Teaching eHRAF

Carol R. Ember & Christiane Cunnar, editors


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.

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 hraf@yale.edu 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.

General Anthropology

General Archaeology

Medical Anthropology

Research Methods

Contributors List

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.

Anthropological Index Online – online bibliographic search published by the Royal Anthropological Institute (RAI) .





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