Book Report Format for Anthropology 212


You are required to write a seven to nine page (about 315 words per page for a total of 2205 to 2835 words) book report on an ethnography of your choice that has been approved by me.  To gain approval bring the book to me before or after class or during my office hours.  My GTA will record your selection.  Please note that your report must be on a book approved by me.  Nevertheless, you may change your book at any time so long as you inform us and go through a new approval process.

Thousands of ethnographies have been written so you should have considerable latitude in choosing one that suits your interests.  If you have a problem selecting an ethnography on a particular topic or area of the world, visit me and I will see what I can do to assist  you.

To help you gain an idea of what I consider to be an excellent book report, copies of previous book reports for this class are electronically available.  To view these reports, scroll down to "Model Book Reports" below and click on the link.

The book report will count 25% of your total class grade and is due the day indicated on the course syllabus. If you wish, you may turn in a rough (but readable and complete) first draft on or before 21 April for comments and a preliminary grade. I will return your draft with my comments to you by 26 April. You then have the option of changing the report or resubmitting it unchanged on 28 April the day the book report is due.  Please send first and final drafts to me at as an email attachment and format the report in MS Word or RTF.  Please do not use "Google Drive" or other cloud-based service.  Finally, please name your file "last name-book-report" (e.g., Jones-212-Book-Report), or something similar that contains your name.

In general, the report should follow the outline described below. Be aware that this is an all purpose outline and it may be impossible or difficult to answer some of the outlined questions. For example, in older ethnographies ethnographers don't describe their methods. In such a case, simply state that the ethnographer did not describe his or her methods, and move on to the next topic.

I. Introduction: a clear statement of the central theme, focus, issue, or problem the ethnographer investigated.

II. Methods: describe the methods the ethnographer used to collect data (e.g., interview, participant-observation) and the techniques (e.g., statistical, case study) used to analyze the data.:

III. Body of paper (about two-thirds of the report):

A. Provide a chapter-by-chapter survey of the contents of the ethnography and evaluate how well it supports the stated goal(s) of the ethnography.

B. Be sure to Discuss important issues of the ethnography and attempt to relate them (whenever possible) to what you have learned from the lectures, videos, or assigned texts and web readings.

IV. Discussion and Conclusion:

A. What is the theoretical perspective of the ethnographer and how does it color his or her analysis of the data?

B. Is the ethnographer convincing, that is, are the methods and data adequate for dealing with the research problems?

C. Does the author attempt to generalize the findings through use of the comparative method?

D. How did the ethnography help you understand more deeply something about your own culture?

E. How did the ethnography reinforce or undermine any of your assumptions about human behavior?   

Model Book Reports
Go to the Model Book Report Page to view examples excellent book reports written by former students


  • Please review Section 4.2 of UNL's Student Code of Conduct for definitions and warnings about plagiarism.  If you plagiarize you will receive an F for the course
  • The paper should have a front page containing your name, the course name, book title, and author name. 
  • Final Note: Failure to take an exam or turn in a book report on the day assigned will result in 0 grade. Only an illness, family emergency, or some dire extenuating circumstance will persuade me to give you a make-up exam (essay format) or to extend the book report due date.  Retain a copy of your book report in case the one you wrote or submitted to me disappears.

The following links contain a list of ethnogaphies many of which have paragraph description of their contents.  About 90% of these are acceptable but be sure to have me approve the book before you begin.

  • Cenage Publishers once there, click on "case studies" or "cultural anthropology".  You will arrive at a variety of book titles that you can click on for further information. 

Search Strategies at Love Library

The best way find ethnographies at Love Library is to use a "subject" search.  Here is how you can do it.  First log-on to love library at  Once there, select "Catalogs" and then "UNL Libraries Catalog".  Under "Search catalog by" select"subject".  A subject search screen will appear and in it type "social life and customs".  The result will be more than 5,00 entries.  At this point you can begin to scan through the entries or, more productively, you can use the "limit search" option at the bottom of the page to search within.  For example, using the "words in title" option you can add words such as "women" or "Africa" or "Indians" to bring up ethnographies or groups of ethnographies that deal with topics specified.


Clarity and directness are prized.  Avoid this inspiration: