BASIC STRATEGY FOR BACKGROUND
STEP 1 - FIND BACKGROUND
STEP 2 - FIND BOOKS
STEP 3 - FIND JOURNAL
AND NEWSPAPER ARTICLES
STEP 4 - FIND WORLD
WIDE WEB INFORMATION
STEP 1 - FIND BACKGROUND
This first step is designed to assist you
in limiting or defining your research topic. Often people are tempted to
skip this step and jump directly to books or periodicals. However, it is
more efficient to do background reading in encyclopedias, handbooks, etc.
first. The Western Oregon University Library maintains a core collection
of reference books that covers a wide range of topics and subject areas.
The following are excellent sources of information on diverse ethnic groups
located throughout the world. They are listed in the order of their importance:
Where: Reference Area,
1st Floor of Hamersly Library
Tip: Start your research by looking
in the Index
Encyclopedia of World Cultures,
v. 1-10 GN307 .E53 1991
Atlas of World Cultures GN345.3
Encyclopedia of Cultural Anthropology,
v. 1-4 GN307 .E52 1996
The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Mankind
GN 307 .I44 1989
World Geographical Encyclopedia
G63 .E5213 1995
STEP 2 - FIND BOOKS
By doing online research on WOLF and ORBIS,
you can access a wealth of bibliographic information on relevant books,
microforms, government documents, and audiovisual holdings. WOLF lists
all of Western Oregon University's holding. ORBIS combines information
on holdings in the Western library, as well as holdings in other regional
libraries. Most items that you view on ORBIS are readily available: when
you request a book, you will receive it within two to three days. For information
on using ORBIS, press the "help" button on the ORBIS main page.
Library Homepage, which can be accessed on any university computer
(you cannot connect to WOLF or ORBIS databses from a non-university server)
Tip: To begin research on a particular
culture group, try first typing in the name of the culture-group as the
STEP 3 - FIND JOURNAL
AND NEWSPAPER ARTICLES USING ONLINE PERIODICAL INDEXES
If you are curious to see what kind of
articles anthropologists are publishing, or if you need inspiration for
a senior project topic, you can browse through the anthropology journals
that we receive at Hamersly Library.
Where: Periodical Section,
To do searches of academic articles published
by anthropologists you can access several on-line periodical indexes. Go
to the Hamersly Library homepage,
then select "Journal Articles" to view the following databases listed
below. The articles listed in these databases are generally published in
major journals. Some of these journals are received by Hamersly Library,
but for those that are not, copies of published articles can be requested
Interlibrary Loan--a process that takes about
Journals in Hamersly Library:
African Studies Review
American Indian Culture and Research Journal
Anthropology & Education Quarterly
Journal of Anthropological Research
Journal of Modern African Studies
SAA Archaeological Record
Annual Review of Anthropology
Where: Internet connection--Hamersly
Library Homepage, accessed on any university computer.
How to Request Journal Articles
through ILL (Interlibrary Loan): You
can make requests for books and articles directly on-line. Click
here or go to the Library
Homepage, then click the "Interlibrary Loan" button on the left-hand
side. Click the "Article Request Form," fill in the information, and you
should have your article in about a week.
The single most valuable periodical index
for anthropology majors is ANTHROPOLOGICAL LITERATURE, which is a database
of anthropological articles and book chapters published in academic journals
and edited volumes. To access ANTHROPOLOGICAL LITERATURE, go to to the
Library homepage, click on "Journal Articles," then "Anthropological
The second most useful periodical index for
anthropology majors is ACADEMIC SEARCH ELITE, which includes articles from
the major anthropology journals as well as other social science journals.
The downside of ACADEMIC SEARCH ELITE is that indexed articles are not
dated more than 10 to 15 years (unlike ANTHROPOLOGICAL LITERATURE). The
benefit of ACADEMIC SEARCH ELITE is that many articles are available in
full-text, which means you can obtain the article right then-and-there. To
access ACADEMIC SEARCH ELITE, go to the HamerslyLibrary
homepage, click on "Journal Articles," then "Academic Search
Another excellent databse for anthropologists
is THE ANTHROPOLOGICAL INDEX OF THE ROYAL ANTHROPOLOGICAL INSTITUTE. This
database indexes many esoteric and hard-to-find articles on ethnic groups
from around the world. To access THE
ANTHROPOLOGICAL INDEX OF THE ROYAL ANTHROPOLOGICAL INSTITUTE, click here.
you have arrived at the webpage, click on "Quick Search of AIO"
then check off "All Years" and type in the name of the ethnic group
you are researching.
In addition, you can use the on-line database
ACADEMIC UNIVERSE to find out about articles published in newspapers and
popular journals from around the world, including the New York Times.
Non-academic newspapers and journals are often the best place to obtain
information on a "hot topic" or a contemporary issue not covered in formal
scholarly journals. To access ACADEMIC UNIVERSE, go to the Hamersly
Library homepage, click on "Journal Articles," then "Academic
Tip: When you enter the
ACADEMIC UNIVERSE site, click on "News"; and then "World news." Then enter
the name of the ethnic group you are studying as a "Keyword." Then under
"Source" you must specify the geographical location of the ethnic group
(select either a) North/South America or b) European or c)
Asia/Pacific or d) Middle East/Africa). Finally, select a fairly
broad time frame of at least two to five years in order to find news articles
on ethnic groups that do not normally get much news coverage.
Please note: Excellent international coverage can be found in
The New York Times. To access the New York Times via ACADEMIC UNIVERSE,
go to the Hamersly
Library homepage, click on "Journal Articles," then click on "New York
Times." Remember to give a broad time frame since news coverage of small
ethnic groups is not a daily or even monthly occurence.
An excellent source for bibliographic information
on anthropological topics (as opposed to particular ethnic groups) is The
Annual Review of Anthropology. The Annual Review of Anthropology
is an edited volume published each year by the American Anthropological
Association, which is the principal association of anthropologists in the
nation. Each annual volume contains review articles of trendy topics within
the four sub-fields of anthropology. By browsing through the Annual Review
of Anthropology, you can get a picture of what topics are of current interest
to anthropologists. Furthermore, finding a review article on a topic that
interests you enables you to 1) assess major academic views on this topic
and 2) find citations to dozens of other books and articles on the same
To search for a review article on a particular
anthropological topic, go to ACADEMIC SEARCH ELITE (see above). Enter the
following information: ["Find" name of topic "In"
On the bottom of the screen, under "Journal Name," type Annual
Review of Anthropology.
Then press "Search." You will then have
to find the article in the published Annual Review of Anthropology held
in Hamersly Library -- 3rd floor, call number GN1 .A623
STEP 4 - FIND INFORMATION
ON THE WORLD WIDE WEB
Hamersly Library Homepage
The World Wide Web can provide excellent information
on current events, controversial issues, or social problems. Background
information, explanatory documents, maps, and statistics can be located
by using the search engines listed on the library homepage. But beware:
all Internet searches also bring up a lot of non-relevant information that
you will have to weed through! To use the most helpful search engines,
click "Internet Search" in the left-hand side of the library homepage.
Your options are:
Argus Clearinghouse Galaxy
WWW Virtual Library
In addition, the following Internet
resources are valuable to anthropologists:
The AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION lists
some of the best and most up-to-date anthropology sites on the Internet.
This singularly important "hub" is a good place to begin investigating
the enormous wealth of anthropological material increasingly available
on the Internet. http://www.ameranthassn.org/resinet.htm
Both the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAP MACHINE
and ALTAPEDIA ONLINE provide county maps and general country information,
to provide you with valuable information on the wider national setting
in which the culture group under study resides.
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAP MACHINE:
ALTAPEDIA ONLINE: http://www.atlapedia.com/
The WORLD CULTURES homepage is a fun site
for those interested in traveling.
The LIBRARY OF CONGRESS COUNTRY STUDIES provide
helpful information on select countries. Not all countries are included
in this data base, but for those that are listed, you can obtain a complete
country profile. This serves as a good background documentfor anyone thinking
of conducting anthropological research abroad.
Hamersly Library also contains hard copies
of these country studies. To access a copy through WOLF, search the title
"Area Handbook Series."
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