Skip to main content

Anthropology

What's in this guide

1. Define peer review.

2. Learn where to find a peer reviewed source from an anthropological journal.

3. Cite using AAA.

When to start?

For help with time management, use the Assignment Tracker tool.

Keywords

Keywords are the main ideas of your issue. Use them to search.

AND - connect different ideas
e.g. "human rights" AND russia

OR - connect synonyms
e.g. global OR international

NOT - use sparingly!
e.g. economic NOT social

Is it a peer-reviewed journal?

Peer-reviewed and scholarly journals are related but not identical. Not all scholarly journals go through the peer-review process.

Academic/Scholarly articles: 

  • Scholarly journals contain articles written by, and addressed to, experts in a discipline, including scholars, researchers, and academics.
  • They are concerned with academic study, especially original research, and demonstrate the methods and concerns of scholars.
  • Articles are usually fairly long, include charts and tables and the language is  discipline-specific
  • Scholarly journals always rigorously cite their sources in the form of footnotes or bibliographies. Many scholarly journals are published by professional organizations. 

Peer-reviewed articles:

  • Peer review is the process by which colleagues critically appraise each other's work in order to ensure a high level of scholarship.
  • When the manuscript of an article is submitted to a peer-reviewed journal, independent experts are asked to read and comment on the manuscript. If approved by the reviewers, the manuscript is accepted for publication as an article in the journal. 

Test out your understanding of Popular vs Scholarly Articles  using Quiz created by University of Arizona Libraries

Use Ulrichsweb.com to check whether a journal is scholarly or peer-reviewed.

1. Type in the name of the journal. Click the magnifying glass icon to search.

2. On the results page, look for a little black and white referee shirt icon next to the journal.
Refereed = peer reviewed

You'll probably see more than one listing for the title because there's separate entries for print, microform and electronic versions.

Anthropology journals

If you're not able to find anything in Anthropology Plus, you can try searching in specific journals.

You'll have to look through the titles for a journal that fits with your topic and search in each journal separately.

1. Read your assignment

Read your assignment carefully and highlight the key parts (requirements, due date, length, etc.)

Checklist:

1. (At least) one course reading
2. (At least) one peer-reviewed source from an anthropological journal

2. Search in Course readings

Start with your course readings. Look at the References Cited list at the end of the relevant readings.

Once you find a citation you want, type the author(s) and article title into the search box on the library homepage. You should be able to find it in the left column of results (Articles & Book Chapters).

3. Search in an Anthropology-specific database

Since you need a source from an anthropology journal, you have two options:

  • Search in anthropology journals one at a time
  • Search in a database, which allows you to search many journals at a time (but may not cover all issues of a journal)

Anthropology Plus is a database that focuses on anthropology specifically, so it's your best bet for this assignment.

4. Make sure it's from a peer-reviewed source

If you're using the library search, check off these two boxes on the upper left:

Using these filters (delimiters) isn't perfect, but it will eliminate most of the non-peer-reviewed sources. 

In some databases, they may have a similar checkbox option. Anthropology Plus doesn't, so you'll need to take an extra step to check if it's peer reviewed. Follow the instructions in the box to the left for Ulrichsweb.com.

5. Write and Edit

Your assignment sheet has very detailed instructions.

Although these resources are intended for longer papers, Research Papers under Writing & Citing in this guide and the Department of Anthropology's style sheet have some good information.

6. Cite

Not citing = plagiarism

Start with my page on Citing with AAA.

If in doubt, refer to the official American Anthropological Association citation style guide (PDF). Use the table of contents to find what you need and jump straight to it.

Popular vs Scholarly Journals

Created  by the Peabody Library at Vanderbilt University.

Search tips

Start your search broad (with fewer search terms) and then narrow it down.

Don't be discouraged! Your first search won't be perfect - you'll likely need several searches before you figure out a good combination of search terms. 

Remember to look beyond the first page of results. 

Citation chaining - Once you find one good, relevant article, you can easily find others by looking at the reference list at the end of the article. It can also help you to look at the development of a concept over time, figure out who the major researchers are, and find the "important" articles in an area of research.