Start Here!

Start Here!

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

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, reach out to the librarian listed on the right-hand side of this guide. You can also email or try 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

    Citing Sources

    ANTH Library Classes

    ANTH Library Classes

    ANTH 301


    ANTH 301

    Culture & Medicine: Healers and Healing Practices

    • Understanding the research process
      • Background info (Google, Wikipedia, CAM, Ethnomed)
      • Concept mapping
    • Using databases to find scholarly research
      • Make sure it's scholarly!
      • Search strategies
      • Books, too

      Keep in mind:

      • your research will help inform your interview.
      • the healer's practices might vary from what you find in the scholarly research.
      • look for patterns and make connections.

      Think broadly! For example:

      • reiki: try energy healing, biofeedback, massage therapy
      • Tibetan sound bowls: try sound therapy, music therapy
      • shaman or curandero/a: don't limit yourself to one tribe or population
      • it's OK if research has been done in other countries or on different illnesses/symptom.
      • make connections between the research you find, your ethnographic interview, similarities and differences, etc.

      Email, chat, call, or make an appt with Lalitha or further help!

      ANTH 370 Spenard

      ANTH 370 Library Lab

      "Ecological and Anthropological Data" group assignment:

      1. Identifying scholarly sources (what does scholarly even mean?)
      2. Searching for scholarly sources (five database search strategies)
      3. Interpreting scholarly sources (three questions to ask while you read)

        Most helpful databases for ANTH 370

          Recommended journals for cultural ecology

          Note: most of these are searchable in above databases.

          Recommended books

          Recommended websites