Beginning Research

We encourage students of high academic standing to begin research in conjunction with an off-campus educational experience even if such an experience takes place before their senior year (and even if they have not yet taken the methods class). Such off-campus educational experiences include study abroad, participating in a field school, engaging in service learning, or taking part in an internship. Alternatively, students are encouraged to begin research in conjunction with ANTH 323 Field Methods in Cultural Anthropology, even if this is taken before senior year. Finally, students who begin a research project in another class are encouraged to expand on this if they can integrate into it an ethnographic or archaeological component. Note that students who have taken the methods class are permitted to develop a totally new research topic for their senior honors thesis if they so desire.

  • Students who take the methods class before their senior year:
    If you wish to develop your project into an honors thesis, you will be expected to do more ethnographic research on the same topic during your senior year. You must also do an in-depth literature review.
  • Students who take the methods class in their senior year:
    You can develop the project for this class into an honors thesis. You will be expected to do more intensive fieldwork than required for the course, and to complement fieldwork with a literature review. You can conduct this additional fieldwork during or after the methods class (extending fieldwork into winter break and/or into the early part of the spring semester).
  • Students who devise or discover a research topic while participating in an off-campus experience (field school, studying abroad, engaging in service learning, or taking part in an internship):
    Get in touch with a Gettysburg faculty member if you stumble upon a topic that you think could be developed into an honors thesis. While there, try to use any methodologies that are appropriate and feasible (archaeological methods, participant-observation, interviews, surveys archival/newspaper research, photographs, etc.). Take careful field-notes and do not assume that you can rely on your memory. If you have not yet taken a research methods class and are a cultural anthropology students, read a field methods book.

Note: For students doing a cultural anthropology project, we recommend Field Projects in Anthropology: A Student Handbook, 3rd ed., by Julia G. Crane and Michael V. Angrosino (1992 Waveland Press).