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Countries and Cultures

This research guide is designed to help students find information about cultures around the world.

Keywords

What is your research topic? Once you have made a decision, you should generate keywords. Keywords are search terms that you use when searching for information about your topic. The above video explains how you can write keywords. Watch it, then continue reading this section.

To generate keywords about your topic, consider listing geographic or cultural identifiers for a group of people that you are researching, such as:

  • Japan
  • Roma
  • Armenia
  • goth
  • bikers

Now consider some specific aspect about that nation or culture that you might like to examine, such as:

  • marriage
  • gender roles
  • etiquette
  • funerals
  • circumcision

You can consider combining elements of these two lists together as keywords, such as:

  • Roma and gender roles
  • Japan and funeral
  • bikers and etiquette
  • goths and marriage
  • Armenia and circumcision

Let me add a note of caution about comparative analyses. You may be writing a paper comparing some aspect common in two or more cultures. For example, let's say you're comparing funerals in Japan and those among the Roma people. You may be tempted to search for:

  • Japan and Roma and funeral

Although it's possible that you may find information analyzing that aspect of both of those cultures, it's not likely. It's more likely that you would do separate searches for funerals in Japan and among the Roma and then you would do the comparative work yourself.

During the keywording process, it's important to have a basic understanding of what you are researching. For example, do you know what the Roma are? Do  you know what circumcision is? If not, then it's premature to begin looking for articles about their cultural practices because you wouldn't be able to recognize whether or not an information source was even relevant to your topic.

That's why I recommend using Credo Reference for background research. If you're unfamiliar with an aspect of your topic, then reading a short article about it is a preliminary step.

Articles from Databases

Now that you have keywords, it's time to search the databases. Have you used the databases before? If you don't have recent experience with our library's databases, then I suggest watching this introductory video.

The video embedded above shows you how to search Academic Search Complete, which is one of the three databases ideal for anthropological research. All three of these databases are structured the same way, so the tutorial video applies to five of them:

  • Academic Search Complete
  • Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection
  • Communication and Mass Media Complete
  • Religion and Philosophy Collection
  • Humanities with Full Text

Remember to limit your search results to scholarly (peer-reviewed) journals if your professor has told you to use only those types of sources.

Another excellent database to use is JSTOR. The above video shows you how to search it.

eHRAF gateway page

Another excellent database to use for cultural research is eHRAF World Cultures. As you can see from the screenshot of the search page above, you can search, browse through an alphabetical index of cultural terms, major subjects, or read analyzing a vast variety of cultural phenomena.

Websites

eBooks

We have two excellent ebook databases. These let you read full-text books online. The interfaces can be confusing, so I have included a tutorial video for each one.

The video above shows you how to search the ebook database titled EBSCO eBook Collection.

The video above shows you how to search the database ProQuest EBook Central.

Videos

APA Documentation

This is our video that introduces APA documentation. I urge you to watch the entire video carefully before starting to write your paper or annotated bibliography. It is much easier to cite correctly as you go along, rather than try to fix your documentation after you have written your paper. This is our complete APA guide, which goes into more detail about citing sources and formatting correctly.

It includes our sample paper. When you're writing a paper, you can model the formatting of your paper after this one. If you are unsure how to set up the formatting in Microsoft Word so that it fits the requirements for APA formatting, you could instead download this blank Word document that has the formatting already set up for you.

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