Mid-Term Exam

Sample Questions



1.       Which of the following is NOT a fundamental requirement of scientific research?

a.    Major concepts must have empirical referents, meaning that their existence must be observable by one or more of the senses.

b.    Specific phenomena under investigation (such as population size, work load or community complexity), as well as the relationships among them, must be measurable.

c.   Inferences and abstractions (such as measures of behavior or social complexity) must possess intersubjectivity, i.e. they should be based on objective criteria that would lead to comparable measuring if the research were conducted by different individuals.

d.    Different researchers using the same theoretical framework and the same research strategy should come to the same conclusions regarding the behavior of a particular phenomenon under investigation.

e.    The relationships among the various elements included in an analysis should be both testable and refutable.


2.      Which of the following examples would NOT satisfy the requirements of Hill’s “Dose-Response Relationship” (Hill’s Criteria # 3)?

a.     An increase in the amount of energy expended in food production following an increase in population density, along with a decrease in the amount of energy expended in food production following a decrease in population.

b.    The decline in the length of the fallow period associated with population growth in Europe prior to the Black Death, followed by an increase in the fallow period immediately after the Black Death.

c.     Changes in both the work load and level of cooperation among the Net-Hunter and Archer Pygmies before, during and after the honey season.

d.     The greater increase in global temperatures during the first half of the 20th century, when 20% of the century’s CO2 production occurred, than during the second half of the century, when 80% of CO2 production occurred and when 40 years of declining global temperatures occurred.


3.     The principle that states that the processes that occur in the present are the same processes that operated in the past and that will operate in the future is known as

a.      The Uniformitarian Principle

b.      Hill’s Criteria of Causation

c.      The Principle of Scientific Validity

d.      The Null Hypothesis Principle


4.    Which of the following statements is most correct regarding Colin Turnbull’s and Abruzzi’s explanations of the Mbuti Pygmy behavior in relation to the environment of the Ituri Forest?

a.     Turnbull demonstrates that the Mbuti Pygmies accurately perceive the seasonal changes in their environment and make the appropriate adjustments to those changes.

b.    My etic explanation of Mbuti Pygmy behavior in relation to the environment supports their emic explanation of their behavior.

c.    Turnbull shows that the Net Hunters have a more realistic view of the environment than the Archers and, therefore, behave more appropriately.

d.     Turnbull provides clear data to show that the Ituri Forest is uniform throughout the year in terms of the availability of resources upon which the Mbuti depend.

e.    The distinction between the hunting activities of the Net-Hunters and the Archers can best be explained by focusing on the cultural values that they share in common.


5.      Which of the following statements is most correct?

a.     Lee's research among the Ju/’hoansi concurs with the impression given in the film "The Hunters" that the Ju/’hoansi experience a very difficult and marginal existence.

b.    Lee's research contradicts the picture presented in the film "The Hunters" that the Ju/’hoansi lead a difficult existence.

c.     Both Lee's research and the film "The Hunters" suggest that the Ju/’hoansi enjoy a relatively relaxed and non-stressful existence due to an abundance of food in their environment.

d.     all of the above.


6.      Which of the following statements LEAST accurately reflects research among the Pygmies following my initial critique of Colin Turnbull’s research?

a.     Bailey and Aunger demonstrated that Milton’s claim that the distribution of net hunter and archer pygmies was associated with two distinct types of forest was largely correct.

b.    Bailey and Aunger demonstrated that the distribution of net hunting and bow hunting bands could best be explained by the cost/benefit implications of female labor, combined with the rate of exchange of agricultural food for meat. In the central and southwest part of the forest, net-hunting women could earn more total calories by hunting and exchanging meat for agricultural produce than simply obtaining that produce by working in the village gardens, due in part by the higher exchange rate for meat in that portion of the forest.

c.    Mosko showed that Pygmy conceptualizations of the forest as a symbolic representation of both the womb and the family provided an empirically verifiable explanation for both the spatial distribution of pygmy hunting strategies in the forest and for the seasonal variation that occurred in those hunting strategies.

d.    Those researchers who have adopted a materialist approach to the study of Pygmy subsistence, emphasizing the cost/benefit implication of alternative adaptive strategies, have provided a more testable and therefore more scientific understanding of Pygmy subsistence than those researchers who have applied interpretive structural-functional explanations of Pygmy behavior.

e.     a and d.


7.    An Environmental Studies seminar titled "How Can We Control Population Growth Before It Destroys the Environment?" that does not address the issue of whether population growth does, in fact, result in environmental degradation is presenting which of the invalid arguments discussed by Carl Sagan (“The Fine Art of Baloney Detection")?

a.       begging the question

b.       false dichotomy

c.       ad hominem

d.       argument from authority

e.       confusing correlation with causality


8.      Which of the following characteristics is generally associated with Postmodernism?

a.      the application of a literary analysis to social phenomenon
b.      the questioning of the existence of reality combined with the belief that all knowledge is socially constructed.
c.      the claim that no single explanation is superior to any other.
d.      a critique of Western knowledge and institutions.
e.      a view of science as Western intellectual hegemony.
f.      all of the above.


9.     Which of the following statements is LEAST correct regarding the application of scientific research methods in anthropology?


a.     Quantitative research methods are important because they provide an intersubjective basis for evaluating claims of causal relationships.

b.     The dominance of postmodern thinking in cultural anthropology represents a new departure in the field. Prior to the rise of postmodernism in anthropology during the 1980s and 1990s, cultural anthropologists had employed rigorous scientific research methods in their research.

c.     Culture is a non-operational concept from which only non-measurable and non-testable causal relationships can be proposed.

d.     If it is possible to explain variations in community development among Mormon settlements in the Little Colorado River Basin without reference to Mormon culture or variations in Pygmy subsistence without reference to Pygmy Culture, then Occam’s Razor would render the concept of culture irrelevant in both cases and require that its use be abandoned.

e.     Whereas biological anthropology and archaeology under went a shift from the use of predominantly non-scientific to scientific research methods during the 1960s and 1970s, cultural anthropology is still characterized by largely non-scientific research methods.



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Research Design Syllabus