How to Be Anthropologist - Job Description, Skills, and Interview Questions

Anthropologists study the origin, behavior and physical, social, and cultural development of human beings. This knowledge can be used to better understand human societies, as well as to make predictions about the future. Through their research, anthropologists have identified a number of causes and effects related to human behavior.

For example, they have found that poverty and inequality are linked to a lack of access to education, leading to a cycle of poverty that persists over generations. They have also discovered that environmental degradation has a direct impact on the health and wellbeing of individuals, communities, and entire nations. Understanding these causes and effects can help governments and organizations make more informed decisions when it comes to policy and resource allocation.

Steps How to Become

  1. Obtain a Bachelor's Degree. Many anthropologists start their educational journey by earning a bachelor's degree in anthropology or a related field. This degree typically contains courses in areas such as linguistics, biology, sociology, and history.
  2. Gain Research Experience. To become a successful anthropologist, it is important to gain research experience in the field. This can be done through internships or volunteer opportunities.
  3. Consider Graduate School. After completing a bachelor's degree, many students choose to pursue a master's or doctoral degree in anthropology or a related field. This can provide additional career opportunities.
  4. Get Certified. Some states require anthropologists to be certified by the American Anthropological Association. Certification can demonstrate expertise and knowledge in the field.
  5. Participate in Professional Organizations. Joining professional organizations, such as the American Anthropological Association, can help aspiring anthropologists stay up to date on the latest research and developments in the field.
  6. Network. Networking with other anthropologists and professionals in related fields can be beneficial for finding job opportunities and staying up to date on industry news.

Anthropologists rely on a variety of methods to ensure the accuracy and reliability of their research. These include fieldwork and observation, interviews, surveys, experimental studies, and secondary data analysis. Qualified anthropologists are knowledgeable about the theoretical and methodological approaches used in the field and have a firm grasp of the research techniques and tools available.

Furthermore, they possess a deep understanding of the cultures and societies they are studying, and are able to synthesize complex information into meaningful insights. By utilizing these skills, anthropologists are able to provide reliable and qualified insights into human behavior.

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Job Description

  1. Archaeologist
  2. Ethnographer
  3. Primatologist
  4. Cultural Anthropologist
  5. Biological Anthropologist
  6. Linguistic Anthropologist
  7. Forensic Anthropologist
  8. Applied Anthropologist
  9. Visual Anthropologist
  10. Evolutionary Anthropologist

Skills and Competencies to Have

  1. Advanced knowledge of human behavior and cultural practices.
  2. Ability to conduct research and analyze data.
  3. Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written.
  4. Ability to interpret and evaluate research findings.
  5. Proficient with quantitative and qualitative data analysis methods.
  6. Knowledge of research methodology and data collection techniques.
  7. Excellent organizational and problem-solving skills.
  8. Knowledge of ethical considerations in social science research.
  9. Ability to work independently and as part of a team.
  10. Ability to interpret and communicate complex cultural issues to a wide range of audiences.

The ability to think critically is an essential skill for any anthropologist. In order to effectively study the beliefs and behavior of different cultures, anthropologists must have the capacity to analyze evidence, draw meaningful conclusions, and develop theories. This requires a thorough understanding of human behavior and a keen eye for detail.

Furthermore, strong communication and interpersonal skills are also necessary for anthropologists, as they must be able to effectively interview people, understand and appreciate diverse perspectives, and explain their findings in a clear and concise manner. With these abilities, anthropologists can effectively uncover the stories and experiences of the past, present, and future.

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Frequent Interview Questions

  • What inspired you to pursue a career in anthropology?
  • How do you think your research methods can help to advance the field of anthropology?
  • What kinds of challenges have you encountered when conducting research in a foreign country?
  • How have you incorporated technology into your research process?
  • How do you think cultural anthropology differs from other disciplines within the field?
  • How do you stay up-to-date on the latest developments in anthropology?
  • How would you explain the concept of ethnocentrism to someone unfamiliar with the term?
  • What techniques do you use to effectively communicate your findings to a broad audience?
  • How do you think anthropologists can use their research to inform public policy decisions?
  • What advice would you give to someone interested in pursuing a career in anthropology?

Common Tools in Industry

  1. Survey Software. A tool for gathering and analyzing data from surveys, such as customer satisfaction or market research surveys. (eg: Qualtrics)
  2. Text Analysis Software. A tool for automatically analyzing and coding large amounts of text data. (eg: NVivo)
  3. GIS Software. A tool for creating and analyzing spatial data. (eg: ArcGIS)
  4. Statistical Software. A tool for performing complex statistical analysis. (eg: SPSS)
  5. Social Network Analysis Software. A tool for visualizing and analyzing the relationships between people. (eg: NodeXL)
  6. Ethnographic Research Software. A tool for collecting and organizing qualitative data such as field notes, audio recordings, and photographs. (eg: ATLAS. ti)
  7. Database Software. A tool for collecting and managing large amounts of data. (eg: Microsoft Access)

Professional Organizations to Know

  1. American Anthropological Association (AAA)
  2. American Ethnological Society (AES)
  3. Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA)
  4. Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and Commonwealth (ASA)
  5. Society of Biological Anthropology (SBA)
  6. International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES)
  7. Council of Anthropology and Education (CAE)
  8. Society for Medical Anthropology (SMA)
  9. International Society for Ethnology and Folklore (SIEF)
  10. Society for Anthropological Sciences (SAS)

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Common Important Terms

  1. Ethnography. A method of study in anthropology that involves researching and writing about a particular culture.
  2. Ethnology. The comparative study of different cultures.
  3. Cultural Anthropology. A field of anthropology that studies human societies and cultures.
  4. Archaeology. The study of the material remains of past human societies and cultures.
  5. Linguistics. The scientific study of language and its structure, development, and use.
  6. Primatology. The scientific study of primates, including their behavior, ecology, and evolution.
  7. Sociology. The scientific study of social behavior and human groups.
  8. Paleontology. The scientific study of ancient life forms, including fossils and prehistoric organisms.
  9. Kinship. The network of social relationships based on shared ancestry or marriage.
  10. Mythology. The study of myths and their role in a society's belief system and culture.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where do Anthropologists typically work?

Anthropologists typically work in academic settings, conducting research, teaching, and engaging in public outreach. They may also work in museums, government agencies, and other organizations.

What are the primary areas of research for Anthropologists?

Anthropologists typically specialize in one of four primary areas of research: cultural anthropology, physical anthropology, archaeology, and linguistics.

How long does it take to earn a Ph.D. in Anthropology?

Generally, it takes 4-6 years to earn a Ph.D. in Anthropology. This includes coursework, conducting research, and writing a dissertation.

What is the median salary for an Anthropologist?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for an Anthropologist is $62,280 per year.

What types of jobs can Anthropologists pursue?

Anthropologists can pursue a wide range of jobs, including teaching, conducting research, working for museums or government agencies, consulting for businesses, and providing medical advice.

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