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GBST 300: Perspectives in Globalization (Professor Nash)

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

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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

Ex. research question: How is Ayurvedic medicine a useful intervention for heart conditions?

(Identify the keywords in this research question)

How does the exploration of archaeological sites such as Chichén Itzá help us understand the historical disenfranchisement of indigenous people in the Maya region?

Chichén Itzá disenfranchisement indigenous people Maya region
Tikal oppression Itzá Mesoamerica
Yucatán marginalized Maya Pre-Columbian
Tips Examples
Use keywords, not long search phrases


Instead of searching for "How is the United States combating human trafficking?" break down your search into the main keywords:

United States, combating, human trafficking

To get more focused results:

Use quotation marks (" ") to keep phrases together

Use AND to combine different keywords

"United States" AND "human trafficking"

To get broader results:

Use OR to combine similar/associated keywords

Truncate words that have a                          variety of endings with a *

"human trafficking" AND ("United States" or China)


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