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Anthropology: Finding and using library resources: 5. Research databases

Online tutorial introducing you to the skills and techniques needed for effective library research


Databases provide access to scholarly research, including journal articles, conference proceedings and books.

wide range of databases are  available to you at the University. 

Below, you can find out more about research databases , and also browse the Anthropology Databases list.

More support information is provided on a selection of the key databases you will use for your anthropological research.

 

Take some time to explore the databases and familarise yourself with searching and downloading information.

Anthropology Databases List

About Databases

What is a database?

Research databases enable you to see what has been published in the area you are researching. They contain detailed records of thousands of journal articles, book references and conference proceedings. These records usually include the article title, authors, abstract (a brief summary), keywords (to enable your search to find it) and more.

 

Why should I use a database?

  • They are a valuable way of searching for published scholarly research across a wide number of sources
  • You can build complex searches using sophisticated search interfaces. There will be plenty of options to refine your searches, ensuring that the results are likely to be relevant to your needs
  • They contain huge numbers of records, and thus provide comprehensive subject coverage
  • They also provide frequent (often daily) indexing, and so are very up to date

There are many different databases. Their interfaces will all vary, and they may use different terminology.

However, they all have similar features. Once you are familiar with these, you'll be able to find your way around different databases. You can see the main features in the examples below.

This is what a standard database interface looks like:

Once you click the Search button, the results page appears:

It is important to note:

  • Some databases provide full text access to the articles themselves.
  • Some databases are primarily indexes or bibliographic databases, and although they provide information about the content of a journal article, they may not provide full-text access to the actual article itself.
  • Some databases are a mixture of full-text and indexed/bibliographic access.

 

So, when searching databases, be prepared for an extra step. 

After finding a relevant article or book you need to check whether you have access to that item, either in print or in full-text online.  Many of the databases will have a Check for this at Exeter button; clicking on this link will check whether we have access to the item.

 

For more information and top tips on finding the full text, see the How to access full text articles libguide.

1. Anthropology Online

Anthropology Online is a large research database focusing on the study of social and cultural life and all aspects of human behaviour, including: kinship, family, race, material culture, marriage, gender, prehistory, evolution, kinesthetics, food and foraging, cooking, economic systems, social stratification and status, male and female roles, political organization, conflict and conflict resolution, religion and magic, music and the arts, and much more.

You can Browse or Search content from the Anthropology Online Home Page.

Indexing facilitates searching/browsing at geographical region, cultural or kinship group, anthropological subjects, and more.

Use the Anthropology Online LibGuide for comprehensive support and training

The Advanced Search option allows for more targeted searching.

As well as entering your own search terms, you can use the various indexes to Select Terms from the drop down indexed lists

 For example you an choose: Topic / Author / Cultural Group etc.

You can also specify format and publication date ranges.

2.JSTOR

JSTOR is a valuable research resource for secondary resources.  You can use it to search and find the full text of published books and journal articles.

Use the How to Search JSTOR LibGuide for an introduction to the service, or take a look at JSTOR's Vimeo channel for instructional videos.

Top Tip: Use the Advanced search option if you want to focus your searching to a particular subject area.

 

You an enter a quick search into the quick search box on the JSTOR home page, for example:

anthropology and "human diversity"

 

Just click on an item to view it and explore it in more detail

 

You can refine your search results from the Refine Results options on the left of your search results.

You may want to refine your results if you find too many as a result of your initial search.

For example, you can search within results or limit by  content type (books or journals), date of publication or subject

The advanced search allows you to be more targeted with your research and apply limits/filters to your search before you begin.

For example, you can add multiple search terms, specify the proximity of your search terms and also select a discipline, e.g. Anthropology, so that you filter out material from other subject disciplines.

 

3. Web of Science

Web of Science is a large multidisciplinary research database covering all subject areas.

You can use it to discover the global literature on a wide range of topics.  It is not a full text database, but you can use it to discover published material and follow links through to discover the full text available on other services.

Web of Science search image

4. IBSS / ASSIA / Proquest Sociology

IBSS and ASSIA are academic research databases on the ProQuest platform (sharing the same interface and features). They are both multidisciplinary resources, offering peer-reviewed academic articles and other research materials from across the social sciences including anthropology, ethnology, ethnography and cultural studies.

ASSIA can also be searched as part of the Proquest Sociology collection. 

Use the IBSS ASSIA or the Sociology Collection Libguides for comprehensive support and training.

As they all share the same search interface, you will soon become familiar with searching and working with your search results.

Use the Search and Filtering demos on the next tabs for support.

 

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