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Project Description Questions

Applicants must answer five project description questions.

Question 1: Describe your research question/hypothesis or research objective. That is, what will be the focus of your investigation? [approximately one page, single-spaced]

The formulation of a developed research question, hypothesis, or research objective is the single most important characteristic of a successful proposal. There are three major guidelines that applicants should follow:

  1. The research question, hypothesis, or objective should be narrowly focused and ask “why,” “how,” or “what” about an issue of significance to anthropology. Do not present a vast research topic as the object of investigation; instead, develop answerable questions (or testable hypotheses) in the context of the larger research topic.
  2. Research questions should not be presented as if the answer were already known. Applicants need to demonstrate that the proposed research will answer (or test) the question/s (or hypothesis).
  3. Applicants should also be realistic about what can be achieved. Many applications fail because they assert that the research will answer such a wide variety of questions that the investigation may not answer any single one fully and carefully.

Question 2: How does your research build on existing scholarship in anthropology and closely related disciplines? Give specific examples of this scholarship and its findings. [approximately one page, single-spaced]

It is important to clearly demonstrate that you have a good knowledge of the anthropological literature, as well as other disciplinary literature, relevant to your topic of research. Be explicit in showing how your research will expand on previous findings. The foundation prioritizes work that is theoretically driven and question 2 allows you discuss the theoretical framework that has guided you in formulating your research questions. It is not enough to just cite literature in answer to this question. Please provide a clear and comprehensive discussion of the issues and demonstrate how your work fits into current theoretical debates in the field.

Primatologists should note that to be competitive they should clearly demonstrate how their research is derived from and will contribute to anthropological debates dealing with humanity's cultural and/or biological origins, development, and/or modern variation. It is not sufficient to merely cite primatological literature and primatological debates in answer to this question.

Question 3: What evidence will you need to collect to answer your research question? How will you go about collecting and analyzing this evidence? [approximately one page, single-spaced]

Applicants are strongly advised to clearly and explicitly demonstrate that the evidence gathered and the analytical procedures proposed will realistically support the research goals expressed in Question 1.