Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
 
 

Anthropology

Use this guide to find books, articles, databases, and other resources for research in Anthropology.

Primary Sources

Primary sources in anthropology can be defined as original, first-hand records of a particular culture, event, or time period. These first-hand records can be contrasted with secondary sources (including many academic articles and books), which provide analysis or interpretation of primary source materials.

Primary sources may include government and legal documents, historical texts (such as letters and diaries), oral histories, photographs, video recordings, artworks, and various archival materials. The original news stories and articles reporting on events are also considered primary sources. Journal articles in the social sciences (including anthropology) that report the results of original research studies can be thought of as primary sources. Finally, scholarly books and book chapters may also provide extensive quotations, narratives, or other data that constitute primary source material.

This text comes from the University of Louisville guide on Archaeology and Anthropology.

Finding Primary Sources

Locating primary sources can be challenging. Many sources are only available in print archives, and those sources that have been digitized may not be easy to find. The best strategy is to think through the types of sources you might be interested in and then contact a librarian for assistance. Some questions you might consider:

  • What kind of sources would be helpful? Legal documents? Original news stories? Statistics? What else?
  • What is the scope of my project? Regional? National? International?
  • Do I need information about a specific person or event? What are the key dates or time periods?
  • What organizations and agencies might have produced information related to my research question? Do they post information on the web?

Google can help you (and sometimes frustrate you!) with finding digital archives, repositories, and collections of primary sources. Be sure to try different search terms and look through at least the first full page of results.

This text comes from the University of Louisville guide on Archaeology and Anthropology.

Newspaper Databases

Ethnographies