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ANT 112 - Downtown (James-Hernandez) Exploring Non-Western Cultures: Group Project

Group Project--Library Research

This exercise will prepare you for your group project. You will present ideas from your assigned chapter, and you will integrate material from external sources.

Today's goals

  • Begin exploring for topics of interest within your assigned chapter.
  • Learn to use the four searchable resources
  • Master the process of emailing articles (along with citations) and obtaining books

In this exercise, you will complete a worksheet based on your unique research selections. You will locate material of the following types.

  • Reference sources--overview articles for getting ideas and bringing yourself up-to-speed
  • Academic (scholarly) journal articles--for focused, in-depth studies by experts in the discipline.
  • Books--for breadth and depth of topic coverage
  • Web Pages--especially those hosted by U.S. colleges and universities

The worksheet will be supplied in paper, but it is also available electronically in the box below.

Happy research!

Worksheet for this exercise

Overview Articles

The purpose of a reference source, such as an encyclopedia, is to give you an overview of an unfamiliar topic. An overview provides you with essential information to quickly "bring you up-to-speed." Additionally, an overview may put the topic in a larger context.

A reference source can help you explore possible topics. It can also inform your search for in-depth sources, such as articles or books.

Using the following source, you will search through 700 reference sources, including 200 specialized subject encyclopedias. A subject encyclopedia comprehensively covers the territory of a given subject.  A few examples from the discipline of anthropology:

Gale Virtual Reference Library

  • You can focus on a single encyclopedia.
  • Usually, you search across all of them simultaneously, comparing the coverage of one topic across several disciplines.
  • Email articles to yourself.  Select a style of citation (MLA is by default).
  • Use Ctrl+F to scan for words within any displayed article.

Academic (Scholarly) Journal Articles

Experts in a discipline often report their findings to other experts by publishing articles in academic journals (also known as scholarly journals). Because these articles are written by experts for other experts, they can be difficult reading for outsiders. But the information they contain is valuable and generally credible.

Many journals practice a kind of quality control known as peer review. In peer review, no article is published before being reviewed by other experts in the field on its significance and methodological soundness. Outsiders benefit from peer review, because we know the experts have chance to challenge an article before it is published. We have more reason to trust it.

MegaSearch contains (among other things) millions of academic journal articles across all disciplines. It also allows you to limit your search to peer-reviewed journals in the discipline of anthropology.

  • Use the Advanced Search box (it will appear automatically with the link above).
    • Check-mark the box for Anthropology
  • Enter your main concept in first search box, and then limit this initial search by adding your focus concept in the second box.
  • Check-mark the box (left margin) for Scholarly Journals (peer reviewed).
  • Most journal articles contain abstracts of summaries.  Pay attention to these.
  • Email articles to yourself (right margin), along with a citation (MLA style is the default; or you can choose another style)

Books (using the Library Catalog)

Experts in anthropology also write books to pull together various research into a whole.  Other authors also write books for a popular audience, on the same topic.

Search the Library Catalog




Experiment with different search terms in Keyword searches. Combine a topic of interest with a focusing term.  Examples:

  • family anthropolog*
  • Mexico ethnolog*

Tips for seaching the catalog:

  • Use only a few words.
  • Find books at a specific campus by clicking this at the top of the screen.
  • Request books from another campus by clicking  at the top of the screen



Scholarly Books--How to Identify Them

  • Scholarly books are written by experts in a discipline. Their primary audience is other experts.  Check the credentials of the author. Scholarly authors usually have a master's degree or a Ph.D.
  • All scholarly books formally cite their sources.  Look for in-text citations and a list of references.  This is a good indicator.
  • Scholarly books have a serious purpose, so they adopt a serious tone. If the book has cutesy chapter titles, it is probably meant for a popular audience.

Web pages--from U.S. colleges & universities

Any Google search can be limited to specific domains. 

  • One domain is .edu, which matches web pages hosted by U.S. colleges and universities.
  • This is an exclusive domain--you can't buy it, unless you really are a college.
  • You can limit ANY Google search to college sites. Simply add the command below.

Search Google for:     kinship

Now limit it:                   kinship      Now your results are limited.

The internet domain for PCC is:

You'll see it in any PCC web address: