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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


Getting Started

Finding articles from peer-reviewed publications is an often-necessary step in any research process, but navigating that process can be difficult for beginners and experts. Here are a few tips for finding peer-reviewed articles. More tips can be found at the How to Find Articles guide.

Use Anthropology research databases

To find articles that are from Anthropology researchers, you can use a database like Anthropology Plus that just covers journals in the field. This is especially important for topics that could be addressed from other disciplines like Sociology or Linguistics. 

Narrow your research topic before your search 

Have an idea of the topic you are researching and then narrow it down. If for example, you are researching about the Mayan civilization that is a broad topic with lots of avenues of research. Instead of getting overwhelmed by the amount of resources, attempt to narrow down the topic such as searching for Mayan textiles or food culture. With a narrowed down topic start thinking of keywords to use in the search, if one was to research Mayan textiles keywords could be “loom,” “llama fiber,” or any other words relating to textiles.

Search in journals that cover your topic 

If you are already aware of a journal that covers topics within your area of interest you can often search within that journal with your keywords on different databases. For example, to search within a journal on JSTOR you can type in the search bar pt:(“journal name”) and then add your keywords outside of the parenthesis. Going to the journal’s page on JSTOR, along with some other databases, also allows users to search within the journal of interest. A plus side of searching on a database is the ability to add multiple keywords to widen your search.

Ask a Librarian! 

Ask a Librarian, which can be found on the right hand side of the Library’s home page or on the SSHEL home page. If you are stuck, a librarian is only a keyboard away!

Finding books about your topic can mean a lot of different ways of searching. From visiting the library and searching the shelves to using the online catalog and either ordering physical books or reading ebooks. There is no one way to search! Here are some tips to help you find books on your subject. For more information about using the Library Catalog, use this helpful guide!

Use the library catalog 

If you are searching online or in person it is a good idea to start with a catalog search. Searching the catalog even while at the library can be helpful to figure out where the books on your topic are located. You will want to think of keywords to use in the catalog to find books on your topic. If you are researching about German dialects then you might want to use keywords such as “German dialect,” “low German,” or any other keywords you can think of. 

Request books from I-Share

The library catalog can also show you titles owned by other universities in the state of Illinois, which is helpful when we do not have a copy for you to check out. Books from I-Share can be sent to any campus library for you to pick up. 

Browse the stacks

Books in the library are organized by subject. But many books are relevant to multiple subjects. A book on linguistic anthropology may be located with other linguistics books. Or titles with an anthropological focus may be located in books about the culture of a country or region. When you search the catalog, you should find call numbers that give you an idea of where to start. Once you get to the stacks and locate the title you want, it often pays to browse the books around it to see if there are related titles. 

Ask a Librarian 

If you are having problems finding books on your topic you can use Ask a Librarian, which can be found on the right hand side of the Library’s home page or on the SSHEL home page. If you are stuck, a librarian is only a keyboard away! If you are at the library, come to the Information Services desk at the entrance to SSHEL, room 101 of the Main Library. 

Quick Links to Databases

For more databases related to particular sub topics within Anthropology, please see the sub topic's page on this guide. Databases can be located on the left hand side on the sub topic pages. Journals relating to particular sub topics can also be found on these pages.