Student Paper Guidelines for Using eHRAF: One Professor’s Experience

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Exercise ID: 1.01
Class size: Any
Level(s): I
Source: Submitted by HRAF member

Learning Objectives

Does the exercise compare 2 or more cultures? Yes
Subject selection: Student chooses from pre-selected list
Subjects/OCMS, if applicable:
Region selection: open (student choice)
Region, if applicable:
Culture selection: Student chooses from entire collection
Cultures/OWCs, if applicable:

Classroom Guide

Instructions for navigating eHRAF included? No
Assignments for students to complete in groups? No
Assignments for students to complete on their own? Yes
Instructions for Microfiche version? Yes

Douglas A. Feldman, 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

180 TOTAL CULTURE 181 Ethos 182 Functional and Adaptational Interpretations 183 Norms 184 Cultural Participation 185 Cultural Goals 186 Cultural Identity and Ethnocentrism 220 FOOD QUEST 221 Annual Cycle 222 Collecting 223 Fowling 224 Hunting and Trapping 225 Marine Hunting 226 Fishing 227 Fishing Gear 228 Marine Industries 230 ANIMAL HUSBANDRY 231 Domesticated Animals 232 Applied Animal Science 233 Pastoral Activities 234 Dairying 235 Poultry Raising 236 Wool Production 237 Animal By-Products 240 AGRICULTURE 241 Tillage 242 Agricultural Science 243 Cereal Agriculture 244 Vegetable Production 245 Arboriculture 246 Forage Crops 247 Floriculture 248 Textile Agriculture 249 Special Crops 250 FOOD PROCESSING 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 260 FOOD CONSUMPTION 261 Gratification and Control of Hunger 262 Diet 263 Condiments 264 Eating 265 Food Service Industries 266 Cannibalism 270 DRINK, DRUGS, AND INDULGENCE 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 280 LEATHER, TEXTILES, AND FABRICS 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 290 CLOTHING 291 Normal Garb 292 Special Garments 293 Paraphernalia 294 Clothing Manufacture 295 Special Clothing Industries 296 Garment Care 300 ADORNMENT 301 Ornament 302 Toilet 303 Manufacture of Toilet Accessories 304 Mutilation 305 Beauty Specialists 306 Jewelry Manufacture 320 PROCESSING OF BASIC MATERIALS 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 360 SETTLEMENTS 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 430 EXCHANGE 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 510 LIVING STANDARDS AND ROUTINES 511 Standard of Living 512 Daily Routine 513 Sleeping 514 Elimination 515 Personal Hygiene 516 Postures 517 Leisure Time Activities 520 RECREATION 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 550 INDIVIDUATION AND MOBILITY 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 560 SOCIAL STRATIFICATION 561 Age stratification 562 Gender Status 563 Ethnic Stratification 564 Castes 565 Classes 566 Serfdom and Peonage 567 Slavery 570 INTERPERSONAL RELATIONS 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 580 MARRIAGE 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 590 FAMILY 591 Residence 592 Household 593 Family relationships 594 Nuclear Family 595 Polygamy 596 Extended Families 597 Adoption 600 KINSHIP 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 610 KIN GROUPS 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 620 COMMUNITY 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 680 OFFENSES AND SANCTIONS 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 730 SOCIAL PROBLEMS 731 Disasters 732 Disabilities 733 Alcoholism and Drug Addiction 734 Invalidism 735 Poverty 736 Dependency 737 Old Age Dependency 738 Delinquency 750 SICKNESS 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 760 DEATH 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 770 RELIGIOUS BELIEFS 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 780 RELIGIOUS PRACTICES 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 790 ECCLESIASTICAL ORGANIZATION 791 Magicians and Diviners 792 Prophets and Ascetics 793 Priesthood 794 Congregations 795 Sects 796 Organized Ceremonial 797 Missions 798 Religious Intolerance 820 IDEAS ABOUT NATURE AND PEOPLE 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 840 REPRODUCTION 841 Menstruation 842 Conception 843 Pregnancy 844 Childbirth 845 Difficult and Unusual births 846 Postnatal Care 847 Abortion and Infanticide 848 Illegitimacy 850 INFANCY AND CHILDHOOD 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 860 SOCIALIZATION 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 880 ADOLESCENCE, ADULTHOOD, AND OLD AGE 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 890 GENDER ROLES AND ISSUES
  (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): Africa

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