Teaching eHRAF is an innovative, interdisciplinary teaching resource for universities, colleges, and high schools aimed at providing faculty with ideas about how to use the eHRAF World Cultures and eHRAF Archaeology online databases in their curricula.
Most of the existing exercises have been written by faculty and HRAF staff, focusing on general anthropology, general archaeology, medical anthropology, and research methods ranging from easy (Level I) to difficult (Level III).
We invite faculty to look through the various exercises to see whether they fit their teaching needs. Please note that even though some of the exercises might not fit a particular course topic, they can still be used as “templates” as the HRAF specific topics can be interchanged.
New! From time to time, selected teaching exercises will be featured on our homepage blog, eHRAF Highlights. Check this page for updates.
As Teaching eHRAF grows, we hope that it will become a “place of exchange” for teaching materials in many disciplines. We encourage professors and instructors to submit teaching materials and welcome diversity in style, theme, and level of difficulty. HRAF staff would be happy to assist with ideas in customizing the Teaching eHRAF exercises to fit the needs of your class.
Please note: Using the exercises requires access to the online eHRAF World Cultures/Archaeology databases. If your institution is a member, you should be automatically logged in; if not, you might be asked for a password (get more log-in help here). For password information, to inquire about a semester-long trial, or if you want to submit a student exercise, please contact Christiane Cunnar, HRAF, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 1-800-520-HRAF or 203-764-9401.
You can find testimonials from educators and researchers who use eHRAF here.
Supplemental guides and information
To become familiar with the eHRAF World Cultures and eHRAF Archaeology databases and their unique indexing and search systems, we recommend that students view the eHRAF User Guides.
Click Topics Covered for all OCM subjects on cultural and social life, indexed and searchable in the eHRAF World Cultures & Archaeology databases. Click Cultures by Regions & Subsistence Types for a current list of all cultures, ethnic groups and indigenous people in eHRAF World Cultures. Click Traditions Covered for a current list of all prehistoric cultures and archaeological sequences in eHRAF Archaeology. The list is organized by regions, subsistence types, and absolute time period.
Topics and Cultures in eHRAF: This printable PDF document serves as handy reference and overview of all the topics on cultural and social life, and all cultures, past and present, currently covered in HRAF’s cross-cultural online databases. Please check for regular updates.
Exercises and Assignments
Each chapter is assigned a level of difficulty:
Level I —student reads passage of text in eHRAF and answers fixed questions (answer provided to instructors), may involve some directed searches in eHRAF.
Level II—strategic searching in eHRAF with some direction.
Level III—research oriented exercises involving eHRAF and other research materials; moderately structured with some direction.
Level IV—more independent development of research and search strategies.
- 1.1. Student Paper Guidelines for Using eHRAF: One Professor’s Experience, Level I—Useful tips for faculty using eHRAF World Cultures for student assignments, by Douglas A. Feldman.
- 1.2. Introduction to Cultural Anthropology: A Syllabus, Level I—Guidelines for writing a student paper using eHRAF World Cultures, by Douglas A. Feldman.
- 1.3. An eHRAF Workbook for Introductory Anthropology Courses, Level I—Diverse topics in anthropology such as kinship, cosmology, witchcraft, storytelling, feuding, etc., by Ian Skoggard.
- 1.4. Ethnology and Ethnography in Anthropology, Level III—eHRAF assignment: group presentation/individual paper, by Dianna Shandy.
- 1.5. Overview of Cultures and Ethnic Groups, Level I—General topics regarding cultures, by Christiane Cunnar.
- 1.6. Soc. Anthro: Short Paper on Basis of Marriage and Arranging a Marriage, Level II, by Brad R. Huber
- 1.7. Anthropology of Religion: Short Paper on Sacred Objects and Places and on Animism, Level II, by Brad R. Huber
- 1.8. Native Peoples in South America: A Comparative Ethnography, Level III, by Howard Kress
- 1.9. A Cross-Cultural Study of Violence, Level III, by Nicola Tannenbaum
- 1.10. Explorations in Cross Cultural Anthropology, Level III, by Nicola Tannenbaum
- 1.11. Basic Cross-Cultural Research Assignment, Level II, by Brian Mooney
- 1.12. Ecological Function of a Behavioral Institution in a Nomadic Society, A Short Paper, Level II, by Dan Strouthes
- 1.13. Ecological Function of a Behavioral Insitution in a Pastoral or Horticultural Society, A Short Paper, Level II, by Dan Strouthes
- 1.14. Political Function of a Religious Institution, A Short Paper, Level II, by Dan Strouthes
- 1.15. Ritual Kinship, A Short Paper, Level II, by Dan Strouthes
- 1.16. Cross-Cultural Correlation Study (5-7 Page Paper), Level III, by Vicki Bentley-Condit
- 1.17. Library Assignment: Finding Anthropological Resources (5-7 Page Paper and Bibliography), Level III, by Jerome M. Levi
- 1.18. Culture and Aging (A Research Project in Completed Fertility & Subsistence Practices, Productivity & Aging, and Social Networks & Aging), Level III, by Sara E. Johnson
- 1.19. Eating Salt and Symbols: Exploring the Relationship of Biology and Culture with eHRAF Level III, by Susan Parman
- 1.20. Bizarre Foods: A Syllabus, Level I, by Sonya Atalay.
- 1.21. Exercises using eHRAF, Level I, by Carol R. Ember.
- 1.22. Hunter-Gatherers (Foragers) Exercises: Explaining Human Culture, Level I and II, by Carol R. Ember
- 1.23. Dwellings Exercises: Explaining Human Culture, Level I and II, by Carol R. Ember
- 1.24. Kinship and Egalitarian Principles, Group assignment, questions are drawn from the eHRAF World Cultures database and HRAF’s homepage, Level I, by Kathryn M. Koziol
- 1.25 Kinship and Land Use, Group assignment, questions are drawn from the eHRAF World Cultures database and HRAF’s homepage, Level I, by Kathryn M. Koziol
- 2.1. General Archaeology-Research Project, Level III—Research on archaeological sites in the Old and New World, by Thomas Miller.
- 2.2. Overview of Archaeological Traditions, Level I, by Christiane Cunnar.
- 2.3. Burial Practices, Level I & II—A world-wide comparison of burial practices in prehistoric times, by Christiane Cunnar.
- 2.4. Hide Working and Tanning Leather, Level II—A look at ethnographies for work in leather, by Christiane Cunnar.
- 3.1. Topics in Medical Anthropology, Level II—Topics on illness causation, medical systems, ethnobotany, and ethnozoology, by Christiane Cunnar
- 3.2. Causes of Disease, Level I, by Christiane Cunnar.
- 3.3. Reproductive Health, Level II—Topics on menstruation, conception, pregnancy, and childbirth, by Christiane Cunnar.
3.4. Medical Anthropology: Short Paper on Nutrition (OCM 146), Level II, by Brad R. Huber
- 4.1. Anthropological Research Methods–Project #1: Research Questions and Hypotheses, Level IV, by Brad R. Huber
- 4.2. Anthropological Research Methods–Project #2: HRAF Data Recovery, Level IV, requires the use of the statistical software program SPSS, by Brad Huber.
- 4.3. Anthropological Research Methods–Project #3: Group Poster Presentation, Level IV, by Brad R. Huber
- 4.4. Cross-Cultural Comparison with the eHRAF World Cultures Database, Level III—A 50-Minute Computer Lab Group Assignment; links to the class syllabus for Methods and Analysis for Anthropology and to other assignments such as pollster statistics, unobstrusive observations,etc., by Bruce Freeman
- 4.5. Tattooing and Techniques of Cross-Cultural Research, Level IV—Includes a syllabus, basic steps of a cross-cultural study, outline of a study paper, outline of a conference paper, hypotheses, sample, by William Divale
Sonya Atalay, Department of Anthropology, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, USA
Vicki Bentley-Condit, Department of Anthropology, Grinnell College, Grinnell, IA, USA
Christiane M. Cunnar, Human Relations Area Files, Inc. (HRAF) at Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA
William Divale, Department of Social Sciences, York College (CUNY), Jamaica, NY, USA
Carol R. Ember. Human Relations Area Files, Inc. (HRAF) at Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA
Douglas A. Feldman , Department of Anthropology, The College at Brockport, State University of New York, Brockport, NY , USA
Bruce Freeman, Department of Anthropology, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada.
Brad R. Huber, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, College of Charleston, Charleston, SC, USA
Sara E. Johnson, Department of Anthropology, California State University, Fullerton, CA, USA
Kathryn Koziol, Department of Anthropology, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR, USA
Howard Kress, Department of Anthropology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, USA
Jerome M. Levi, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Carleton College, Northfield, MN, USA
Thomas W. Miller, Kittatinny Regional High School, Newton, NJ, USA
Brian Mooney, Department of Social Sciences, York College (CUNY), Jamaica, NY, USA
Dianna Shandy, Department of Anthropology, Macalester College, Saint Paul, MN, USA
Ian Skoggard, Human Relations Area Files, Inc. (HRAF) at Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA
Dan Strouthes, Department of Geography and Anthropology, University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, WI, USA
Nicola B. Tannenbaum, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA, USA
Other resources for teaching
Rice, Patricia C. and David W. McCurdy, eds. Strategies in Teaching Anthropology, 2nd ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. 2002.
Learn & Teach – American Anthropological Assocation
Experience Rich Anthropology – Several different component projects and readings.
Ethnography Atlas – Centre for Social Anthropology and Computing, University of Kent.
Carol R. Ember & Christiane Cunnar, editors