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Research Guide:

ANTH 4300-Anthropological Research Methods

Objective:  Using Library Resources in Preparing a Research Proposal

I. Clearly define your research problem

Use Reference Resources to clarify your research problem and gather background information. Selected resources in the WSU library are listed below. Look on the shelves near these books; there may be similar books nearby with helpful information.

  • Encyclopedia of Anthropology
    Middle Level, Reference Shelves: GN 11 .E53 2006
  • Encyclopedia of Cultural Anthropology
    Middle Level, Reference Shelves:  GN 307 .E52 1996
  • Encyclopedia of Social and Cultural Anthropology
    Middle Level, Reference Shelves: GN 307 .E525 1996
  • The Dictionary of Anthropology
    Middle Level, Reference Shelves: GN 307 .D485 1997
  • International Dictionary of Anthropologists
    Middle Level, Reference Shelves: GN 20 .I52 1991
  • Handbook of Methods in Cultural Anthropology
    Middle Level, Reference Shelves: GN 345 .H37 1998
  • Encyclopedia of Sociology
    Middle Level, Reference Shelves:  HM 425 .E5 2000
  • Encyclopedia of Psychology
    Middle Level, Reference Shelves: BF 31 .E522 2000

II. Select your search terms

  • State your research topic as a thesis statement or a question:
    the effects of corporal punishment on adolescents
  • Identify the separate concepts that make up your topic; put phrases in quotation marks:
    "corporal punishment"; adolescents
  • Make a list of search terms for each concept. Be sure to include synonyms, related terms, and terms that may be broader or narrower:
    "corporal punishment": spanking, "physical punishment"
    adolescents: teenagers, teens, youths
    The Contemporary Thesarus of Search Terms and Synonyms - ask at Reference Desk
  • Add appropriate official subject headings to your lists:
    Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms - ask at Reference Desk
    Thesaurus of Sociological Indexing Terms - ask at Reference Desk
    Thesaurus of ERIC Descriptors [Education] - ask at Reference Desk
    Library of Congress Subject Headings - ask at Reference Desk

III. Devise your search strategy

Based on your list(s) of search terms , devise your search strategy:

  • use boolean operator OR; this tells the computer to search for all the terms at the same time:
    "corporal punishment" or spanking; adolescents or teenagers
  • use boolean operator AND; this tells the computer to restrict retrieval to both concepts:
    "corporal punishment" and adolescents
  • use truncation (*) to broaden your search to include variants of a term:
    adolescen* will retrieve adolescence, adolescent, adolescents
  • use parentheses to group terms combined using OR :
    ("corporal punishment" or spank* or "physical punishment") and (adolescen* or teen* or youth*)

IV. Conduct a literature search


Finding books:

To find books , search one or more of the following library catalogs :

Be sure to check the shelves near any books you find; there may be other books with similar information nearby.

You can also find books on Anthropology and related fields by browsing the shelves in the Top Level of the library in the General Collection under the following call numbers: GN [Anthropology], CC [Archaeology], QM [Human Evolution], L [Linguistics], GR [Folklore], HM [Sociology], HQ [Family. Marriage. Women], and BF [Psychology].

If the book you want is not available in our library, use ILLiad (our online Interlibrary Loan system) to request the book from another library. This usually takes 4 to 7 days.

Finding articles:

To find articles, you need to use an article database, a searchable database of references to journal, magazine and newspaper articles. Some article databases also include the full-text of the article.

To find scholarly journals articles in Anthropology, the best place to start is Academic Search Premier. It contains thousands of full-text articles from hundreds of magazines and scholarly journals, including many in Anthropology and related disciplines. To limit your search to scholary journal articles in Academic Search Premier, click on the box next to Scholarly (Peer-Reviewed) Journals. You may also limit your search to articles available in full-text on the computer by clicking on the box next to Full Text. The library also has access to many other Social and Behavior Sciences article databases  that may include relevant articles. Two databases that are specific to anthropology are AnthroSource (selected full text available on-campus only) and Anthropological Index Online (no full text).

Obtaining articles:

If the article is available as PDF Full-text in the article database you are using, download, email or print the article.

If the article is not available as PDF Full-text, click on the Linked Full Text or Find Full Text buttons to see if we have it in full-text in another database.

If there are no Linked Full Text or Find Full Text buttons, or if it says that no full-text is available when you follow any of the links, check the library's EJournals list to see if full-text for the journal containing the article is available in another article database. This list will also tell you if we subscribe to the journal in print format.

If the article is only available in print, do a Journal Alphabetical search in our Online Catalog to identify the call number for the print journal. Recent issues of print journals are shelved by call number in the Current Periodicals area on the Middle Level of the library at the south end. Earlier issues are shelved by call number in bound volumes on the Top Level of the library.

If the article is not available either online or in print, use ILLiad (our online Interlibrary Loan system) to request a copy of the article from another library. This usually takes 2 to 4 days.

Check the bibliography:

When you find a good book or article, be sure to check the bibliography to identify other books and articles on your subject.

Finding Internet Resources:

To find Internet resources, an excellent place to begin is the Stewart Library's list of web resources in Anthropology. Most of the sites listed will provide links to additional sites, so explore! Sociological Abstracts will often retrieve links to selected web sites as well as journal articles. Use Internet search engines to find additional information.

V. Carefully evaluate the information you find

Need Help?

  • Visit the Reference Desk or call  626-6415 and speak to a reference librarian
  • Online reference help via email:  Ask-A-Librarian Service


Updated December 30, 2008 . Please send comments to Wade Kotter
Weber State University, Stewart Library. Copyright © 2016 All Rights Reserved.

Stewart Library - Weber State University - Ogden, Utah 84408. (801) 626-6403 - Copyright © 2008 ALL Rights Reserved