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ANTH 301: Culture and Medicine: Healers and Healing Practices (Spring 2021) (Professor Godde)

Anthropology 301: Research Assignments

An annotated bibliography includes a summary and/or evaluation of each source you are using for your final paper and can help you decide if you wish to continue pursuing your research on a particular modality of healing. You will need 5 solid, academic references, at least three of which must be journal articles.

Your annotations should do the following:

  • Summarize: What are the main ideas/arguments? What is the point of this book or article? What topics are covered?
  • Assess: How well does this source address your topic? How does it compare with other sources in your bibliography? Is the information reliable (what is the theoretical/ methodological approach used? Is this source biased or objective? What is the goal of this source?
  •  Reflect: Once you've summarized and assessed a source, you need to ask how it fits into your research. Was this source helpful to you? How does it help you shape your argument? How can you use this source in your research project? Has it changed how you think about your topic? Your annotated bibliography may answer some or all of these questions.


  • The bibliographic information: The bibliographic information of the source (the title, author, publisher, date, etc.) is written in APA format. 
  • The annotations: The annotations for each source are written in paragraph form. The lengths of the annotations can vary significantly from a couple of sentences to a couple of pages, depending on the length of the analysis. For purposes of this assignment, you need only include one paragraph for each source.
  • Sources are alphabetized by author’s last name.

For full assignment guidelines, please consult Cougar Courses.

Healing takes place through a variety of modalities and in numerous contexts. The objective of this research assignment is to help you understand one particular form of healing that takes place within (e.g. acupuncture) or alongside (e.g. curanderismo) our (U.S.) medical system. This field assignment involves learning about healing in a specific context and requires that you engage in participant observation and face-to-face interview.

Academically researched background to paper:

Your paper must be grounded in a body of academic literature to which you refer when describing the background of the healing modality you choose. A paper on acupuncture, for example, must include some discussion about acupuncture that comes from at least five (5) different academic sources. This background may include history; where the modality is practiced; the percentage of people who practice it or who access it for healing; concerns or issues associated with it; concepts, such as symbolic anatomy, associated with it; or other topics that you find interesting and helpful in your understanding of the modality and the healer. Professor Godde suggests that you do your background research first, so that you have some basis of understanding before you meet with your healer.

Developing a Rapport:

This paper also requires that you develop a rapport with the healer by engaging with him/her in at least two (2) interviews. Make sure you allow yourself enough time to conduct both interviews. These interviews may vary in length, but they should allow you sufficient time to gather most of your information in a DETAILED manner.

Qualitative and Quantitative Questions:

The majority of your paper should stem from information gathered from qualitative questions, as understanding healing within a human framework is key to anthropology. This means that at least some of your work should be open-ended interviewing (e.g. “Can you tell me about ____? “ “Could you explain ____ to me?” “Tell me how you came about to be a nutritionist/allopath/massage therapist”). However, you should include some quantitative figures in your paper, whether gathered from academic sources or from interviews (e.g. what percentage of the population engage in this form of healing? What percent of patients are repeat – come back again? etc.).

Academic Sources:

At least five academic sources must be consulted. These sources will help orient yourself to the nature of healing and its cultural context, but they will not be the focus of your paper. Rather, the focus of the paper is on the healing method as you understand it from the description provided you by the healer. Popular, unreviewed publications will not be accepted.


10 pages, minimum, double-spaced. 12-point font. References included on a separate page (NOT included in the last). References should be in APA format.

For full assignment guidelines, please consult Cougar Courses.