1.1 Student Paper Guidelines for Using eHRAF

Student Paper Guidelines for Using eHRAF: One Professor’s Experience (Level I)

by Douglas A. Feldman
Professor of Anthropology
The College at Brockport, State University of New York

When I began teaching at The College at Brockport, SUNY over eight years ago, I wanted my students in my Introduction to Cultural Anthropology class to have the experience of using eHRAF in researching their papers.  So I made it a requirement for their papers that they use our recently adopted eHRAF.  At first, I was flexible in the structure of their papers.  But I quickly learned that students who selected more than one topic and/or more than three cultures tended to do rather superficial work, while those who selected only one culture did not have the ability to do a cross-cultural comparison of their research findings.

So I set up fairly strict guidelines for students to do their papers while using eHRAF.  They could only select one topic, not more, from a long list of approved topics (see below).  I eliminated topics that weren’t particularly anthropological (such as those that concerned the weather or topography), and also topics that were too broad in scope (i.e. most of the OCM numbers ending in a zero).   And they must select exactly three cultures (see below for a list of cultures), not more and not less.  This would give them an opportunity to look for cross-cultural comparisons from among these three cultures, and gain a deeper understanding of the selected three cultures in the process.

The cultures could be from the same or different continents.  Students could pick cultures that they may have heard about and would like to know more, or they could pick cultures that they never heard about at all.  But it was strongly recommended that they look for cultures that had a sufficient number of both paragraphs and documents in order to do their research for each of the three cultures.  A culture that only had a few paragraphs from one or two documents for their selected topic would not give them enough information to write about.  One the other hand, students are cautioned to avoid cultures with too much information, as well.  A culture with hundreds of paragraphs and dozens of documents would overwhelm them.

In order that the students become somewhat familiar with the three cultures that they had selected, they would also need to read the Culture Summaries in eHRAF for each of their three cultures, and provide a written brief summary of one or two paragraphs in their papers.  Students would also need to go outside of the eHRAF system, and research their selected topic in an anthropological or social science encyclopedia (such as the Encyclopedia of Cultural Anthropology and the International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences) to learn what anthropologists have written about on their topic.

A one session workshop is conducted by a librarian at the college library to instruct the students on how to effectively use eHRAF.  Students are encouraged to organize their research by first selecting their topic, then selecting their three cultures, then reading and taking notes from the encyclopedia about their topic, then reading and taking notes from the three Culture Summaries in eHRAF, then reading and taking notes from the paragraphs within the documents for each of the three cultures in eHRAF, and lastly – developing from eHRAF a full bibliography of references used in conducting their research.  Students are required to list the full reference for their references cited page(s), not just state “found in eHRAF,” so that they would be aware of the original source of the material they are using.

The eHRAF User Guide shows where the Culture Summaries can be found in the Browse Cultures section of eHRAF World Cultures.

In organizing their paper, students are encouraged to begin, in their introduction, to summarize the material about their chosen topic from the encyclopedia, and summarize the material about their three cultures from the Culture Summaries.  In the body of their text, they should discuss the material from the paragraphs separately for each of the three cultures (under three separate subheadings).  In their discussion and analysis section at the end of their paper, they should compare and contrast their three cultures from the evidence they found.  Their paper should have text citations within the body of their text keyed into their reference cited page(s).

I have found that eHRAF can provide undergraduate students in an introductory course the opportunity to have – through a carefully structured paper – a unique learning experience on their chosen topic.  It has been my experience that the quality of the student papers is greatly improved, when compared with simply letting students put their anthropology papers together from a general search engine, or by Googling it.

Approved topics for student papers

Click here view the selected topics by OCM subject code

181 Ethos
182 Functional and Adaptational Interpretations
183 Norms
184 Cultural Participation
185 Cultural Goals
186 Cultural Identity and Ethnocentrism

221 Annual Cycle
222 Collecting
223 Fowling
224 Hunting and Trapping
225 Marine Hunting
226 Fishing
227 Fishing Gear
228 Marine Industries

231 Domesticated Animals
232 Applied Animal Science
233 Pastoral Activities
234 Dairying
235 Poultry Raising
236 Wool Production
237 Animal By-Products

241 Tillage
242 Agricultural Science
243 Cereal Agriculture
244 Vegetable Production
245 Arboriculture
246 Forage Crops
247 Floriculture
248 Textile Agriculture
249 Special Crops

251 Preservation and Storage of Food
252 Food Preparation
253 Meat Packing Industry
254 Refrigeration Industry
255 Canning Industry
256 Cereal Industry
257 Confectionery Industries
258 Miscellaneous Food Processing and Packing Industries

261 Gratification and Control of Hunger
262 Diet
263 Condiments
264 Eating
265 Food Service Industries
266 Cannibalism

271 Water and Thirst
272 Nonalcoholic Beverages
273 Alcoholic Beverage’s
274 Beverage Industries
275 Drinking Establishments
276 Recreational and Non-therapeutic Drugs
277 Tobacco Industry
278 Pharmaceuticals

281 Work in Skins
282 Leather Industry
283 Cordage
284 Knots and Lashings
285 Mats and Basketry
286 Woven Fabrics
287 Nonwoven Fabrics
288 Textile Industries
289 Paper Industry

291 Normal Garb
292 Special Garments
293 Paraphernalia
294 Clothing Manufacture
295 Special Clothing Industries
296 Garment Care

301 Ornament
302 Toilet
303 Manufacture of Toilet Accessories
304 Mutilation
305 Beauty Specialists
306 Jewelry Manufacture

321 Bone, Horn, and Shell Technology
322 Woodworking
323 Ceramic Technology
324 Lithic Industries
325 Metallurgy
326 Smiths and Their Crafts
327 Iron and Steel Industry
328 Nonferrous Metal Industries

361 Settlement Patterns
362 Housing
363 Streets and Traffic
364 Refuse Disposal and Sanitary Facilities
365 Public Utilities
366 Commercial Facilities
367 Parks
368 Miscellaneous Facilities
369 Urban and Rural Life

431 Gift Giving
432 Buying and Selling
433 Production and Supply
434 Income and Demand
435 Price and Value
436 Medium of Exchange
437 Exchange Transactions
438 Domestic Trade
439 Foreign Trade

511 Standard of Living
512 Daily Routine
513 Sleeping
514 Elimination
515 Personal Hygiene
516 Postures
517 Leisure Time Activities

521 Conversation
522 Humor
523 Hobbies
524 Games
525 Gambling
526 Athletic Sports
527 Rest Days and Holidays
528 Vacations
529 Recreational Facilities

530 ARTS
531 Decorative Art
532 Representative Art
533 Music
534 Musicical Instruments
535 Dance
536 Drama
537 Oratory
538 Literature
539 Literary Texts
5310 Verbal Arts
5311 Visual Arts

551 Personal Names
552 Names of Animals and Things
553 Naming
554 Status, Role, and Prestige
555 Talent Mobility
556 Accumulation of Wealth
557 Manipulative Mobility
558 Downward Mobility

561 Age stratification
562 Gender Status
563 Ethnic Stratification
564 Castes
565 Classes
566 Serfdom and Peonage
567 Slavery

571 Social Relationships and Groups
572 Friendships
573 Cliques
574 Visiting and Hospitality
575 Sodalities
576 Etiquette
577 Ethics
578 Ingroup Antagonisms
579 Brawls, Riots and Banditry

581 Basis of Marriage
582 Regulation of Marriage
583 Mode of Marriage
584 Arranging a Marriage
585 Nuptials
586 Termination of Marriage
587 Secondary Marriages
588 Special Unions and Marriages
589 Celibacy

591 Residence
592 Household
593 Family relationships
594 Nuclear Family
595 Polygamy
596 Extended Families
597 Adoption

601 Kinship Terminology
602 Kin Relationships
603 Grandparents and Grandchildren
604 Avuncular and Nepotic Relatives
605 Cousins
606 Parents-in-Law and Children-in-Law
607 Siblings-in-Law
608 Artificial Kin Relationships
609 Behavior toward Nonrelatives

611 Rule of Descent
612 Kindreds and Ramages
613 Lineages
614 Sibs
615 Phratries
616 Moieties
617 Bilinear Kin Groups
618 Clans
619 Tribe and Nation

621 Community Structure
622 Community Heads
623 Councils
624 Local Officials
625 Police
626 Social Control
627 Informal Ingroup Justice
628 Inter-community Relations
629 Inter-ethnic Relations

670 LAW
671 Legal Norms
672 Liability
673 Wrongs
674 Crime
675 Contracts
676 Agency

681 Sanctions
682 Offenses against Life
683 Offenses Against the Person
684 Sex and Marital Offenses
685 Property Offenses
686 Nonfulfillment of Obligations
687 Offenses against the State
688 Religious Offenses
689 Social Offenses

720 WAR
721 Instigation of War
722 Wartime Adjustments
723 Strategy
724 Logistics
725 Tactics
726 Warfare
727 Aftermath of Combat
728 Peacemaking
729 War Veterans

731 Disasters
732 Disabilities
733 Alcoholism and Drug Addiction
734 Invalidism
735 Poverty
736 Dependency
737 Old Age Dependency
738 Delinquency

751 Preventive Medicine
752 Bodily Injuries
753 Theory of Disease
754 Sorcery
755 Magical and Mental Therapy
756 Shamans and Psychotherapists
757 Medical Therapy
758 Medical Care
759 Medical Personnel

761 Life and Death
762 Suicide
763 Dying
764 Burial Practices and Funerals
765 Mourning
766 Special Burial Practices and Funerals
767 Mortuary Specialists
768 Social Readjustments to Death
769 Cult of the Dead

771 General Character of Religion
772 Cosmology
773 Mythology
774 Animism
775 Eschatology
776 Spirits and Gods
777 Luck and Chance
778 Sacred Objects and Places
779 Theological Systems

781 Religious Experience
782 Prayers and Sacrifices
783 Purification and Atonement
784 Avoidance and Taboo
785 Asceticism
786 Ecstatic Religious Practices
787 Revelation and Divination
788 Ritual
789 Magic

791 Magicians and Diviners
792 Prophets and Ascetics
793 Priesthood
794 Congregations
795 Sects
796 Organized Ceremonial
797 Missions
798 Religious Intolerance

821 Ethnometeorology
822 Ethnophysics
823 Ethnogeography
824 Ethnobotany
825 Ethnozoology
826 Ethnoanatomy
827 Ethnophysiology
828 Ethnopsychology
829 Ethnosociology

830 SEX
831 Sexuality
832 Sexual Stimulation
833 Sexual Intercourse
834 General Sex Restrictions
835 Kinship Regulation of Sex
836 Premarital Sex Relations
837 Extramarital Sex Relations
838 Homosexuality
839 Miscellaneous Sex Behavior

841 Menstruation
842 Conception
843 Pregnancy
844 Childbirth
845 Difficult and Unusual births
846 Postnatal Care
847 Abortion and Infanticide
848 Illegitimacy

851 Social Placement
852 Ceremonial During Infancy and Childhood
853 Infant Feeding
854 Infant Care
855 Child Care
856 Development and Maturation
857 Childhood activities
858 Status of Children

861 Techniques of Inculcation
862 Weaning and Food Training
863 Cleanliness Training
864 Sex Training
865 Aggression Training
866 Independence Training
867 Transmission of Cultural Norms
868 Transmission of Skills
869 Transmission of Beliefs

881 Puberty and Initiation
882 Status of Adolescents
883 Adolescent Activities
884 Majority
885 Adulthood
886 Senescence
887 Activities of the Aged
888 Status and Treatment of the Aged



(For a full list of OCM subjects, see Outline of Cultural Materials.)

Culture Areas

Culture names by region and their corresponding alphanumeric code from the Outline of World Cultures (OWC):


Akan FE12
Amhara MP05
Azande FO07
Bagisu FK13
Bambara FA08
Banyoro FK11
Bemba FQ05
Bena FN31
Betsileo FY11
Dogon FA16
Ganda FK07
Gusii FL08
Hausa MS12
Igbo FF26
Kanuri MS14
Kpelle FD06
Lakeshore Tonga FR07
Libyan Bedouin MT09
Lozi FQ09
Maasai FL12
Mbuti FO04
Mossi FA28
Nuer FJ22
Ovimbundu FP13
Rwandans FO57
San FX10
Shluh MW11
Somali MO04
Tanala FY08
Tiv FF57
Wolof MS30
Yoruba FF06
Zulu FX20


Ainu AB06
Alorese OF05
Andamans AZ02
Badaga AW50
Baluchi AT02
Bengali AW69
Burusho AV07
Central Thai AO07
Chukchee RY02
Garo AR05
Ghorbat AU07
Hazara AU05
Iban OC06
Ifugao OA19
Inner Mongolia AH06
Karakalpak RN02
Khasi AR07
Korea AA01
Koryaks RY04
Kyrgyz RP02
Lepcha AK05
Mentawaians OD09
Miao AE05
Mongolia AH01
Monguor AE09
Okinawa AC07
Pamir Peoples RO03
Pashtun AU04
Rungus Dusan OC13
Santal AW42
Semang AN07
Sherpa AK06
Sinhalese AX04
Taiwan Hokkien AD05
Tajik RO02
Tamil AW16
Turkmens RM02
Uzbeks RN05
Vedda AX05
Vietnamese AM11
Yakut RV02


Basques EX08
Bosnian Muslims EF09
Croats EF04
Early Icelanders EQ02
Greeks EH01
Highland Scots ES10
Icelanders EQ01
Imperial Romans EI09
Montenegrins EF05
Saami EP04
Serbs (incl. photo essay) EF06
Slovenes EF07

Middle America and Caribbean

Cubans SX01
Dominicans ST04
Garifuna SA12
Huichol NU19
Island Carib ST13
Jamaicans SY01
Kuna SB05
Maya (Yucatán) NV10
Tarahumara NU33
Tzeltal NV09
Zapotec NU44

Middle East

Basseri MA10
Bedouin MJ04
Iran MA01
Israelis MF01
Kurds MA11
Lur MA12
Palestinians M013
Rwala Bedouin MD04
Turks MB01
Yemenis ML01

North America

Aleut NA06
Alutiiq NA10
Amish NM06
Arab Americans NK09
Arab Canadians NC05
Assiniboine NF04
Basque Americans N018
Blackfoot NF06
Cajuns NO12
Cherokee NN08
Chicano N007
Chinese Americans NK06
Chinese Canadians NC04
Comanche NO06
Copper Inuit ND08
Chipewyan ND07
Copper Inuit ND08
Creek NN11
Cuban Americans NK08
Delaware NM07
Haitian Americans NK07
Hopi NT09
Innu NH06
Iroquois NM09
Italian Americans NO10
Italian Canadians NC06
Jews, Hasidim N011
Klamath NR10
Korean Americans N019
Lower Chinookans NR06
Navajo NT13
North American Armenians N016
North American Hmong N009
Ojibwa NG06
Pawnee NQ18
Pomo NS18
Puerto Ricans-Mainland NK05
Quinault NR17
Sea Islanders NN23
Seminole NN16
Serbian Americans N017
Stoney NF12
Tlingit NA12
Ute NT19
Western Apache NT21
Western Woods Cree NG08
Yokuts NS29
Yuki NS30
Zia Pueblo NT38


Aranda OI08
Chuuk OR19
Eastern Toraja OG11
Hawaiians OV05
Kapauku OJ29
Lau Fijians OQ06
Malekula OO12
Manus OM06
Maori OZ04
Orokaiva OJ23
Samoans OU08
Santa Cruz ON13
Southern Toraja OG13
Tikopia OT11
Tiwi OI20
Tongans OU09
Trobriands OL06
Ulithi OR20
Woleai Region OR21
Yapese OR22

South America

Aymara SF05
Bacairi SP07
Bahia Brazilians SO11
Barama River Carib SR09
Bororo SP08
Guaraní SM04
Inka SE13
Jivaro SD09
Kogi SC07
Mapuche SG04
Mataco SI07
Mundurucu SQ13
Ndyuka SR14
Ona SH04
Saramaka SR15
Shipibo SE26
Tehuelche SH05
Siriono SF21
Tukano SQ19
Tupinamba SO09
Warao SS18
Yahgan SH06
Yanoama SQ18
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