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What's in this guide

  1. Find a library copy of the book
  2. Identify keywords to help you find articles
  3. What is a scholarly, peer-reviewed source
  4. Cite using AAA style

How to write a critical review

Find step-by-step instructions on Assignment Tracker.


Keywords are the main ideas or concepts of your research question.

For this assignment, you can find your keywords in Farmer's arguments.

Brainstorm synonyms for these main ideas. 

You'll use these keywords for your searches.

Search in databases for articles

Want to read the article?

Look for the PDF or FIND IT/SFX icons.

Start with the abstract

The abstract summarizes the major parts of the article in a paragraph.

The subject terms (sometimes called subject headings) indicate the major focuses of the article. They can help you be more specfic about your search. The subject terms tell you how the database describes a particular concept.

Book review assignment

Borrow this book for one hour, in-library use from the TFDL main floor service desk. You'll need to provide staff with the book's call number: HM821 .F37 2003 

Search the library for books and articles

Start with a library search using the keywords you've brainstormed. The results page will look something like this:


This page only displays three results. Make sure you check out the rest!

How to search in a database

1. Start by searching only one keyword/concept to get an idea of how much is available.

2. Refine your search using delimiters ("Limit to") such as date of publication or scholarly journals only (as in the example below).

3. Further refine your search by adding more keywords. Connect different concepts with AND and synonyms with OR (select using the dropdown menu). The subjects listed under an article can give you ideas for more keywords.

Although databases may look a little different, most of them will have these functions.


Not citing your sources = plagiarism

American Anthropological Association style guide (AAA) has been discontinued as  of September 2015.  AAA now follows the Chicago Manual of Style (Author-Date format).   See also:  Chicago Manual of Style - quick guide

Primatology uses APA Author-Date. 

If your professor has chosen neither of these styles, check out the Student Success Centre's guides to citing.

Note for online sources you need to add the DOI or stable URL to end of the citation in the Reference Cited list.  

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. 

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