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Ethnic Studies / Interdisciplinary

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Guide Start - Scholarly Research for Anthropology

College professors will usually require some scholarly (also academic, peer-reviewed) sources.

Three things to look for:

  • Was it written by experts? The authors are specialists in their field, list their educational background (e.g. PhD), and are usually affiliated with a university.
  • Is it based on research? The findings are based on a study conducted by the authors, or on a review of other expert literature. There will *always* be a bibliography or works cited list of the research used.
  • Who is the intended audience? Scholarly sources will use complex, expert language and be fairly lengthy. Most academic research is published in peer-reviewed journals or books, not freely available through Google.



Journal articles,
book chapters

Magazines, newspapers,
most websites

Written by experts,
specialists, often with
university affiliation

Written by journalists;
orgs or govt agencies;
or author unknown

Based on research,
has a bibliography

Based on opinions &
experiences, no biblio

complex language

easier to read

AKA: academic,

AKA: mass media,
popular press

Is this Article Scholarly? Use this checklist to be sure your sources are scholarly.

And check out this information timeline to understand when and how information is published.



Articles and Books

TO Guide Articles


    These databases have mostly scholarly articles:

    The following databases have mostly popular press (mass media) articles:

    See an article you want in one of these databases?

    1. Click on the "Get it! @CSUSM" link
    2. Look for "Full Text" in PDF or HTML format
    3. If we don't own the full-text, simply fill out an Interlibrary Loan request. It's free for you to use and takes about 1 - 10 business days to arrive.
    4. Any time you need help, ask Toni Olivas (Education & Sociology Librarian) or email You can also try our live chat during library hours.

    Note: If you use Google Scholar, don't pay for articles from publisher websites! Find the full text for free through our library.

    TO Guide Search Strategies

    Search Strategies

    Search strategies to get better results when searching a database:

    1. Identify key concepts and synonyms
    2. Use "quotes" around phrases
    3. Use AND between different concepts
    4. Use OR between similar concepts
    5. Use an asterisk* to find word variations

    Bonus: Use NOT to exclude concepts

    Build your own search strategy (University of Arizona)

    Citing Sources

    Need Help?

    Yvonne Nalani Meulemans

    Head of Teaching and Learning (on sabbatical, Spring 2018)
    Office Location: 
    Kellogg 3422

    Contact Info