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What's in this guide

  1. Identify keywords to help you find scholarly sources
  2. Learn where to search for different types of information
  3. Cite using Vancouver style

Read your assignment!

Before you start, make sure you understand what the assignment is asking for. This assignment is complicated and asks for a lot of information.

Highlight key parts (e.g. due date, requirements). 

You may want to make a checklist of these requirements.

Medical anthropology reference books

Encyclopedia of Medical Anthropology: Health and Illness in the World's Cultures - Take a look at the AIDS section, as well as the short entries organized by cultural group

A Companion to Medical Anthropology - Look at the Synopsis of Contents section for descriptions of relevant chapters

Search tips for databases

Use these words to connect your keywords:

AND - for different ideas
e.g. HIV AND "health promotion"

OR - for synonyms
e.g. HIV OR "Human immunodeficiency viruses"
Can also help you to catch variations

NOT - to eliminate - avoid using unless necessary!
e.g. economic NOT scoial

Wildcards - use with word roots
e.g. treat* -> treatment, treatments, treating, treats

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. 

1. Choose your study population

When choosing an ethnic population for this term paper, consider doing some pre-work.

A. Run a quick library search using the name of your ethnic population and HIV or AIDS
e.g. Zulu AND HIV

> You'll want to see some results - you'll need something to build your term paper on.

> You might also want to search for some of the key pieces of information that are required (find the words on your assignment sheet)
e.g. Zulu AND HIV AND causality

B. Take a look in eHRAF 


Materials are organized by culture. You can also Browse Subjects > HIV/AIDS (ideas about) to see their Related Documents list for suggestions on populations that you could research.

2. Search in course materials and books

Start with your course materials (lecture notes, readings).

If you find a relevant course reading, look at the bibliography at the end. You'll find other relevant materials that way.

Use the library search on the library homepage - you'll be able to search for books and articles on your topic. Books are a great place to start since they are usually more comprehensive than articles.

3. Search in databases

You will need to look in a variety of databases to find all of the information you need for this paper. Here are some good places to search:

Anthropology Plus - specific focus on anthropology

Web of Science and Scopus - covers both science and social science, will have some medical information

SocINDEX - use the Subject Term list to find your search terms, e.g. AIDS (Disease) -- Prevention, and combine with the name of your ethnic population

4. Fill in missing information

Look at your assignment sheet again. Are you missing any of the required information?

Government documents provide statistics and policy statements that might not be available in articles.

Use Google to find these sites (search the name of the country + AIDS), and use the criteria in the Evaluating Sources handout (Student Success Centre) to evaluate them.

When possible, try to find multi-page documents with citations and policy briefs/reports rather than just using a webpage.

5. Write and Edit

Check out the Writing & Citing > Research paper section of this guide.

The Student Success Centre has great online resources for structuring and organizing, grammar, and editing.

6. Cite

Not citing = plagiarism

Vancouver style is required. Use the handout on your course Blackboard.

If you need more guidance, check out the Student Success Centre's guide to Vancouver style.

Don't forget that you need to cite at least 6 sources for this assignment.

Not sure when to start?

This free tool will break it down into steps and mini-deadlines to keep you on track!

Popular vs Scholarly Journals

Created  by the Peabody Library at Vanderbilt University.

In-class example

In Web of Science, Sabrina demonstrated the search strategy:



AND treat*

Can't find medical info?

There are some medical databases that are tough to search.

Make an appointment with Sabrina and she'll help you use CINAHL or MEDLINE to find what you need.

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