Study human societies and cultures.
What does an Anthropologist do?
As an Anthropologist, you’re a Social Scientist typically working for colleges, universities, and museums, which pay you to research human origins, cultures, and societies. If you’ve ever had an ant farm, you know that societies are fascinating stuff. Everyone has a part to play, a role to fill, and a job to do.
An Anthropologist’s job is to watch the ants in order to figure out who they are, what they do, how they interact, and what makes them special. Because anthropology is the study of human beings, however, an Anthropologist’s figurative farm is filled with people instead of ants.
Depending on what kind of Anthropologist you are, your research might focus on people’s language, customs, and beliefs; their clothing, tools, possessions, and artifacts; their history and geography; or even their physical and biological characteristics. Regardless, your primary objective is always learning what makes man special, and what separates him from other beings.
Reaching that objective typically demands several routine tasks, the first of which is gathering information, which requires you to visit the field — a tribal village, perhaps, or an archaeological site — to make observations, conduct interviews, and collect evidence. Next, you analyze data based on observation and theory, as well as scientific evidence, using your findings to create a hypothesis. (In other words: You observe “what,” then develop a theory about “why.”) Finally, you report on your findings — in spoken lectures, written articles, and even documentary films.
Think of yourself like Jane Goodall — but with people instead of primates!