SA101 Introduction to Anthropology

This guide will provide assistance with finding scholarly material to support the research paper assignment.  For Library research help, please contact Moninder Lalli, Librarian for Sociology / Anthropology by email or Ask a librarian.

Services for Distance Education students

Consult the guide Services for Distance Education students if you are off campus.


Start Your Research Here - This page gives you an overview of the research process, or in other words how to find materials for your essay.

Selected encyclopedias and handbooks

Get an overview of a topic by using encyclopedias, handbooks or textbook.  These types of resources identify key authors, theories and  important resources on a topic. 

For more, try the side tab: Background information

Book covers by ISBNs: 9781136880124 0761930299 1-135-23640-2 9781452276304 9781442252882

Find books

Catalogue search will find books, journal articles, videos, government reports and more.  After doing a search, you can limit your search results by "Resource type" of "Books."   Library Catalogue search guide

Search the SFU Library Catalogue

Search for books by a specific author

Use Catalogue SearchAdvanced keyword

Any Field: Author    Contains: Boas, Franz  Resource type: Books

Browse by author (change "title" to "author"): Kenny, Michael G.

Find books by "title" using "Browse" search

Browse by title of a book: Stories of Culture and Place: An Introduction to Anthropology [electronic] [print]

  SFU Library has two editions of this book, latest edition is in print, and the earlier edition, in an electronic format. 

  Laughter Out of Place: Race, Class, Violence and Sexuality in A Rio [electronic] 2007 edition,  [print] 2013 edition

Search for ethnographic studies for a particular group

E.g. Find ethnographies of Chinese Canadians

Concept 1 Concept 2 Concept 3
 Chinese ethnogr* Canad*

"ethnogr*"  -- will pick up the words: ethnography, ethnographies, ethnographic

Other examples

Tip: Use subject headings associated with relevant books to find additional items.

Book covers by ISBNs: 9781442252882 0674008715 0-7391-9130-6 9780190459727 0-8165-9898-3 9780803253360 9781496207432 9780300196511 9780674976528 9780199926909 1-317-11721-2  9780774815901 9780802096395

Selected books

Browse by subject

Browse by Subject    (change the default "title" to "subject").  Browse by Subject will only result in books, not book chapters or journal articles.

Note: "Ethnology" is used as a "subject heading" to identify "ethnographic" studies so you can "Browse by Subject" to find ethnographic studies for different regions of the world.

Find ethnographies

Ethnographic sources:

  • written by an anthropologist
  • published by an academic press
  • consider the sources critically in terms of content and representation

Types of sources

  • Identify anthropologists through encyclopedias, handbooks & biographical sources
  • For ethnographies published in the book form, use Catalogue Search
  • For Scholarly articles in anthropological journals, use some of the databases on this guide
  • Use film databases for "ethnographic" films.
  • Use image databases for "ethnographic" images

For more on this, check a more detailed library guide: Finding Ethnographies

Find journal articles

For journal articles, it is useful to search within the databases for the discipline for which your are writing your essay.  It is a great way to find the current theories and critical debates. 

If the articles are not be available full-text, then use the "Get@SFU" icon to see if the Library has the journal. For journals  not owned by the Library, use the Citation Finder/ILL tab to request a copy of the article from another library (free).

For additional help, refer to the How to find journal articles, What is a scholarly journal? [guide], Finding articles: Advanced search techniques [video 3:13 mins]

Anthropological databases

Other databases

With the "non-anthropological" focused databases, try to limit your searches to "anthropology" journals.

    • Since this is an "archival"  database, you are not searching the most recent  5-7 years of a journal.
    • Note: Use "Advanced search", then limit the search to "anthropology journals"
  • Sociological Abstracts - theoretical and applied sociology, social science, and policy science. Also indexes anthropology journals
    • To limit your search to anthropology journals, first search for "anthropol*" and limit the results (right-hand, pull-down menu) to "Publication title": PUB
  • Social Sciences Full Text - access to English-language social science journals.
    • To limit your search to anthropology journals, first search for "anthropol*" and limit the results (right-hand, pull-down menu) to "SO Journals name"

Find ethnographic films

  • Ethnographic Video Online provides the largest, most comprehensive resource for the study of human culture and behaviour - more than 750 hours and 1,000 films at completion.
  • Watch hundreds of NFB films online, including documentaries, animation and alternative dramas.

Find images

  • A repository of over one million digital images and related data.
  • Empire Online is a collection of over 70,000 images of original manuscripts and printed material, 1492-1969, taken from libraries and archives around the world, including Africa, the Americas, Australasia, Oceania, and South Asia.
    • Choose "documents" tab, select section III - Visible Empire

For more, try the guide:  Images

Search tips and techniques

  • Use "or" to combine same concept
  • Use "and" to combine different concepts
  • Use "quotation marks" to search for an exact phrase
  • Use asterisk (*) the truncation symbol, for variation on endings of words (work* will find: work, works, worker, working, workforce, etc.)
  • For Abbreviations, also use full names: ILO or "international labour organization"
  • Search Tips for Google and Google Scholar
    • Use intitle: to force Google to find those words in the titles of results.  Use quotation marks ("") to search for phrases
      • intitle:"airport security"
    • Use filetype: to tell Google to find certain filetypes
      • filetype:pdf
    • Use site: to specify results from a government web site
      • "Airport security”  site:gov

Library guides

Writing help

Selected resources on writing essays: