Skip to Main Content

ANTH 240: Introduction to Biological Anthropology (Professor Schwartz) (Fall 2022)

Scholarly Journal Articles


How do we know a source we've found is a scholarly journal article? Look for these clues:

  • written by scholars (with affiliations to universities or research institutions)
  • written for other scholars and students (and therefore difficult to read)
  • published in an academic journal with a peer-review process
    • Here are some examples:
      • Current Anthropology
      • American Anthropologist
      • Social Anthropology
  • structured format (abstract, introduction, etc...)
  • extensive references at the end

Most Useful

Also Useful

How do I structure a keyword search?

Before you embark on your database search, take a few moments to identify keywords, which will be a timesaver for you. Some things to try:

  • Write down any research questions you have about your topic; these should be open-ended (starting with How...? or Why...?)

  • Identify the key concepts from your research question (look at the nouns)

  • Write down synonyms for those key concepts

Taking a few minutes to think about and identify some keywords before starting your search will help you search more efficiently, which will save you time (and frustration).

  • Identify important concepts from your research question (look for nouns)
  • Brainstorm some synonyms (to help you find more information)
  • Keep track of useful terms you discover during research and add those to your set of keywords

Example research question: How does diet, foraging, and ranging behavior impact primate sociality

(Identify the keywords in this research question)


diet foraging ranging primate  sociality
nutrition feeding movement pattern chimpanzee social systems
food grazing free ranging gibbon polygynandry
Tips Examples
Use keywords, not long search phrases


Instead of searching for "How is Ayurvedic medicine a useful intervention for heart conditions?" break down your search into the main keywords:

Ayurveda, Ayurvedic medicine, health, heart, cardiovascular, hypertension, India, phytotherapy, hatha yoga,  massage

To get more focused results:

Use quotation marks (" ") to keep phrases together

Use AND to combine different keywords

"massage therapy" AND Ayurveda

To get broader results:

Use OR to combine similar/associated keywords

Truncate words that have a                          variety of endings with a *

Ayurveda AND (culture or ethnography)


cultur* = culture, cultures, cultural

Look for ways to limit your search in the database You can often limit by type of article (scholarly and peer-reviewed) & year of publication