Guidelines for Student Papers
Department of Anthropology

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A statement of your thesis -- that is, what you are arguing in your paper -- should be clearly stated within the first few paragraphs. Note that the statement of thesis is more than a statement of topic; it can even explain briefly the conclusions you intend to support.


Research papers should include an informative, substantive abstract of the paper's contents, placed either on the title page or at the beginning of the first page of regular text. It should briefly state your thesis and conclusions.

Extent of Research

Doing a research paper implies relying on a variety of sources instead of on only a few. Normally, you should investigate and use journal articles as well as books, and you should use scholarly sources wherever possible. Always attempt to find the most recent literature on a subject. Consult with the instructor regarding the approximate number of sources deemed appropriate for a particular assignment.

Citation Style- AAA Style Guide

Direct quotations, paraphrased wording, and borrowed ideas need to be properly attributed. Quotations of four lines or longer should be indented five spaces (the same as for paragraphs) and single-spaced. Do NOT use quotation marks for such longer quotations, but always use them for the shorter quotations that are not indented and single-spaced.

The citation system consists of (1) in-text citations, and (2) a "References Cited" list at the end of the paper.

In-text Citations consist of author's name, date of publication, and page numbers. They are made either just prior to or following the appearance of quoted or paraphrased material. If you use the name of the author in your sentence, it is customary to place the date and page citation following the author's name, as in the following example:


Jones (1984:28) argues that the petroglyphs were made by interplaneary space travelers.

If you do not use the author's name in your sentence, the citation commonly goes at the end of the quotation or paraphrase, as in the following examples:


One author argues that the petroglyphs were made by interplanetary space travelers (Jones 1984:28)
One author even claims that "these glyphs were made by Martians" (Jones 1984:28)

Note that the citation has author's name, space [no punctuation], date, colon, page(s), and that it is part of the sentence and therefore goes inside the final period.

Be sure to cite the author whose idea or words you are using and not simply a larger edited source in which they appeared. For example, if you use an article by Smith that you found in a book edited by Jones, your in-text citation should be to Smith, and you should list Smith's article separately in your "References Cited" (see below). You may also have reason to list Jones's book. Similarly, if Adams quotes a passage from Tylor that you wish to use, your in-text citation should be: (Tylor 1985, quoted in Adams 1990:47), and both should be identified in your "References Cited." The original publication of the idea should be favored wherever possible.

References Cited

A list of References Cited should appear at the end of the paper. ALL sources cited in your paper (and none that were not cited) must appear in this list. Sources are listed alphabetically by author's last name. The format should conform to the following:

Consult the American Anthropologist or ask members of the department regarding citations of other kinds.

Footnotes or Endnotes

Footnotes or endnotes can be used for the presentation of information not directly relevant to the flow of the argument in a paper, but of supplementary interest.

Pagination and Margins

Number your pages (you may omit the number on the first page; do not number the title page if you use one), and use 1" margins.

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This page last modified August 5, 2010
by Sondi Burnell