A Cotlow Award… - GWU Anthropology

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A Cotlow Award…
What is it?
How do I get one?
Cotlow awards are grants to
support student research
• On anthropological topics in any of the
four fields
• Awarded on a competitive basis each year
• Usually done during the summer
It’s about anthropology
• The project you are proposing must make
sense in terms of anthropology
• You should have had some coursework in
anthropology so you can bring an
anthropological perspective to the project
• Take an anthropology research methods
course to help you strengthen your
Who is eligible to apply?
You must be a GW
What is anthropology?
• Archaeology
• Biological anthropology
• Cultural anthropology
• Linguistic anthropology
Four-field “Gateway” Faculty
These are experienced faculty advisors, but you are may confer with any
member of the faculty
Attiya Ahmad (sociocultural anthropology)
2112 G St. NW, room 102; 202-994-4251
[email protected]
Alison S. Brooks (archaeology, biological anthropology)
2112 G St. NW, room 204; 202-994-4251
[email protected]
Alexander Dent (linguistic and sociocultural anthropology)
2110 G St. NW (HAH), room 302; 202-994-5084
[email protected]
Shannon McFarlin (biological anthropology)
Science & Engineering Hall, room 6810; 202-994-4245
[email protected]
How to find a topic
• Inspiration (hard to explain!)
• Something from your background—been there, seen
• Something you heard about in a class
• An issue that is in the news
• A place you want to go
• Scan past Cotlow proposals (dept. website)
• Scan programs of professional anthropology
meetings, such as the American Anthropological
Association, etc.
• Talk with anthropology professors or teaching
Tips for success in topic
• Work with your strengths: if you know
Spanish, don’t propose to do a project in
• Use your past experience and contacts to
increase the feasibility of the project
• Follow your heart
Is it “anthropological”?
• Talk to some professors to see how you
can shape it
• Read “the literature” (in anthropology)
• Think about methods—how would you
study it?
Seek faculty mentoring
• One benefit of the Cotlow process is that
students and faculty get to know each other
• So, if you are thinking of a project in South
America or about fossil hominins or about
rap music, talk to a professor who knows
that area/topic
• To match faculty with their specialties, go to
ulty and type key words in the Search by Tag
Relevance to Anthropology
• Do preliminary library research on the
topic (start with Gelman electronic
databases such as “AnthroSource” and
“Anthropology Plus”)
• Find out about anthropologists who
have done related work and learn how
they did it (methods)
• Use the Gelman tool “Refworks” to keep
track of your sources
The Cotlow Proposal Form
• Available on the Anthropology
Department website:
• Submit by e-mail
Faculty Advisor(s)
• Faculty advisor: name one or two
– At least one should be a full-time member
of the Anthropology Department faculty
– You may have anthropologists outside the
University or non-anthropologists as
advisors, but get approval from a full-time
Anthropology Department member
– Undergraduates must have their advisor
nominate their proposal to the faculty by
signing the first page
Project Title and Abstract
• Title: think of something informative
and not too long
• Abstract: a short (80 words) description of
your project’s goals, context, methods,
and importance. It pulls key elements from
all the major sections of the proposal.
write it early on, and keep revising it, and
review it carefully and revise it before you
submit the proposal
Description of the Project
• This section provides a general description
of your project:
– Overall research objectives
– The location/site/context of the project
• Characteristics of the site
• Why this particular site
Significance of the Topic to
• Review the related “literature” in anthropology
• Discuss what selected anthropologists have written
on/around your topic
• “Bundle” related anth lit into themes; see examples of
successful proposals on the Anthropology Department
• Use social science citation style; see style guidelines
on aaanet.org
• References cited/consulted must be listed in the
section called “References Cited” at the end
Research Questions and
Methods of Data Collection
• Objectives: State your overarching research
questions: what, overall, do you want to learn?
(try sticking to two or three)
• Discuss the data collection methods you will
use to provide information to help answer those
• As appropriate, you may wish to mention data
analysis methods used during or after the
funding period
Ethics: Anthropology Guidelines
• Learn about anthropology ethics from your
• Refer to the AAA website for ethics guidelines in
all four fields: aanet.org
• More detailed guidelines exist on other sites for
archaeology and biological anthropology
• Be specific in describing how you will follow
ethical practices in your research
Ethics: GW Research Rules
• Regarding “research” involving “human subjects”
• Consult the GW website for the Institutional Review
Board: http://humanresearch.gwu.edu/
– Research includes activities that seek to provide
“generalizable knowledge”
– A human subject is just a person; it is a person involved in
particular kinds of research
• Most, but not all, student projects involving living
humans fit under the category of “excluded”
research and so you do not need to fill out IRB forms
• Projects that are related to health issues, or involve
children and pregnant women, for example, fit into
“risk” categories of IRB concern
• Consult with your mentor(s)!
Research Product
• How will you present and otherwise
make use of your findings?
• Examples:
– For your academic goals (thesis, etc.)
– To the “scholarly community” (conference
paper, website, etc.)
– To the host community/country (copy of
your thesis or other written work for a
library, website, shared skills with local
people, etc.)
One Required “Product”
• If you receive a Cotlow award, you are
required to present your findings in a brief
oral presentation – at a separate Cotlow
Conference, if one is held, at another
research event sponsored by the
department, or at a venue approved by
your mentor.
• Lay out your goals week by week, or in
whatever way is appropriate and
sufficiently detailed
• Imagine your way through the project—
this stage may prompt you to rethink your
research objectives!
• Look at examples of successful Cotlow
proposals posted on the Anthropology
Department website
• Cotlow awards range from $200 to $1800
• Consider your potential expenses carefully and
try to find the lowest rates for travel, housing,
• In your budget, list all major expenditures,
estimated as best as you can
Details in the Budget
• You may want to add a line for “local travel,”
rough amount $200 (just an example)
• Or, gifts to project participants, $200
• Or, translation assistance, $500
• Faculty mentor(s) can advise you about the
Budget cont’d:
What You Cannot Ask For
• Equipment such as cameras
• Tuition and fees
Budget cont’d:
• Most Cotlow projects do not involve staff
but some do, perhaps for translation
• If your project requires an assistant,
explain the reasons why somewhere in the
body of the proposal
• In the budget, provide a line item and
explain qualifications of person(s) to be
Budget continued:
Outside Financial or Other Support
• Some Cotlow recipients co-finance the
project themselves or receive financial help
from other grants, family, etc. Other receive
“in-kind” support such as free housing or
food from relatives or friends during the
• If so, please mention this support on the
Budget page, making it clear that it is not
being requested from the Cotlow award.
References Cited/Select
• Provide references for all sources cited in your
proposal; you may also include sources that you have
noted cited but that were important in your
development of the proposal
• We are looking for solid anthropological references,
although you may include some non-anthropological
• Follow an approved professional style, such as that of
the American Psychological Association. (See
• PhD proposals should generally have more
• Particular research sites may require
formal permission from the country,
locality, or institution for your project
• In your application, please provide copies
of such permission or mention that you are
in the process of securing such
• Include an unofficial copy of your GW
transcript for your current degree program
(or from a previous school if you are
transfer BA student)
• Failure to include your transcript will mean
that your proposal is incomplete and will
not be reviewed
Legal Conditions of the Award
• A brief expenditure report must be
submitted to the Anthropology Department
within three months of the end of research
• Presentation of findings at an approved
public venue
• Compliance with all relevant ethical
• Compliance with GW safety guidelines
when outside the US
Personal Safety during the
Research Period
• Choose a research site that will be safe for you
• In case of potential problems, keep track of U.S.
government advisories about the country
• For international research, keep GW apprised of your
location and follow GW safety rules and insurance
• Have a back-up site in mind in case you need to
change your research site at the last minute due to
safety concerns
Final Tip for Success:
(proposal drafts and revisions take time and are
essential for a successful proposal)
• Allow a lot of time to write and revise the
– Ask faculty mentor(s) to review drafts and
allow for time for them to do so (turnaround
– Revise (this takes time)
– Have your mentor look at it again; revise
– Submit a complete proposal on time! (don’t
forget your transcript)

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