Short Paper on Basis of Marriage (OCM 581) and Arranging a Marriage (OCM 584)

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Exercise ID: 1.06
Class size: Any
Level(s): II
Source: Submitted by HRAF member

Learning Objectives

Does the exercise compare 2 or more cultures? Yes
Subject selection: Single subject specified by teacher
Subjects/OCMS, if applicable: Marriage (OCM 581) and Arranging a Marriage (OCM 584)
Region selection: open (student choice)
Region, if applicable: Various
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? No

Brad Huber, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, College of Charleston

Note by the editors: Dr. Huber uses this short paper assignment as extra credit.

Goal: The goal of this project is to have you do a little research on the topic of marriage using eHRAF World Cultures (eHRAF), a database that College of Charleston (CofC) subscribes to.

Note: I’ll add up to 5 pts. to your third exam for this assignment. Extra-credit is due at the beginning of class on Wednesday, April 25th, the last day of class.


eHRAF stands for the electronic collections of HRAF. HRAF is an acronym for Human Relations Area Files, a non-profit institution founded in 1949 at Yale University. HRAF is a consortium of educational, research, and cultural organizations, and government agencies. Its mission is to encourage and facilitate the comparative study of human culture, society, and behavior. This mission is accomplished mainly through the compilation, indexing, and distribution of a collection of ethnographic and other texts that are indexed by culture and subject.


Using the web version of the HRAF, write a paper that discusses the search results in ethnographic texts for the subjects Basis of Marriage (OCM 581) in one culture and Arranging A Marriage (OCM 584) in another culture. Your paper should be typed, double-spaced, have a bibliography, and be between 3-4 pages long.

To find this information  log on to  eHRAF World Cultures (authentication may be required), click Advanced Search then use the Add Subjects function to select the OCM subjects. The OCM subjects are used to search across the ethnographic texts in cultures, indigenous people, and ethnic groups from around the world.

View the eHRAF User Guide on how to use this cross-cultural database.

Citing eHRAF documents

You should include a standard bibliographic reference for the material, i.e.
Appadurai, Arjun
1996 Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization.
Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Don’t forget to include page numbers when citing material in the text! You should also include the basic retrieval statement for an on-line database: Retrieved [month day, year,] from [source] on-line database ([name of database], [item no.–if applicable]).