Ethnographic Essay #1: Research Paper
Goal: Write an academic research paper that effectively communicates your argument using
strong supporting evidence from reliable sources.
Audience: Social scientists reading scholarly literature.
Description: For your first essay, you will follow Guest’s example of making a cup of coffee
unfamiliar. Now, you will select a different product made by a specific company from the
Ben & Jerry’s ice cream
Nestle baby formula
De Beers diamonds
Amazon (no specific product. Focus on the people who work for Amazon.)
Note: You may NOT choose coffee. If you are really excited to research a product that is not
listed here, and you can find multiple relevant scholarly sources to support your research, you
may ask your teaching assistant to consider your proposal.
Preliminary Research: The first step is to choose a product and do some preliminary research
to make sure you can find scholarly sources to support your writing. You are required to have at
least two scholarly sources for this paper. Submit your choice of topic and citations for two
scholarly sources, due as indicated on the syllabus.
Example of a Topic and Sources Proposal (note this is not one of the topics on the list):
Rogers, Ray. October 2006. “Campaign to Stop Killer Coke.” North American Dialogue
9(2): 1-3. doi:10.1525/nad.2006.9.2.1.
Vedwan, Neeraj. November 2007. “Pesticides in Coca-Cola and Pepsi: Consumerism,
Brand Image, and Public Interest in a Globalizing India.” Cultural Anthropology 22(4):
Tip: Remember, the point of this essay is to explore the ways that a given product impacts the
people, communities, and environments that produce, distribute, and consume the product. Do
not focus on ingredients and manufacturing processes. Anthropology is about people. Ask
yourself: where are the people in the story behind my product? You may find it helpful to
highlight one or two case studies in your paper.
Draft: Write a 4-page draft of a critical research paper based on similar questions that you used
for your practice essay, Making a Cup of Coffee Unfamiliar. You will need at least two scholarly
sources, properly cited in the text and on a Works Cited page. Use Brown (pp 93-112) as a
guide: you will need a thesis, a strong introduction, a body section in which you explain your
evidence and cite sources, and a conclusion. (Brown goes into more depth than you will need for
a short paper; you do not need a counterargument.)
After you’ve written your draft, write a one-page cover letter addressed to your peer reviewer.
Please address the following:
● What is the strongest part of my essay?
● What is the weakest part of my essay?
● If I had more time, I would do more research on ________________.
● What I especially need help with is: __________________.
You will need to upload the cover letter, along with your draft, on HuskyCT.
Revision Guidelines: Read your reviewer’s comments carefully. Based on the checklists and
their written feedback, revise your paper. You should also refer to Brown chapter 6, “Editing for
Style” to improve your writing. Your final draft should be 5 full pages of text, not including the
works cited page. You do not need a cover letter for your final draft.