Current Topics in Anthropology

Course Number: AN450

Subject: Anthropology

Picking a topic - ideas

  • Picking a topic that’s interesting to you
  • Choosing something relevant to your course
  • Clarifying with the course readings
  • Scanning through some current course readings, old readings that you found interesting
  • Take a concept discussed in class and apply it to something else

Where do you find topics and background information?

What is a literature review?

  • An overview of existing research on a specific topic
  • Focused on scholarly literature: the "scholarly conversation"
  • Usually involves aspects of analysis and synthesis
  • Not just a list or a summary of material

Purpose of the literature review

  • Summarize existing research
  • Show you are aware of research done in a field
  • Show you can interpret the research
  • Identify gaps in or critique existing knowledge
  • Fit your work into the scholarly conversation

Research Questions

  • Should be:

Literature search tips

  • Conduct your search systematically
  • Create a search strategy
  • Use effective search terms and combinations
  • Decide where you’ll search
  • Repeat searches across databases
  • Track results, modify strategies as needed
  • DO NOT: type questions into a research database
  • Do: separate your terms into concepts, and link them with connectors (boolean operators) to broaden/narrow results

Example search strategy

For the research question "What implementation strategies have Arctic communities undertaken to adapt to climate change?"

  • Break it down into the following concepts and search strings:

Concept 1: Arctic OR Nunavut OR "Yukon Territory" OR "Northwest Territories"


Concept 2: "Climate change" OR "Global warming"


Concept 3: Adapt* OR Modif* OR Adjust* OR Regulat*

AND: narrows results OR: broadens results; links similar terms NOT: subtracts any results with your search term (use judiciously)

NOTE: if you use Omni, you must put AND, OR, NOT in all CAPS

For more details see:

Managing your information