Research: Directed Research
For Directed Research, you investigate a topic through field and/or
library research and write an extended paper (approx. 30-40 pages).
You take this as a one-semester, one-credit course. Topics can
develop from field research you conducted during a Public
Anthropology seminar, during Study Abroad, or during summer
research. Alternatively, you can develop a topic from one that
attracted you during a regular Anthropology course, and you can
pursue it through library research alone. Examples of past topics
include a comparison of medical and patient understandings of
Muscular Sclerosis through an ethnography of patient-led MS support
groups, and an analysis of gendered representations of "nature" and
"culture" in the Body Shop.
You should have some previous experience of the topic you select,
for example by having taken a course related to your topic. It is
also preferable for your advisor to have some expertise relating to
Here is the timetable you should follow for your Directed Research:
During the previous semester
- Identify your general topic.
- Select a Directed Research advisor in Anthropology. This can be any
Anthropology faculty member, and need not be your major advisor.
- Begin to compile (and read through) a list of readings that you and
your advisor have identified.
- Identify a specific Directed Research topic
- Register for Anthropology 197
If you plan to conduct
summer field research
- Research funding sources. Such sources at Tufts
Dean's Research Fund,
Citizenship and Public Service, and (for
research abroad) the
- With your advisor's guidance, begin to identify
your methods. What will you be doing, and where? To
whom will you speak? What kinds of questions will
you ask? Which activities will you observe? In which
activities will you engage as a participant?
- With the guidance of your advisor, write
proposals for funding and submit them by the
- With the guidance and feedback of your advisor,
write your Research Protocol and Informed Consent
Forms for Tufts' Institutional Review Board (IRB)
for research on human subjects. For the IRB Research
Protocol Form, write a more detailed description of
your thesis topic and methods, identifying any ways
in which these could potentially harm your
informants, and identifying protections that you
will put in place to minimize any such harm.
- When your primary advisor has approved your
protocol and consent forms, submit them by the IRB's
During your Directed Research semester
- Complete your research.
- Begin organizing and outlining the chapters and
sub-sections of your paper.
- Begin your writing
- Meet periodically (at least every two weeks)
with your Directed Research advisor.
- Give a complete first draft to your Directed
- Submit your final draft by the date agreed with
your Directed Research Advisor.