges.

Example: “During my fieldwork, I’ve experienced significant cultural immersion. To manage the psychological impact, I focused on maintaining balance and perspective.

I practiced self-care by ensuring regular communication with family and friends back home. This helped me stay connected to my roots while exploring new cultures.

I also sought local support networks within the community I was studying. Building relationships not only enriched my research but provided emotional support as well.

Understanding that culture shock is a normal part of the process was crucial. Accepting this allowed me to navigate challenges more effectively.

Lastly, keeping a reflective journal assisted in processing experiences and emotions. It served as an outlet for expressing thoughts and feelings during the intense periods of adaptation.”

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How to Answer the 2024-25 Common App Essay Questions

anthropology essay questions and answers

An outstanding college essay can be the x-factor that gets you accepted to the school of your choice – particularly if you’re hoping to attend a prestigious university . As the emphasis on test scores declines , recent data shows that over 56% of colleges place considerable or moderate importance on students’ supplemental essays. So the Common Application, with its variety of essay prompts , can help you showcase your personality, achievements, and aspirations. 

While writing essays about yourself may be an art form, how you approach your answer can be more scientific. Here are our best strategies to select and answer the Common App essay questions for the 2023-2024 admissions year. 

How do you know which prompt to pick? 

Before you start brainstorming, consider the following criteria to choose an essay topic.

  • Instinct – When writing a college essay made its way onto your to-do list , was there a personal story that jumped to mind? If so, test out how it feels to trust that instinct. Is there a prompt that this idea aligns with? 
  • Passion – Can you write about this topic with excitement? If you’re leaning toward a topic because it feels like the one you “should” choose rather than one you’re amped about, don’t fall for that common mistake . Admissions officers read a ton of essays. If you’re not passionate about your subject matter, it’ll be clear. 
  • Understanding – While the Common App essay questions seem fairly straightforward, ensure you understand your prompt and can answer all parts of it. Another mistake students make is forcing something they want to talk about into an existing essay topic. If you have an idea that doesn’t address one of their specific questions, consider prompt 7, which allows you free rein to explore the topic of your choice.
  • Dimension – Does your essay give insight into who you are, outside of your GPA, extracurriculars, and letters of recommendation? For example, if you were the captain of your school’s varsity soccer team, an essay about soccer may not be your best choice.

The Common App Essay Topics 

According to a study from Yale , the most important thing to college admissions officers isn’t which prompt you choose, but that you write a great essay. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind:

  • Craft a compelling, cohesive narrative that relates back to who you are as a person and a student. 
  • Be honest , and don’t embellish details nor use AI .
  • Avoid clichés that college counselors have seen before .
  • Start early , and give yourself plenty of time to perfect your essay.
  • Proofread your essay , and ask a friend, teacher, or family member to read it too. 

Common App Prompt #1: Identity essay 

“Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.”

Students who have a unique aspect of their identity that isn’t otherwise represented in their application might enjoy this prompt. And remember: identity doesn’t just mean your ethnic background. 

  • Choose an aspect of your identity that makes you who you are. Are you the first in your family to go to college? Were you educated outside of a traditional school system? Are you a member of a religious group that has shaped your worldview? Each of these examples represents an aspect of identity that might be interesting to explore.
  • Be specific about your background, identity, or interest that you’ve chosen. Explain how your personal experience deviates from the norm. 
  • Describe the impact of this facet of your identity on who you are. Reflect on how this has related to your growth and perspective on yourself, your community, and your future. For example, if English wasn’t your first language, how did learning the language influence your interests? Did you turn to movies and television and discover a love of cinema that influenced you to pursue a career in entertainment? 

Get your creative juices flowing by reading other Common App essay prompt 1 examples that worked.

Common App Prompt #2: Overcoming obstacles essay 

“The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?”

Don’t think you can only write on this topic if you’ve experienced some type of significant hardship. No matter who you are or where you’re from, you’ve had to overcome obstacles to get to where you are today. Adversity breeds resilience, which is a great quality to highlight to a college admissions committee. 

  • Identify an obstacle that has impacted you. Think back on experiences that required you to persevere. This could be something big, like the loss of a parent or a natural disaster, or something less severe, like a failing grade on an important assignment or losing an election for class president. 
  • Detail the experience and your role in it. How did you feel when you first encountered this challenge? If you were overwhelmed or scared, be honest. Specificity around details, emotions, and your mindset will create empathy and paint a full picture. Then, complete the story. How did this event unfold? How did your mindset shift? 
  • Highlight what you learned and your eventual success. As you brainstorm, make a list of your takeaways. If you experienced a major illness, did you find a renewed sense of gratitude for your physical health? Then, connect your learnings to some success. If you got fired from a part-time job, did the experience help you identify the career path you actually want to pursue and put you in a position to pursue it? 

Study up on how other determined students have aced Common App essay prompt 2 . 

Common App Prompt #3: Individuality essay 

“Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?”

College campuses are full of students who are eager to expand their horizons and reassess previously held worldviews. If this sounds like you, prompt three might be perfect. 

  • Choose a belief or idea that you questioned at some point. This could be anything from your approach to mental health, to your perspective on gender roles or religious beliefs. Explain why you held this belief and the importance of this idea in your life. 
  • Explain what prompted you to explore . Was it a book? An article? A conversation with a teacher? Describe the scene – what happened, where you were, and how you felt.
  • Detail the experience of your reflection . Did you turn to books to better understand the other side of this issue? Did you engage in conversation with people who thought differently from you? Get into the weeds of your exploration.
  • Present your conclusion . If you changed your perspective, what was the evidence that caused this shift? And if you discovered an even greater sense of certainty around your original opinion, how does that feel? Or, if you’re still not sure but continuing to explore, that’s a great answer, too.

Read how other curious high school students explored beliefs in Common App Prompt #3 essay examples . 

Common App Prompt #4: The gratitude essay 

“Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?”

Gratitude can be a powerful source of motivation, particularly when we’re feeling defeated or down. If you’ve experienced an act of kindness that impacted your life in some significant way, reflect on it in prompt #4.

  • Pinpoint an act of kindness that someone has done on your behalf. This could be something monumental, like a family member donating an organ, or a small, everyday gesture, like a stranger paying for your coffee. 
  • Set the stage for your story. What happened? Why did you need this act of kindness? If you ran out of gas in the middle of the highway, what did that feel like? Then, present the act of kindness in as much detail as you can while staying within the word limit. What prompted the kind stranger to pull over with their gas can? What conversation ensued? 
  • Explore your gratitude and reflect upon how the experience affected you. Did this random act of kindness change your perspective? Did you pay it forward through community service? Show how this experience caused you to change in some way, big or small. Don’t stop at gratitude; push yourself to action. 

Read about times other high school students felt inspired by the empathy shown to them.

Common App Prompt #5: The personal growth essay 

“Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.”

High school is a period of deep personal growth. Use this prompt to highlight ways you’ve grown that might not be captured by your GPA or extracurricular activities. 

  • Reflect on periods of personal growth and pinpoint the events that might have triggered them. Make a list of these types of occurrences. For example, traveling abroad to a new country, being selected to write for the school newspaper, or overcoming a fear of public speaking to compete in a debate. 
  • Narrate your experience . You might think of this as your “before” and “during” snapshot. If you weren’t the best student in your science class, but had an exciting hypothesis to tackle in a science fair project, describe how you approached this project. Then, tell the reader about what happened. Did you succeed? Did you fail? Did you uncover a new skill?  
  • Expand on your shift in perspective and how this experience caused you to look at yourself and those around you differently. Think of this as your “after.” If your project went on to win your local science fair, how did this shift your view of your scientific abilities? Underline how you grew from this experience and how it shaped your perspective. 

For inspiration, here are examples of Essay #5 responses from high school students just like you. 

Common App Prompt #6: The passion essay 

“Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?”

Every student, no matter their GPA or collegiate aspirations, has a hobby or pastime they enjoy. Are you particularly passionate about yours? Take this opportunity to write about it, particularly if your passion is unique.

  • List the things you love . Ideally, your greatest passion came to mind as soon as you read this prompt. But if you have an affinity for more than one thing, make a list. This could be anything from making pottery to playing chess or trying out new recipes in the kitchen.
  • Explain why you have such an affinity for this hobby or pastime. Delve into the history behind this passion. How did you first get interested in rescuing animals? Did a parent or mentor expose you to this work? Did the experience of finding a lonely cat on the street spark your passion? 
  • Expand upon your learning process and how you developed your knowledge of this topic. If you love astronomy, what steps did you take to learn about the night sky and types of stars? Did you immerse yourself in YouTube videos about space? Or visit local observatories? Demonstrate your thirst for knowledge and ability to self-motivate. 

Read other passionate essays here that have captivated admissions officers. 

Common App Prompt #7: Topic of your choice 

“Share an essay on any topic of your choice . It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt , or one of your own design.”

Prompt 7 can be divisive. For some, this open-ended prompt is a great opportunity to write a unique, personal essay. Since there are no rules (other than the word limit), there are several ways to approach Prompt 7.

You could choose a topic that is unique to you, write a personal statement, or tell a compelling story that has some broader appeal. Or, you could think totally outside the box and turn your essay into a screenplay, newspaper article, or other artistic form. 

If you’re considering this prompt, try not to recycle an essay you’ve previously written for a high school class. The admissions officer will recognize your junior year English essay on Othello and, most likely, will find this choice lazy. Moreover, the Common App essays are meant to offer insight into who you are – not how you perform academically. 

That said, this prompt does offer you the opportunity to reuse a prior essay as a base and then tweak it. Just be careful. The college admissions process is high-stakes. Don’t ruin your chances because you’re trying to save time on your essay. 

To find inspiration, check out other students’ essays on Prompt 7 . 

Pay less for college with Going Merry

The Common App essays give students an opportunity to inject some personality into their college applications. No matter which prompt you choose, write with passion and honesty. And then recycle some of those essays in your scholarship applications on Going Merry , to win some cash for college.  Going Merry is a comprehensive college prep platform that helps students get into college and afford it without student loans. We provide tips to make your college applications shine; we curate thousands of high-quality scholarships and help you win them; and we make it easier to compare colleges through our (free!) college cost insights tool. Take the next step to realizing your collegiate aspirations when you sign up for Going Merry today .

Disclaimer: This blog post provides personal finance educational information, and it is not intended to provide legal, financial, or tax advice.

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  1. Anthropology Essay: A Complete Guide, Topics, and Examples

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    anthropology essay questions and answers

  3. Philosophy , questions and answers

    anthropology essay questions and answers

  4. Exam 11 march 2016, questions and answers

    anthropology essay questions and answers

  5. Anthropology Essay Questions

    anthropology essay questions and answers

  6. Anthropology Essay Questions

    anthropology essay questions and answers


  1. Cultural Anthropology (सांस्कृतिक मानवशास्त्र)

  2. 60 Days Answer Writing Challenge for Anthropology

  3. 60 Days Answer Writing Challenge for Anthropology


  5. Important Questions of Anthropology #net #upsc #anthropology #ug #pg

  6. Introduction of GCE A/L Physics for beginners


  1. Anthropology Essay Questions

    AI Quiz. AI Quiz. 17 1. 17 1. A) Define cultural r elativism, ethnocentrism and historical particularism and give some. examples of each concept fr om class materials or your perso nal experiences. the same respect. One culture is not better than the other and they all have their unique. characteristics that make them special.

  2. Anthropology 1000, Unit One (Questions & Answers) Flashcards

    This means that we have... 2) many options (cultural diversity) lots of ways of being happy, being successful, allows for cultural diversity, which is the source of our success. 3) Cultural Anthropology. Explain how the Woman's movement of the late 60's and early 70's became part of the Nature vs. Nurture debate.

  3. ANTH 100-2011: Final Exam Essay Questions

    Part 2 is 20 points with each essay question worth 10 points. Three of the following five questions will be included on the final exam. On exam day you will have a choice to answer two of the three essay questions. ... Discuss how the four original sub-disciplines of anthropology (socio-cultural, linguistic, archaeological, and biological ...

  4. PDF A Student's Guide to Reading and Writing in Social Anthropology

    topic. Most of the essays/journal articles you will read in your classes will probably fall into a handful of categories discussed below. Programmatic essays. These essays examine one or more theoretical issues in anthropology and suggest new directions for future research. For instance,

  5. Cultural Anthropology Exam 2 Essay Questions Flashcards

    The organization has to solve the problems in a habitat this is done by. 1. The division of labor whether it be by sex or by age. Example of this is the Masai in which the males usually spend more time handling the cattle while the women take care of the domestic things. 2.

  6. Anthropology Exam #1 Flashcards

    The process of learning to be a. member of one's own society; the process of. creating certain types of social beings. Anthropology. The study of human biological and cultural variation across space and time. Social science. Psychology, Sociology, Political science, etc. Holistic. Concerning the whole rather than the parts.

  7. Anthropology Questions and Answers

    Anthropology Questions and Answers - Discover the community of teachers, mentors and students just like you that can answer any question you might have on Anthropology

  8. Mini Essay Questions

    Mini Essay Questions. The mini essay questions adapt material from: Perspectives: An Open Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, 2nd Edition by Nina Brown, Thomas McIlwraith, Laura Tubelle de González licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, LICENSE.

  9. Anthropology 101 (Leshkowich): Study Guide Questions

    Anthropology 101 (Leshkowich): Study Guide Questions. Study-Guide Essay Questions for the Final Exam. Format of the Final Exam: The final exam consists of three parts: PART 1 (20 points): Identify 5 out of 8 terms chosen from the list circulated in class and posted to the website. For each term, explain what it means and where it comes from (1. ...

  10. PDF Social Anthropology UG Essay Writing Guide

    Essays are answers to questions, eg. the question for your supervision topic provided by your supervisor and accompanied by a list of suggested readings. You should bear in mind that in Social Anthropology the answer to a question is an argument. In some subjects, for example in regard to some issues in social theory, the arguments might need

  11. Introduction to Anthropology

    Designed to meet the scope and sequence of your course, OpenStax Introduction to Anthropology is a four-field text integrating diverse voices, engaging field activities, and meaningful themes like Indigenous experiences and social inequality to engage students and enrich learning. The text showcases the historical context of the discipline, with a strong focus on anthropology as a living and ...

  12. Ch. 7 Critical Thinking Questions

    1.1 The Study of Humanity, or "Anthropology Is Vast" 1.2 The Four-Field Approach: Four Approaches within the Guiding Narrative; 1.3 Overcoming Ethnocentrism; 1.4 Western Bias in Our Assumptions about Humanity; 1.5 Holism, Anthropology's Distinctive Approach; 1.6 Cross-Cultural Comparison and Cultural Relativism; 1.7 Reaching for an Insider ...

  13. How to Write an Essay: A Guide for Anthropologists

    This paragraph opens your essay. It needs to grab the reader's attention. You can use an anecdote, a story, or a shocking fact. Paint a picture to put the reader in a special time and place with you. Resist the temptation to rely on stereotypes or often-used scenes. Provide something novel and compelling.

  14. 100+ Anthropology Essay Topics and Ideas

    Ritual-based Anthropology Essay Topics. Rituals form the backbone of many cultures. Delve into these topics: The essence of ritual efficacy. The intersection of magic and science. The linkage between myths and rites. Global variations in marriage rituals. Childbirth rituals across cultures. Death ceremonies worldwide.

  15. Top Questions

    Have you ever wondered what questions we have received and answered over the years? You are not alone. Others have wondered the same thing. We have sorted through our collection of queries and are listing a few of our top questions and answers.We hope you enjoy them.

  16. Anthropology Exam 1 Essay Questions Flashcards

    Anthropology Exam 1 Essay Questions. 1. What does a biological anthropologist do? Discuss the types of research these anthropologists conduct and the range of skills needed to pursue their studies. How does the approach of biological anthropology differ from that of other natural sciences, such as genetics, medicine, or chemistry? Click the ...

  17. Anthropology, Questions And Answers

    Essay about Anthropology Cold Water, directed by Noriko Ogami is a documentary from 1986 about cross-cultural adaptation and culture shock. It is about diving into a new culture and having it feel, as one foreign student puts it, like a "plunge into cold water."

  18. Final Exam Questions and Answers

    Essay Question: For a total of 11 marks. Instructions: The page limit for answering this question is 3 typed double-spaced pages (approximately 250 words per page) in a 12-point font. The minimum requirement for this exam essay question is 1 pages. As you will have had this essay question for a number of weeks prior to the exam the essay answer ...

  19. 153 questions with answers in CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY

    9 answers. Feb 24, 2021. Female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) Female genital mutilation or female genital cutting are used interchangeably. However, this practice is practised in many ...

  20. 30 Anthropologist Interview Questions and Answers

    Interviewers ask this question to assess your interpersonal skills, your cultural sensitivity, and your ability to navigate complex social dynamics effectively and ethically. Example: "In fieldwork, disagreements or conflicts are inevitable. I believe in open communication and active listening to resolve such issues.

  21. IB Anthropology 6 big anthropological questions Flashcards

    IB Anthropology 6 big anthropological questions. What are some ideas about when we acquire personhood? Click the card to flip 👆. We develop an aspect of personhood before we are born, with either biological ideas about personhood or by hearing it's culture (language, knowledge). Religious ideas surrounding when we become a person (when in ...

  22. 33 Anthropology Quizzes, Questions, Answers & Trivia

    The First Semester Anthropology Quiz. There are now four major fields of anthropology: biological anthropology, cultural anthropology, linguistic anthropology, and archaeology. Each focus on a different set of research interests and generally uses different... Questions: 16 | Attempts: 3878 | Last updated: Mar 22, 2023.

  23. Anthropology test 1 questions and answers

    25 of 25. Quiz yourself with questions and answers for Anthropology test 1 questions and answers, so you can be ready for test day. Explore quizzes and practice tests created by teachers and students or create one from your course material.

  24. How to Answer the 2024-25 Common App Essay Questions

    Common App Prompt #7: Topic of your choice. "Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.". Prompt 7 can be divisive. For some, this open-ended prompt is a great opportunity to write a unique, personal essay.