How to Write a Composition Essay in Anthropology: Your Must-Read Guide

Writing guide
Posted on October 6, 2020

No matter what others say about their experience of writing essays, it all has nothing to do with reality if students clearly understand the goal of the paper. Usually, professors assign this task to check how one thinks critically. The language stylistics, topical vocabulary, supporting evidence and facts, and one’s personal opinion about the selected topic are the features a curator strives to see in essays. However, there are many other reasons why you should write it.

First off, it helps to exercise writing skills. If you are only a freshman, dozens of papers are yet to come, and they won’t differ much from a composition. If you are about to graduate, the future occupation, most probably, will make you deal with writing as well. So, why don’t you take it as an experience rather than a college burden?

A composition essay is a type of paper that does not really have strict requirements for its composition. In most cases, students are free to share their opinions or thoughts. However, in some narrow groups, this paper is divided into four subtypes, descriptive, argumentative, expository, and narrative. They should not be considered as categories because writers often involve all of them in one essay.

For example, descriptive deals with describing characteristics, people, objects, subjects in detail. Argumentative is for persuading someone or proving the selected topic or object is worth attention. Expository can be referred somehow to a compare and contrast essay with a detailed explanation of the subject. And, finally, the narrative tells one story. That’s not tough at all.

A Few Ideas on Topics for a Composition Essay in Anthropology

Those who are enrolled in anthropological studies have various feedback about this subject, some find it boring, some interesting but hard to study. It is a common practice when one makes forehanded conclusions about failing essay because what is the sense of trying if there is no interest. So, such students give in even before taking a pen. Now, let’s try to understand how this subject can become more engaging. What is Anthropology?

Anthropology is the study of people, their behavior, language, thinking, mentality, racial distinctions, and so on. So, it is not just about biological characteristics, and you are not at the Anatomy class to speak of the organs and systems. The same, this subject concerns the history of humanity, and students can already find some topics for different ages and eras. And, most importantly, it involves hidden gems such as a study of particular societies, closed communities, and dangerous tribes.

Thus, one has a wide range of options to write about. Otherwise, a student can rely on the syllabus where preferred topics are mentioned. Or, discuss with a professor what is desirable to cover for a composition essay. For your convenience, find the following topics that might help you reveal the creativity and get an excellent grade.

  • Closed and Wild Tribes;
  • Body Modification Before and Now;
  • Subculture Groups: Why Do They Disappear?;
  • Taboos in Human Perception: What Can Be Considered Odd?;
  • Polygamy: Is It Appropriate?
  • Burial Processes in Stone Age and Today;
  • Religious Beliefs in the US and European People;
  • Why People Face so Many Incurable Illnesses?
  • Racism;
  • Interracial Couples in the Middle-East Countries;
  • Traditions of Ancient Civilizations;
  • The Role of Women Before and Now;
  • Political Correctness: Why Is Important?
  • Medical Anthropology;
  • Humans as the Most Dreadful Animal.

As you may see the diversity of topics scares. Do not go for easy-manageable options, they will take little time only to finish, and a professor may hesitate about your profound research or analysis of the theme. The same, avoid plagiarizing, many online tools can detect such intentions, and you won’t have a chance to rewrite it anymore. Now, let’s move on to the structure.

How to Write a Composition Essay in Anthropology: Preparation Stage

A composition essay is better to start with the outline. There are no complicated instructions and headaches but free writing of everything coming to one’s mind. Take a paper and pen, and draw the scheme. Otherwise, print a sample and make notes near the headings.

To succeed in this process, spend some time on research. For example, if a student selects the Closed and Wild Tribes topic, it is necessary to seek for evidence. It is strictly forbidden to discuss a subject without knowing it inside out. Online platforms and basic preparation tips will come in handy.

  1. YouTube. This service daily posts thousands of irrelevant videos just for entertainment. However, there are channels like National Geographic that post documentaries dedicated to countries or various studies. By watching videos try to note down the prominent distinctions of tribes, overview their people’s behavior and cultural values. At least, an essay will be based on some materials;
  2. Social Networks. It might sound crazy but try to find people who reside next to the locations of your interest. If they are open to communication, ask them supporting questions. For instance, find out the truth of those tribes, and check either they are closed for real or it is a lure for tourists;
  3. Read books dedicated to tribes. Many historians have had a chance to reside in such tribes to learn their lifestyle or rituals. Essays based on books are evaluated the most rather than the ones focused only on online materials. So, spend some time in the library and find who are the discoverers.

With all the collected information, try to systematize and structure the outline. As far as a composition essay is mostly assigned with 500-800 words, make sure you will have sufficient information to complete a task without adding senseless details. This trick is used by many students who run out of words and start writing anything just to reach the required word count.

Another helpful tip concerns the question – So, What? Once you gathered approximate info for an essay, ask yourself So, What? to any facts or evidence, you are going to attach. It helps to eliminate biased, stereotyped or well-known useless material. Otherwise, this question will persecute a reader who will evaluate your work. Now, it is high time for the actual structure.

How to Write a Composition Essay in Anthropology? Guide to Structure

There are three key elements only, introduction, main body, and conclusion. If one managed to involve all of them, it is half the battle.


Remember, it is a slight touching of the topic, where a student prepares a reader, gives him an idea about the issue, and explains the purpose of writing. A thesis is the heart of the introduction. Luckily, professors must acknowledge all the works, but if one writes an essay for the other targeted audience, and a thesis is weak, there are small chances someone will read a work.

Regarding the Anthropology subject, one can also raise an important question that is impossible to answer at once. And, that will provoke a reader to learn the issue more profoundly. For such purposes, a hook is greatly recommended. Commonly, it is one-two sentences aimed for food for thought.

All in all, this part should not exceed 100-150 words if an essay is for 800 words total. Otherwise, an introduction may be mistaken for the main body.

Main Body

This part consists of three to five subparagraphs. The first one will argue or support the thesis the most. It is a kind of transition from what one stated in the thesis to start writing the main part.

Do not reveal the results at the beginning but provide a background for the following research. For example, if Closed and Wild Tribes topic was based mostly on documentaries, mention that you took evidence from such materials. Besides, do not forget to indicate that it is the only way to get to know closer such communities as far as they do not accept any communications.

The second, third, fourth subparagraphs will deal with the research itself. A student should step by step explain the points by decorating them with examples, and explanations. Each part should be logically ended. Ideally, it has a few 5-7 sentences that first introduce the point, and then finalize the results or impact. Students do not have to forget that everything they write should directly relate to Anthropology. Try to emphasize the impact of closed territories with tribes on nearby communities, and cities. It will demonstrate that some populations are not yet ready to cooperate or become friendly.

The last subparagraphs are for accumulating the results and contributions to the subject. A final supporting sentence should mark your research as done.


Restate the thesis using different words. This part sums up everything one tried to prove in the main body. The last sentence should indicate the student’s confidence that one succeeded in writing a composition essay. But, most obligatory, do not add any new or irrelevant information. It may cost one a lower grade and puzzlement of a reader.

As you may see there are fewer obstacles in composing this type of essay. Only prompt attention to word count, a perfectly selected topic, and a desire to give an opinion to one matter will help to master any writing. For the top results, students can also use linking words if their text seems dry or illogical. Or, during writing, they may go for rhetorical questions that will strengthen the communication between a writer and a reader. Finally, do not neglect the chance to make a joke that suits the context. No need to be very serious or judgy. Leave such intentions for dissertations.

Proofreading for a Composition Essay in Anthropology

What are the most important details regarding proofreading? The most important detail is to remember about proofreading. It is very common for students to submit works without double-checking. As a result, plenty of mistakes, illogical sentences, and of course, topics that have nothing to do with a subject. Even if one missed the deadline, it is a life-sentence to submit work without editing. Thus, make sure to start a composition essay at least two days in advance. Remember, even though it is a short paper, it may take some time on proving facts and evidence.

If you managed to save time for proofreading, follow the next tips:

  • Turn to online editors. Of course, the basic recommendation is to rely on these online friends. They perfectly cope with spotting mistakes, grammatical discrepancies, and even readability. For example, one can read a sentence and find it understandable. But, as per academic requirements, there are rules to not write too-long sentences such as with 10 and more words, (it is allowed only if needed);
  • Find an essay-buddy. Support and laughs are the best pills for writing assignments without stress. Write together or ask him/her to read your work and give sincere feedback;
  • Read a paper loud. It does work in most of the students. When one reads silently, he may distract on other things or find himself falling asleep. Once you read aloud, there are more concentration and understanding of the context;
  • Check the format. Times New Roman 12, no colored text, one-inch margins;
  • Note down the mistakes. This tip will help one in the future. By writing down all the common mistakes one does in papers, it is possible to learn them to never repeat again;
  • Redo’s. If you found any part senseless and irrelevant, do not be scared to delete it or rewrite it. Especially, it concerns out-of-date information that a student did not notice at first. Professors have eagle eyes that are trained to spot fake or wrong details;
  • Minimize slang. It is rarely appreciated in terms of academic writing. However, if a student requires it for a topic, it is necessary to negotiate this option with a curator.

After submitting a work, leave all the nerves and emotions behind. It takes little time to get the results, so whenever you overthink possible mistakes or eat yourself alive claiming an essay failed you waste your time.


  1. Dalton, R. and Dalton, M. (1990). The student’s guide to good writing. New York: College Entrance Examination Board.
  2. Guest, K. (2017). Essentials of Cultural Anthropology: A Toolkit for a Global Age (Second Edition). 2nd ed. W. W. Norton & Company.
  3. Thurman, S. (2003). The Only Grammar Book You’ll Ever Need: A One-Stop Source for Every Writing Assignment. 1st ed. Adams media.
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