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Anthropology: Research Tips
A guide for research in Anthropology, Archaeology, and related areas
Communicating through Social Media: What Do We Gain? What Do We Lose?
Brainstorming for keywords
What keywords would you use to search for information on this topic?
What keywords best describe the different facets of this topic?
Which synonyms or related terms can you think of that also reflect the different facets of this topic?
gain AND lose
representation of women in the film industry
birth, death, and legacy of post-punk music
Boolean Logic: And, Or, Not
Boolean logic is foundational to internet/electronic-based search. The library catalog uses it, journal databases use it, even Google -beneath all those mysterious relevancy algorithms - uses it!
AND - searches for things that contain ALL of your keywords
"video games" AND therapy
post-punk AND music
OR - searches for things with ANY of your keywords (really great for synonyms!)
("video games" OR "computer games") AND (therapy OR exercise)
(post-punk OR "new wave") AND music
NOT - searches for things WITHOUT a specific keword
("video games" NOT wii) AND therapy
(post-punk NOT "new wave") AND music
Research Tips and Strategies
When keyword searching, use key words
that best describe your topic.The
objective is to get a small group of relevant records.People, places themes, characters, time
periods, events, types of information (i.e. ethnography) issues and more can be
key words.What words or phrases best
describe your topic?
For locating primary source
material, consider these “subject keywords”: sources, documents, personal narrative,
documentary history, archives, manuscripts, correspondence, speech*,
oration, statistics, cartoon*, interview*, oral history*.
Evaluate your search results.Click on the title to view the entire reocrd, including chapters and subject headings. If you don’t see related materials in the top
10-20 items of your search results, reconstruct your search using alternative
keywords, synonyms, narrower terms, more terms, etc.
Note the citation/source information (journal
title, volume #, issue #, and date) before leaving the database, even if
just to go to another window.The
citation is the most important information in the database record and is
required to locate the article text, online or in print.
Raid bibliographies.Books and articles have bibliographies and
references.Use them so you don’t have
to spend hours database searching.
library, like materials are shelved together.When looking for a particular book on the
shelf, also scope out what’s shelved next to it.Books and back issues of periodicals are
inter-filed on the shelves in call number order.
Consult a librarian. We work across the disciplines, will refer you if
necessary, and can help track down sources, explain library services, interpret
citations and find the most useful keywords. The Ask a Librarian service provides 24/7 access to a librarian.