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ANT 210 - West (Drake-Rosenstein): Literature Reviews

What is a literature review?

According to the Purdue OWL,

"A literature review is a document or section of a document that collects key sources on a topic and discusses those sources in conversation with each other (also called synthesis) . . . When we say “literature review” or refer to “the literature,” we are talking about the research (scholarship) in a given field. You will often see the terms “the research,” “the scholarship,” and “the literature” used mostly interchangeably.


Purdue Writing Lab. (n.d.). Writing a literature review . Purdue Online Writing Lab. Retrieved February 8, 2022, from

Avoiding a Laundry List Lit Review

This article demonstrates how to edit your review so that it isn't just a list of studies, it actually flows together to help make your research and ideas shine. Check it out here:

Finding Articles to use in your Literature Review

MegaSearch   [Searches multiple databases. ]

  • Click the link above.
  • Before you search, scroll down a little, and check the box for Anthropology.
  • In a search box, type your topic keyword(s) (remember to consider various combinations of keywords)
  • You can add other terms, like "United States" to other boxes to tailor your results even more
  • Search to find articles on your topic


SocIndex   [Yes, it is a Sociology database, but they have some Anthropology articles and use some ethnographic research methods in their work ]

  • Click the link above.
  • In a search box, type your topic keyword(s) AND "ethnograph*" or "Anthropology". 
  • Search to find articles on your topic, you may want to confirm with your instructor that these articles are appropriate to use in your literature review