Anthropology Research Paper Topics and Ideas

Even though in the modern world anthropology is usually underestimated as a science and a significant source of information, it is necessary to mention that anthropology is a complex knowledge of different cultures, traditions, and societies. Besides, one should remember that anthropology also combines such studies as history, sociology, and even linguistics. Therefore, anthropology is a complex study of past and present societies, their culture, and behavior. Unsurprisingly, anthropology covers every aspect of human life because it focuses on culture, which, in its turn, has a superb impact on the way people live, behave, and even build relationships. Moreover, anthropology provides a larger picture of what was going on in this or that society centuries ago.

It is very easy to turn anthropological research in a fun and interesting task. To be more precise, the key to writing an effective anthropological paper is choosing the topic or idea you would like to explore. Taking into account the fact that anthropology deals with numerous aspects of human life, it is a simple thing to do. At the same time, one should consider getting aware of the historical context of the epoch he or she will be discovering and describing, as historical events are vitally important for the in-depth understanding of any society or culture. For instance, it is advisable to use historical records and even artifacts depending on the topic of your research.

Topic and Ideas for Anthropological Research Paper

Below you can find the examples of topics for the anthropological research paper:

1. Interpretation of Greeting Gestures in Chinese and American Cultures

This topic is especially interesting as more and more Chinese people move to the US. They have to adjust to the new culture and, what is more, even to adopt new gestures to express themselves. In this research paper, you can dwell on the history of this or that gesture in both cultures and try to explain how they originated and preserved throughout the centuries.

2. Kissing Traditions in Western and Eastern Societies

This topic presupposes detailed research of different societies, which gives you a wide range of cultures to choose from. For example, you can start with mentioning that a long intimate kiss is usually associated with French kissing culture. Besides, you can say that humans are the only mammals that kiss and explain the emotional and cultural meaning of a kiss in the chosen societies.

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3. The Changing Views on Marriage in Asia

Asian societies are widely considered traditional and even old-fashioned when it comes to such things as marriage and family. Nevertheless, all of them undergo the effects of globalization and the Internet. Even though Asian people tend to stick to old rules, there are plenty of those, who neglect these rules and resist the cultural norms. For example, in Japan, women do not already feel that they must get married and start a family. Still, the country is trying to resolve the issue of the ever-increasing levels of loneliness among its residents.

4. The Reasons behind the Worldwide Popularity of Faux Fur

Undoubtedly, the main reason why faux fur wins markets all over the world is the fact that no animals have to be killed to make a beautiful, high-quality piece of clothing. However, you can also talk about the original function of the fur, and the change of its perception over time. That is, apart from keeping one warm, fur was also viewed as a symbol of poverty and wealth, which are not that crucial nowadays.

5. The Impact of Latin Language on Ancient Greek and Roman Cultures

Here you can describe the role of the Latin language for the development of both Greek and Roman cultures. For instance, how the Latin Language has become the language of literature and all the documents, which forced all the people to learn it and communicate with each other using this language only. Moreover, you can also talk about how the Latin language became the base for the development of other European languages and cultures.

6. The Traces of Aztec, Incas, and Mayas Cultures in the Cultures of Modern Latin American Sources

This research paper requires a lot of work as you should get familiar with both ancient cultures and modern ones. It is highly recommended to compare and contrast ancient and modern paintings, themes in literature, and celebrations of major holidays.

7. Similarities and Differences between Modern Slavic Groups

In this anthropological paper, you can choose a few aspects to dwell on such as languages, history, culture, and even the beginnings of state. It is essential to study the history of the development and growth of a particular Slavic group since it originated.

8. Role of Women in Ancient Egypt and Modern Egypt

It is surprising that Ancient Egypt was one of the first countries, where women had any rights. However, the modern-day country is an Islamic one, which means that women have almost no rights there. In this paper, you can discuss what factors contributed to such a transition over time.

9. Scandinavian Minimalism vs. American Consuming

It is quite provocative and, at the same time, a challenging topic for anthropological research. Apart from talking about the history of these countries and factors that led to the establishment of minimalistic and consumer lifestyles, you can also describe how these trends are viewed in the rest of the world.

10. Floral and Animal Prints in the Clothing of Native American Tribes

For writing a successful research paper on this topic, you might consider visiting some exhibitions dedicated to the life and art of Native American tribes. Without a doubt, nature was vitally important for Indians, and they highly respected both flora and fauna. While some tribes were more connected to the plants, others were more connected to the animals, which they were showing by decorating their clothing accordingly.

11. Impact of the Roman Catholic Church on the Development of Architecture and Sculpture During the Middle Ages

In the middle ages, the church was the center of religion, politics, social life, and even arts. That is, Church was the organization that sponsored and paid for decorating not only churches all over the Catholic world but also the private houses and mansions of the clergy. Therefore, you can choose a few interesting buildings and churches and talk about their history and people, who took part in constructing and decorating them.

12. Immigrants in America: 17th and 21st Century

For this paper, you may want to look for the documents about the exploration of America and the first residents of the new country. That is, back in the 17th century, everybody was welcomed in the newly discovered rich land. On the contrary, in the 21st century, the ever-increasing rates of migration can become a problem for the Americans.

13. Social Attitudes Towards Monarchs in Great Britain and the Netherlands

This anthropological research essay will examine public opinion about monarch families in two rich, powerful, and flourishing European countries. Consequently, you may need data from national polls regarding monarchs, their rulings, and even interactions with common people.

14. Why India? Hollywood vs. Bollywood

Such a comparison of two large movie industries will depend greatly on your ability to find out the factors that made both the US and Hindi movie products so popular all over the world. Apart from discussing Hollywood and Bollywood from historical and financial perspectives, you may also talk about the perception of American and Hindi movies in other countries of the world.

15. Why Latin Pop Songs Are Taking over the World

In this paper, first of all, you will have to talk about the growing number of Spanish-speaking people in the world. No wonder that more and more people pick Latin pop songs comparing to American ones. However, you can also mention particularly Latin characteristics of these songs such as festivity, carnival rhythms, and even the look of the singers.

16. Twitter and Politics: The Impact of Social Media on the Popularity and Trustworthiness of Major Political Figures of the World

In the 21st century, it is a common thing that politicians all over the world use social media to engage with their electorate. However, the reaction and perception of politicians through Twitter (one of the most popular social platforms among politicians) vary greatly from country to country. You may consider comparing the content of the tweets of American and European politicians.

17. Piercing in India and Western Countries

While piercing is usually associated with teenagers and different subcultures, in India, it is an ancient tradition. You may explore the meaning and history of piercing in India (especially wedding traditions) and the spread of piercing culture in major European and American countries.

18. Why an Average Young Person Travels Several Times More Comparing to His or Her Parents

Even though modern youngsters tend to have more possibilities and even finances to travel, it is not the main reason behind taking a trip at least twice a year. In fact, the change of cultures and the way of thinking of current and previous generations encourage young people to discover new places since their teenage years.

19. Social Perception of Drugs: Medication or Entertainment?

For discussing this topic, you will have to focus on the history of drugs and their use throughout the history of the world. It is a wide-known fact that many centuries ago drugs were mainly seen as a medication. Nevertheless, nowadays, they are accessible to almost everybody either legally or illegally.

20. The Issue of an Aging Society in Europe and the USA

An aging society is one of the problems that threaten the future of developed countries. As the residents of these countries get older, there are no young people to replace them at their working places. In such a research paper, you may discover the reasons behind such a situation and the ways to resolve it.


To sum up, an anthropological research essay requires excellent analytical, research, and even creative things. Picking an interesting topic for your research paper in anthropology is much easier as you can imagine. However, you should remember to use reliable sources and, sometimes, even artifacts that represent this or that culture or society. The anthropological research paper does not necessarily have to focus on the culture or traditions. Fortunately, there are many ideas about possible topics beginning from the impact of social networks and ending up with the peculiarities of human relationships in different societies. Finally, anthropological research papers are a great way to find out more about the world, its past, and groups of people that inhabited it throughout history.

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