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ANT100: The science of the human

How can this guide help me?

The purpose of this guide is to answer the most frequently asked questions about the library research you need to do for your ANT100 assignment. 

Still have questions? You have options!

You can:

 

Photo by Prof. I. Kalmar. Used with permission.

Do I need to use the Library for my research?

You can find scholarly articles on Google. You might run into a couple of problems, though:

  1. You may be asked to pay for the articles you find -- and articles are not cheap.

    DON'T PAY! The U of T Libraries have bought ca. 40 million online scholarly articles for you to use. Chances are, we have your article. Come back to the Library homepage to look for it - here's how to look up an article by title.
  2. Google also has a lot of popular and quasi-scholarly material (like articles that haven't gone through peer review yet). This can make it harder to choose a good scholarly article.

Using the library to find a scholarly article in anthropology means using the Library's online scholarly databases to search and access the Library's online scholarly articles. You can do this from home by signing in with your UTORID when prompted.

 

What is peer review? Peer review in 3 minutes

How can I tell if my article is peer-reviewed?

1) Many library databases allow you to select scholarly articles. Some allow you to specifically select only peer-reviewed articles.

2) Not all scholarly journals are peer-reviewed. You can double-check your journal in Ulrichs Periodical Directory (Ulrichsweb), to see if it's peer-reviewed (= refereed).

3) Not everything in a scholarly journal is an article. Make sure you don't pick a book review, an editorial, a news item, etc. Get to know the major clues for recognizing a scholarly article: it reports on research; written by a scholar (university or research institute generally listed); bibliography/references; structure (e.g. often opens with an abstract); technical or disciplinary language.

How do I find good scholarly articles on my topic?

There are two parts to finding good articles: 1) using smart keywords; and 2) knowing where and how to search.

1) Use smart keywords.

Good searching starts with strong keywords. Use your assignment (see sample at right) and assignment readings to get started.

Keyword tips:

1. Use phrase searching.

Put quotes around two or more words to search them together as a phrase, like "participant observation".

2. Use truncation.

Putting * after a root word (or part of a word) searches on every word that starts with the root.

e.g. ethic* brings up ethics and ethical

3. Be selective.

Using too many keywords is not actually helpful to your search. The circled words on the previous page contain several related words, like gangs and street culture. Don't use them all - choose.

4. Searching is trial and error. If you don't like your results, change your keywords. You can:

  • replace keywords with synonyms or related words, for example replace gangs with"street culture"
  • take out the least important keywords. For example, you may decide violence is important to your topic but that it doesn't matter to you whether it's gang violence, so take out gangs
  • add in new keywords that you discover through your search. For example, you might notice the term ethnography appearing in several articles and use that to replace"participant observation."
2) Know where and how to search

There are several places you can start your search for scholarly articles - what works best for your particular search may again be a matter of trial and error.

1. From the library homepage you can:

a. Use the "Start your search" box. 

This lets you search across the Library's ca. 40 million scholarly articles from all disciplines, as well as books, videos, maps, music.... For more info see:

Finding scholarly articles

Five ways to improve your article searches

Find the full-text article by title

b. Use "Subjects A-Z" to find anthropology databases that allow you to do a more narrow, focused search.

2. You can also use Google Scholar, a subset of Google focused on scholarly materials. Although this is another huge, multidisciplinary database, the Google relevance algorithm usually surfaces good articles on a topic.

Connect Google Scholar to Library resources

How can I tell if my chosen article is an anthropology article?

Sometimes the clues are obvious:

What to do if you're not sure:

  • Google your author(s) to see if they work in an Anthropology dept.
  • Add the word anthropology to the other keywords in your search. WARNING: this is a quick and dirty method since not all anthropology articles are so neatly labelled and you'll probably eliminate valid articles. Not recommended for assignments where you need to do a thorough search of a topic. You'll probably also still get articles on related subjects.
  • Choose the subject anthropolgy from the subject list that comes up to the left of the results of your Search All search. The same warning as above applies.

 

  • Search for articles in a database that focuses on anthropology:
    • AnthroSource - a database containing ca. 250,000 articles published by the American Anthropological Association
    • Anthropology Plus - the major database for anthropology with ca. 850,000 aticles published worldwide; includes some articles from related fields
  • Check with your TA.

How can I tell if an article is relevant to my topic?

You don't have to read an entire article from beginning to end to know if it's relevant. Check out the following video for some tips on how to read an article for your purposes.