10 Research Essay Topics on Applied Anthropology

Topics and ideas
Posted on December 14, 2015

If you are writing a research essay on applied anthropology, there are many great facts that you can use to help your work. Below you will find a short list of helpful facts on applied anthropology:

  1. Applied anthropology requires individuals to use research and data methods and tools to solve current issues in the world. This field applies the study of human beings in terms of biology, language, culture, and behaviors so as to better understand each variant. Individuals in this field have to use ethnography, observation and data collection to better understand another culture or person.
  2. Through the presentation of anthropological information, one person can review and observe the differences, comparisons, and evolutionary information pertaining to another person or another group. From that they are able to garner a more holistic ideology or viewpoint about humans.
  3. Those who work professionally in this field work under the Society for Applied Anthropology which defines the field as one where scientific investigation is used to better understand and relate groups of humans to one another. Through that study those working in the field are encouraged to apply principles of each group of people to help them deal with practical problems.
  4. Having an interpreter who fills the position directly above the doctor in a medical facility will allow the doctor to gain better results with many East Asian cultures. The interpreter in this scenario functions as a cultural leader as well, helping to define not only phrases but practices by the doctor toward the physician. With the Hmong people, the father or grandfather fills the seat of highest respect and each person in the family has a rank, but given that the youngest, second generate daughters are often the ones who speak the most English, doctors tend to make the mistake of addressing them directly so that they can translate. This is seen as insulting to the highest level as the doctor speaks to the person in the family with the lowest social standing and ignores the person with the highest. Having interpreters around who can function as cultural liaisons can mitigate this risk.
  5. Ethnology is a subfield which focuses on the study of the culture. Biology or physical study is another subfield which focuses on the biological or physical differences among people. Archeology is a third subfield which focuses on the study of archeological sites and findings, often in relation to groups of people who are no longer living or who have migrated throughout the centuries. The final subfield is that of linguistics which focuses on the linguistic changes between different groups of people. This final subfield can be used to track the linguistic changes over time in different communities and countries, tracing the influence that another group might have had. This can reveal the migration patterns or the trade expansion of one group to others. Different African communities along a well-known trade highway might each exhibit a few Arabic words, which imply that they had trade with Arabic people who clearly took that road to travel to the African communities.
  6. The application of anthropology will generally use all four subfields if possible to help businesses, corporations, and governments provide perspectives that are not naturally found in those fields. The human data brought by an anthropologist to law enforcement, or the creation of public policy, or even western medicine can develop a view of what things could have been, what things are, and how to advance communication and understanding between them. The Hmong people, for example, had issues with the law during the 1990’s because they would not administer medications to their children the way the hospital prescribed. However, explaining the laws does not always come easily especially when the belief systems of the Hmong interfere with any ability to find a correct translation. If a child was intubated and needed to be fed through the tube, the parents might not understand the risk of asphyxiation and instead think that the doctors are trying to harm the child. Even with the help of a remedial translator, there are not words in the Hmong language for many of the medicinal and health problems or solutions in Western medicine due to the fact that the Hmong only have one main type of ailment, which is when a bad soul or dab has interfered with that person. This is where applied anthropologists would take their knowledge of the Hmong beliefs and language and then create a middle ground for educating them about western medicine requirements.
  7. Anthropologists today are hired as cultural brokers, to help mediate government negotiations or business deals or even regular medical exchanges as mentioned above between two cultures. They are often the person who will explain how a CEO, for example, should dress before meeting with a new client in another country, as well as who to address first, how to address them, when to sit/stand and where, whether or not to bring a gift and if so what type of gift, what should be printed on the business card, etc…
  8. Other roles fulfilled include working as a program developer for administrative goals, researching specific goals for companies or organizations working in other countries or with other cultures, and fulfilling corporate employee tasks.
  9. The study of the human race is broken down into three key components. The first component is a holistic one, the second is the analysis of the cultural and the biological development of humans, and the third is the evolution of all things such as cultures, language, and biology. The first component analyzed cultural and biological development in a holistic fashion, more broad in function. The second component can examine differences between various cultural groups to showcase the internal or external differences. But another application is to look over the internal and external differences between members of the same group. The third component is one which helps anthropologists to see how humans have changed and adapted over time.
  10. The comprehension of how other groups function and interact with one another, helps groups of people to see what they have in common with diverse groups. It also helps people understand how culture and humans influence other cultures and how they can change the environment in which they live.

These are great and helpful facts that can be used in research essay writing on applied anthropology in real life. You can also make use of suggested topics on this sphere of studies and consult the writing guidelines on research essays. Use everything you can to produce an excellent paper!

Eddy, Elizabeth M., and William L. Partridge. Applied anthropology in America. New York: Columbia University Press, 1978.
Ervin, Alexander M. Applied anthropology: tools and perspectives for contemporary practice. Allyn & Bacon, 2005.
Foster, George McClelland. Applied anthropology. Boston: Little, Brown, 1969.
POLICY, TOWARDS AN ANTHROPOLOGY OF. “A new field of anthropology.” Anthropology of Policy: Perspectives on Governance and Power (1997): 1.
Shackel, Paul A., and Erve Chambers. Places in mind: Public archaeology as applied anthropology. Psychology Press, 2004.
Scheper-Hughes, Nancy. “Three propositions for a critically applied medical anthropology.” Social Science & Medicine 30.2 (1990): 189-197.
Van Willigen, John. Applied anthropology: an introduction. Greenwood Publishing group, 2002.

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