This page highlights key resources for conducting effective research for your anthropology senior thesis.
If you need assistance identifying additional resources, search terms or strategies, please schedule a research consultation.
Scholarly reference tools are a great way to get overviews of topics, introductions to theories, definitions for unfamiliar discipline-specific terms, and more.
Annual Review of Anthropology is great for getting comprehensive summaries of research on specific topics in the field.
Concise Dictionary of Social and Cultural Anthropology gives short definitions to unfamiliar words/phrases. You have to download the PDF of the chapter you want and then scroll through it or use the find a word feature in your web browser to locate the definition - a little wonky, but it works. Example: to find out what "neoliberal" means in a nutshell, download the "N" chapter and find the "neoliberalism" entry.
Encyclopedia of Anthropology covers the whole field of anthropology, providing in-depth overviews and useful bibliographies of major writings on a topic. You may need to download the PDF of the entry to see the bibliography (look for "Further Readings").
Encyclopedia of Social and Cultural Anthropology also gives good overviews of topics and useful bibliographies. There's also a glossary to look up definitions of words.
Encyclopedia of Social Theory focuses exclusively on theory, so look here for a rundown of significant writers and lists of key publications.
Oxford Bibliographies - Anthropology offers peer-reviewed annotated bibliographies on specific topics in this and other fields.
Theory in Social and Cultural Anthropology: An Encyclopedia provides quick overviews of a particular theory and theorist with just the basics—the “who, what, where, how, and why”.
CLIO is the online catalog of the Columbia University Libraries, including Barnard Library, but excluding Teachers College and some information from the Law Library. Search the Catalog for book and media materials.
If you know exactly what book (journal, video, etc.) you are looking for, you can search by Title, Author, ISBN, etc.
To find items about a specific topic, first try a keyword search in All Fields.
Use "quotation marks" to search for an exact phrase: "social construction".
Use * for truncation (to find variant spellings and endings of a word): wom*n will find woman, women, womyn; ethnograph* will find ethnography, ethnographies, ethnographic, etc.
For more complex search, use AND and OR:
AND finds records which have all the search terms you entered.
OR finds records which have one of the search terms you entered, as well as records which have more than one of the terms. OR finds MORE.
For more help with using AND and OR, check our guide to advanced/Boolean keyword searching.
Use parentheses to group terms: resistance AND (postcoloni* OR anticoloni*)
Subject headings: If you find a book that's relevant, look at its subject headings in CLIO and click through to find more related works.
The Library of Congress Classification System is used by most of the Columbia libraries, including Barnard. You can browse the stacks in specific call number ranges to explore anthropological literature:
GN49-GN296 Physical anthropology, Somatology
GN301-GN673 Ethnology, Social and cultural anthropology
GN378-GN395 Collected ethnographies
GN700-GN875 Prehistoric Archaeology
Find books and other materials in other libraries:
WorldCat: Search for items in libraries worldwide.
Request items from other libraries through Borrow Direct or interlibrary loan (ILL).
For off-campus access to library online resources, remember to follow the links from CLIO or this research guide. You can also use the proxy bookmarklet.
Database search tips:
- The general search tips for CLIO also apply to the article databases.
- If you find an article or a book that is relevant, the bibliography/works cited page can be a useful road map to other relevant literature that was previously published.
- If you find an article or a book that is relevant, you can use Google Scholar and some other databases to find out whether it was cited by other scholars after it was published. Search for the title of an article/monograph and search and click on "Cited by" to generate a list of publications that have referenced that source.
- In most databases, you can narrow your results to scholarly publications only. Look for "limit to ... scholarly publications/peer-reviewed/refereed publications only" or similar language. This will help you find articles from journals that have gone through a rigorous peer review process.
Recommended Scholarly Databases:
- Anthropology Plus is the most comprehensive index to articles and books in the field. You'll find references to scholarly articles, reports, commentary, and edited collections of essays in all areas of anthropology, from the 19th century to the present.
- AnthroSource has archived issues of the American Anthropological Association’s journals, newsletters, and bulletins.
- Annual Review of Anthropology is great for getting comprehensive summaries of research on specific topics in the field. Look at the bibliographies to lead you to the original works cited.
- GenderWatch includes full text from contemporary scholarly journals, magazines, newspapers, newsletters, regional publications, books, booklets and pamphlets, conference proceedings, and government, NGO and special reports.
- Google Scholar is very useful for seeing if a book, article, etc. has been cited by other scholars. Search on the title, and then follow the "Cited by ..." link.
- Human Relations Area Files (HRAF) Collection for Archaeology is a collection of full-text information on archaeological traditions from around the world.
- Human Relations Area Files (HRAF) Collection of Ethnography is a collection of full-text primary source materials on about 400 different cultural, ethnic, religious and national groups in the following regions of the world: Asia, Europe, Africa, Middle East, North America, Oceania, Eurasia and South America.
- JSTOR provides the full text of back issues from core scholarly journals in anthropology and other fields in the humanities and social sciences from the earliest issues to within a few years of current publication. Please note that, generally, this database does not include issues published in the last few years. You can search just the anthropology journals in JSTOR by using the Advanced Search "NARROW BY DISCIPLINE AND/OR JOURNAL" feature.
- International Bibliography of the Social Sciences (IBSS) is a multidisciplinary database with global coverage of journals and books from the fields of anthropology and archaeology. Note that abstracts are provided for only about half of current journal articles.
- Social Sciences Citation Index (Web of Science) is a multidisciplinary database with searchable author abstracts, covering the journal literature of the social sciences. It links publications based on citations allowing you to search the "web" of communication surrounding a topic. You also can search Science Citation Index and Arts & Humanities Index simultaneously with the Social Science Citation Index - click on "MORE SETTINGS" to select the databases you want to search.
- Sociological Abstracts covers sociology and related disciplines in the social and behavioral sciences, including research focused in social work, human services, and related areas. The database provides citations from 1963 to the present and include references to journal articles, book reviews, book abstracts, book chapters, dissertations, and conference papers.
Selected Scholarly Journals:
- American Anthropologist
- American Ethnologist
- Annual Review of Anthropology
- Cultural Anthropology
- Current Anthropology
- Human Ecology
- Human Organization
- Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute
- Medical Anthropology Quarterly
- Social Anthropology
- Transforming Anthropology
Barnard guides to citation management provides information on how to use different software programs that help you keep track of your sources and create bibliographies.
Sage Research Methods provides a comprehensive picture of research methods (quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods) across the social and behavioural sciences. It includes more than 100,000 pages of SAGE book and reference material on research methods as well as selected material from SAGE journals.
Search log - a template to keep track of what you've searched and what you want to try next. You can copy this to your Google Drive and adjust it to suit your needs.
A Student's Guide to Reading and Writing in Social Anthropology (PDF file) is a helpful overview of scholarly publication in social/cultural anthropology.
Last updated October 9, 2017