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ANTH 281a: Graduate Library Orientation: Beginning Your Research In Anthropology

Beginning Your Research In Anthropology

This tab aims to help you better navigate this guide and directs you to some particularly good beginning resources for Anthropology Research.

There are three useful principals to remember and apply when searching any kind of electronic search tool (a library catalog, a digital library, a database, the internet, etc.)

1. A keyword search in any resource will point you to great initial resources, but you will not find all of the resources you need this way. 

2. It is really important that you follow up on your initial searching by:

a) looking at the complete records to identify subject headings or descriptors that you can use to search further

b) carrying out seed research: go to the initial sources and check the footnotes, endnotes, and bibliographies to find further resources.  It is also helpful to walk around the shelves in the library where you find initial print sources, as other related sources will be shelved in this area.

3. Use reference sources, including Reviews of Current Research and Encyclopedias and Dictionaries to start your research as well.  These can help you help you clarify and narrow down your topic, define key terms, and identify great starting resources.

A few excellent online reference packages include:

For places to search for books, click on the "Books and eBooks" tab. Please notice that there are subtabs for "Access to ebooks" and "Dissertations and Theses." Even though dissertations and theses are unpublished book-length works, they are often important sources of original information and their bibliographies can lead you to other sources.  They are also helpful as templates for your own theses and dissertations.

The "Book Reviews" tab (like "Reviews of Current Research") can help you identify essays on particular themes that point to and evaluate various works on a given topic.  Other book reviews examine only one resource, helping you identify how it might (or might not) be useful to your research..

To locate academic journal articles, use the various databases listed on the "Articles" Tab.  The "Journals" tab points to key journals (most of them online) in various anthropology subfields.  Browsing the tables of contents of such journals can help you get a good sense of the state of the field and identifying particular journals allows you to do very precise searches or consider possible places to publish.

The "Films, Images, Maps" Tab lists resources and methods to identify and access relevant films and images for your research. 

And the "Assistance with Writing, Citing, and managing Citations" tabs point to various tools to help you with writing and keeping track of the sources you use.  The drop down "Annotated Bibliographies and Lit Reviews" is also helpful for such assignments and research related more advanced research, including theses and dissertations.

A few resources that serve as excellent Starting Point for many Anthropology Topics are listed below.  However, PLEASE NOTE that for many anthropology topics, there are additional databases and search tools that may be equally important.  DO NOT limit yourself to these!