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ANTB64: Are You What You Eat?: The Anthropology of Food

Professor Lena Mortensen - Fall 2020

Find Anthropology Journal Articles

Finding a Specific Journal Article

Has your professor assigned a particular journal article as a course reading? Or are you looking for the full-text version of an article you found online or through a database search? Follow these instructions to find a specific journal article.

Recommended Article Databases for Anthropology

If you are looking for scholarly, peer-reviewed journal articles on topics in sociocultural anthropology, we recommend searching in the databases listed below. For best results, search more than one database, since each one includes unique journals. To incorporate a range of perspectives on the topic, try searching in anthropology-specific and multidisciplinary databases.

Writing Effective Search Strategies

Before you begin, read your research question/assignment. If you have any questions, be sure to ask your instructor or TA before you begin your research.

  Why? How? Example
Step 1: Identify key concepts Key concepts from your research question are the most effective search terms to quickly locate relevant sources. Underline key nouns from your research question. How does food contribute to nationalism?
Step 2: Identify alternative search terms To find everything relevant to your topic in a database. Brainstorm alternatives (synonyms, alternative spelling) for your key concepts.

Key concept 1: food

  • food(s)
  • cuisine
  • cooking
  • dish(es)
  • meal(s)
  • eat, eating

Key concept 2: nationalism

  • nation, national, nationality
  • patriotism
  • identity
Step 3: Consider using limiters (available in a library database) In order to focus on articles that are appropriate for your assignment. Choose limiters in a library database that are relevant to your research needs.
  • Scholarly or peer reviewed
  • Format: e.g. newspaper, magazine, scholarly journal
  • Publication date
  • Language
Step 4: Combine your search terms In order to get more focused results, use Boolean operators (and, or) as well as the wildcard* to combine key concepts.

And: Combines key concepts together to find articles that contain both concepts.

Or: Combines alternative search terms to find articles that contain either/any concept.

Wildcard*: Finds variations in spelling, prefixes, and suffixes (revers* will find reverse, reversal, reversing, etc.)

Quotation marks: searches for word or phrase as a unit (preserves word order)

(food* or cuisine* or cooking or dish* or meal* or eat*)


(national* or patriotism or identity or identities)

Step 5: Review your search results Check if articles are appropriate for your assignment to ensure you find the right information to write a high quality paper.

Check if you articles are:

  • Relevant to your topic and discipline
  • Popular or scholarly (depending on whether you're working on the first or second annotation assignment)
  • Current enough (publication year)
Step 6: Adjust your strategy If you don't find relevant articles, change your search strategy.

Too few articles? Try...

  • Adding more synonyms or related terms (combine with OR)
  • Deleting the least relevant term from your search
  • Using the wildcard*

Too many articles? Try...

  • Focusing on a specific component of the topic
  • Adding more keywords (combine with AND)

Too few articles? Try...

  • Consider adding related terms to your search, which may have a broader or narrower meaning
  • Check for alternate spellings
  • Search for the plural versions of your concepts
  • Capture variant forms of each concept (e.g. as a noun vs. a verb)

Example: incorporate the names of specific example foods into the search

Too many articles? Try...

  • Limiting the search to a specific population, group, or phenomena
  • Looking at your topic in a specific location or region
  • Focusing on a particular idea of theme that's present in some of the article you're finding

Example: narrowing the search to focus on a particular type of food, or a specific nation

Adapted from The University of Manchester Library: Making Your Search Work (Cheat Sheet)

Additional Resources