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SA 356: Ethnography & qualitative methods

Contact Info

For Library research help, please contact Moninder Lalli, Librarian for Sociology / Anthropology by email () or Ask a librarian.

Specialized guides

Background information

Search tips & techniques

  • Use "or" to combine same concept;   Use "and" to combine different concepts.  
    • Use asterisk (*) the truncation symbol, for variation on endings of words (child* will find: child, children, childless, childlike). 
                "$, ?, *, !" are common truncation symbols. Most use asterisk.
    • Use "quotation marks" to search for an exact phrase
  • When using one line search box, also put braces "()" around your synonyms.  E.g. (elderly or seniors or aged)
  • Alternate spellings: use American/Canadian spelling (honour or honor).  Use abbreviations and full words (TV or television)
  • Geographic concepts: Specific to broader ( Vancouver or BC or British Columbia or Canada or North America)
  • Alternate terms: Subject headings/Descriptors/Thesauri words (youth or adolescents or teenagers or young adults);
    • Thesauri words increase relevancy.
  • If there is only "one-line search box", try using combining different concepts in the following way:
    • (____________ or __________) AND (__________ or ________)

Find books

Library Catalogue search guide | Catalogue search tips

Search the SFU Library Catalogue: Advanced keyword

Combine different concepts using AND
Combine same concepts using OR
quotation marks to search for a phrase
Use brackets for synonyms
Use asterisk (*) for different endings of words

Note:  For Catalogue Search, when combining concepts, use CAPITAL letters ( "OR", "AND")

  • ethnograph* AND (method* OR research OR analysis)
  • (ethnogra* OR ethnolog*) AND (research method*)
  • qualitative research
  • reflexive* AND (research OR method*)
  • (ethnograph* OR ethnolog*)  AND (virtual OR hypermedia OR "second life" OR cyberspace OR "digital world")

Look at the titles in the "results list" and for those books that look relevant, click on their subject headings.

Browse by subject

Catalogue Search / Browse

To search for books by subject heading, use the Browse Search option in the SFU Library Catalogue, then select Subject browse from the drop-down menu

Change "Title" to "Subject" and enter:

  • Anthropology -- History
  • Ethnology -- Fieldwork
  • Ethnology -- Computer network resources
  • Ethnology -- Handbooks, manuals, etc
  • Ethnology -- Methodology
  • Ethnology -- Philosophy
  • Ethnology -- Research
  • Ethnology -- 42 Related Subjects
  • Culture -- Research 
  • Focus Groups -- 2 Related Subjects
  • Qualitative research -- Methodology
  • Social sciences -- Fieldwork
  • Social sciences -- Methodology
  • Social sciences -- Research -- Methodology

Find journal articles in databases

For help, refer to the How to find journal articles Library guide
If fulltext of article is not within the database, click on the "Get@SFU" to start a search for it.  If the Library doesnot provide access, then use the Citation Finder/ILL tab to request a copy from another library (free).

Anthropology Plus - material relating to anthropology and archaeology. Unites Harvard's Anthropological Literature and the Royal Anthropological Institute's Anthropological Index Online

AnthroSource - Full-text access to journals produced by the American Anthropological Association

Sociological Abstracts: Sociological aspects of twenty-nine broad topics, including anthropology, business, collective behaviour, community development, disaster studies, education, environmental studies, gender studies, gerontology, law and penology, marriage and family studies, medicine and health, racial interactions, social psychology, social work, sociological theory, stratification, substance abuse, urban studies, and violence.

Access to research methods from books and numerous reference sources.

Style guides

Citation Management Tools

Citation or reference management tools collect your journal article, book, or other document citations together in one place, and help you create properly formatted bibliographies in almost any style — in seconds.  Citation management tools help you keep track of your sources while you work and store your references for future use and reuse.