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ANTH 12A - Peace & Violence

This guide was created for Dr. Oakley's ANTH 12A course, Spring 2022

What is a database?

Databases are huge storehouses of discrete pieces of information that libraries subscribe to for use by their patrons. They costs tens of thousands of dollars (or hundreds of thousands in the case of some) and give you access to information available on the "deep web." This is all made possible by your tuition dollars and is a benefit of being a student at SCU. Today we will be looking at databases the library subscribes to that provide access to peer-reviewed, scholarly information related to anthropology and other topics germane to the theme of your class.

Activity #3

Keywords. Go back to your favorite "In the News" article from the Padlet.

Get out a piece of scratch paper and jot down 10-15 words that represent the essential and unique concepts presented in the news article.

Out of those, post the top 3 in column #3, ranked from most specific to most broad. Those are the words you will use to construct your search strategy in the database of your choice. These 3 words should represent the most essential and critical concepts of your topic as represented in your news article.

Activity #4

  1. Pick a database to try from the list below. They all will give you good results, but the articles contained in any one will be different because each one has a different set of data loaded into it.
  2. Construct your search strategy using the tips below and your top 3 keywords from activity #3.
  3. Search! Evaluate your results and pick a good article. For your assignment, you need 3 journal articles from scholarly journals. Let's get at least one good one today.
  4. Download the PDF or make sure to use the PERMALINK feature to post your article in column #4.

Database Search Techniques

Boolean search, asterisk, and quotes

  • This is called a boolean search - you use linguistic syntax to construct a search by threading together different keywords with the connector "AND." This necessitates much more simplicity compared to Google, where you can just type in a question or a phrase.
  • Put phrases in quotes, for example "southern border." This tells the algorithm to find that exact phrase, rather than the two words southern and border separately anywhere in the record for the article.
  • You can use the * asterisk as a wildcard on the ending of a word. In the example above, I will get results with mexico, mexican, mexicans, etc.

Limit to Peer Review

  • Most databases have an easy way to limit your results to peer reviewed journal articles. Look for the limiter on the left side of the screen in most interfaces.


  • Make sure you use the permalink to the article when you are saving it in your research notes - and when you are sharing it on the Padlet! Using the url from the browser bar will not work. That link will not work after about 15 minutes.


Made with Padlet