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ANTH 1105: Ancient Peoples and Places - Winter 2024


To get started today, log into a classroom computer or your own personal laptop, tablet, etc. and open the MRU Library website

How to find the ANTH 1105 course guide:

  1. Go to the library home page (
  2. Click on "Help With..." (on the menu bar)
  3. Click "Subject Guides & Specialists"
  4. Look for Anthropology and click "Guide"
  5. Look for "Courses" (on the menu) bar and select "ANTH 1105: Ancient Peoples and Places - Boileau"

Session OutlineStock image picture of a human figure with a question mark.

Here is a plan for what we will cover today:

  1. Go over assignment details.

  2. Provide an overview of how to search LibrarySearch and Google Scholar for scholarly sources.

  3. Learn the difference between scholarly and non-scholarly sources.

  4. Practice information evaluation skills.

  5. Talk about SAA citation style.

  6. Show a couple of different ways to get help if you have questions.









Public Domain MarkThis work (Question Mark Symbol Icon Character, by Peggy_Marco), identified by Pixabay, is free of known copyright restrictions.

The Assignment

This is a two-part assignment:

  1. The research topic and bibliography list.

  2. The annotated bibliography and mini-essay.

Part 1: Research Topic and Bibliography

  1. Select a topic from the provided list.

  2. Find 10 anthropological sources on your topic, of which eight (8) must come from peer-reviewed sources, and two (2) must be non-scholarly sources. Select recent sources (published since 2000) as much as possible.

  3. Create a bibliography using the SAA style guide.

  4. Explain how your selections relate to your choice of topic in a short paragraph (5-10 lines). 

Part 2: Annotated Bibliography and Mini-Essay

  1. From the eight (8) peer-reviewed sources you selected on your research topic, annotate five (5) peer-reviewed sources. See the instructions in the assignment on how to annotate a source.

  2. In a mini-essay, answer the question from your topic of choice by summarizing and contrasting the information gathered from the five sources in 1-2 pages (double-spaced). 

What Are the Best Tools to Use to Find the Information That I Need?

Multidisciplinary Search Tools

  • These search across multiple disciplines.
  • Sometimes, they're not as strong for researching discipline-specific topics (for example: stress (psychology) or stress (engineering)).
  • Examples include: MRU LibrarySearch, Google Scholar, Academic Search Complete

Subject-Specific Search Tools

  • Use the subject guides to help choose a subject specific search tool.
  • These tools are focused on a specific discipline, such as psychology, economics, biology, etc.
  • Examples include: Anthropology Plus

Background / Reference Search Tools

  • Use the subject guides to help identify these.
  • Useful for finding background information on your topic, finding key people, understanding key concepts, and locating other readings.
  • Examples include: encyclopedias, handbooks, dictionaries, etc.

Conducting Academic Research With LibrarySearch 

LibrarySearch is MRU Library's one-stop search interface/catalogue that brings together resources across format, time, and subject. 

We have about 1.3 million e-resources and 221,000 physical resources in our collection, and LibrarySearch searches across those.

Things to remember when using LibrarySearch:

  1. Sign in to save searches, items, and to request materials.

  2. Use the pin icon to save books and articles to your Favorites for future reference.

  3. Use the filters on the right. You will use Availability, Resource Type, and Date filters most often. Filter settings can be "locked in" so that you don't have to reapply them to every search that you make.

  4. Some items may not be available, however, you can request unavailable items using what is called interlibrary loan.

  5. When viewing an item record, scroll down to the Get it (for hardcopy/physical items) or Access options (for electronic items) section to get access to the item.

Helpful Search Operators to Use in LibrarySearch

You can use what are called search operators to search in a way to combine or omit different terms by telling the search engine exactly what you want and this can help you save some time (and frustration!)

  • Use quotation marks to keep specific phrases together:

    • "social media"

    • "public space"

    • "inclusive design"

    • "fast fashion"

  • Use AND to combine search terms (LibrarySearch automatically creates an AND when you write terms one after another, but it can be good practice to use an AND to help you understand the searches that you build) (AND narrows your search):

    • "social media" AND privacy

  • Use OR to connect two or more similar terms (OR broadens your search):

    • "social media" OR "social networking"

  • Use wild cards to substitute a letter or suffix with a symbol:

    • ceremon* (in this example, the search ceremon* will search for records that contain strings such as ceremonial and ceremonies)

Conducting Academic Research With Google Scholar

Google Scholar

Google Scholar is another great way to find high quality resources.

Besides providing links to resources in MRU databases, Google Scholar links to online repositories that contain articles the author has been allowed to upload. and ResearchGate are among the repositories searched by Google Scholar.

By clicking on the Settings icon, you can select library links to show library access for up to 5 libraries (type in Mount Royal and click on save).  If you are logged into MRU library, links should automatically populate if you are running a Google search in another window. 

Google Scholar has a nifty citation chaining function. The Cited by function will forward you to indexed scholarly material that has cited a resource that you may be interested in. The Related articles link will direct you to similar articles that may have the same metadata or keywords. 

Helpful Search Operators to Use in Google Scholar

Google Scholar's Advanced Search is found by clicking the menu icon in the top left.

You can also add search operators to Google Scholar searches to build your own custom advanced searches in similar ways to LibrarySearch:

  • Use quotation marks to keep specific phrases together:

    • "climate change"

  • Avoid using AND to combine search terms with Google Scholar, as the search engine automatically creates ANDs between concepts and sometimes adding an additional AND can confuse the search syntax.

  • Use OR to connect two or more similar terms:

    • "social media" OR "social networking"

  • Use wild cards to substitute a letter or suffix with a symbol:

    • ethic* (in this example, the search ethic* will search for records that contain strings such as ethics, ethical, and ethically)

The Dog on the Internet Problem

Figure 1

Peter Steiner's Famous 1993 New Yorker Cartoon Illustrating an Issue Central to Information Evaluation

Note. From "On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog" [Cartoon], by P. Steiner, 1993, Wikimedia (

Evaluating Information

It is good to find lots of search results, but, in order to use information skilfully, you need to know how to evaluate that information to determine whether a specific resource is appropriate to use in a specific use case (i.e. for a specific assignment).

The phrase "evaluating information" actually stands in for a wide range of judgments that we make about information in many different contexts, whether those judgments are about relevance, timeliness, quality, etc.

Librarians have developed several different acronyms to help people remember useful criteria to use in information evaluation. One of my personal favourites is RADAR!

RADAR stands for





Reason for Creation

We can ask the following questions to help us assess each criterion:


  • Does this source fit my topic?

  • What is this source's intended audience?

    • Is that intended audience appropriate for my use case in this assignment?


  • Is/are the creator(s) of this source clearly identified or known to us?

  • How important is it in this use case to trust the source's creator(s)?

    • If it is important, why should we trust the source's creator(s)?

    • Is the source's creator credentialed or an expert in their field?


  • Is the creation or publication date of this source identified or known to us?

  • Is this source too old?


  • Do this source's facts "check out"?

  • Does the source have references of its own?

Reason for Creation (take your best guess at this question using judgments from earlier criteria):

  • Why was this source made?

  • Was this source made to sell a product or service, to inform/educate, to entertain, etc?

Scholarly vs. Popular Sources

scholarly publication contains articles written by experts in a particular field. The primary audience of these articles is other experts.

Many of these publications are also referred to as "peer-reviewed," academic, or "refereed." They all mean essentially the same thing and refer to the editorial and publication process in which scholars in the same field review the research and findings before the article is published.


Scholarly / Peer-Reviewed

Popular / Not Scholarly (but possibly still credible!)


  • Expert

  • Journalist / professional writer

Review Process

  • Reviewed by an editorial board or other experts ("peers")

  • Reviewed by an editor

Audience /

  • Scholars and students

  • Technical language

  • General public

  • Easy to understand


  • Original research

  • Uses previously published literature for background

  • News and practical information

  • Uses a variety of sources for background 


  • Always cited

  • Sometimes cited


  • Peer-reviewed articles

  • Scholarly books

  • Literature reviews, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses

  • Theses and dissertations

  • Magazine articles

  • Newspaper articles

  • Blog articles

  • Encyclopedias

  • Textbooks

  • Websites

  • Social media

Some Helpful Questions for Identifying a Scholarly/Academic Article

  1. What are the author’s credentials? Was it written by an expert?

  2. Was it published in a journal (is there a DOI?)? (If you are not sure if a source is a journal article, you can enter the title of the publication into Ulrichs Web to check.)

  3. Does it use academic or more technical language?

  4. Does it includes a reference list of sources that it is citing?

  5. How long is it? (Scholarly articles are typically longer than popular or news articles.)

  6. Does it have a "Received" and "Accepted" date on it?

  7. Is it an actual article? (Sometimes other types of content are included in scholarly publications, such as editorials/opinion pieces and book reviews. Make sure you are looking at an article.)

Examples of Peer-Reviewed Journals That You Could Use for This Assignment

• Science
• Nature
• Journal of Archaeological Science
• Journal of Human Evolution
• Journal of Anthropological Archaeology
• Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory
• Journal of Field Archaeology
• American Antiquity
• Antiquity
• Latin American Antiquity
• Archaeometry
• Current Anthropology
• The Holocene
• Geoarchaeology
• Environmental Archaeological
• PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences)
• PLOS One

Activity: Is It Scholarly?

To make sure we are all on the same page, let's put our knowledge to the test.

Skim the following resources available through the links keeping in mind the characteristics we have discussed in class (for example: what is this information and where did it come from? Was it written by an expert? Where is this source published?).

Vote whether you think this source is Scholarly or Not Scholarly.

Source 1

Scholarly: 0 votes (0%)
Not Scholarly: 41 votes (100%)
Total Votes: 41
Scholarly: 16 votes (40%)
Not Scholarly: 24 votes (60%)
Total Votes: 40
Scholarly: 31 votes (100%)
Not Scholarly: 0 votes (0%)
Total Votes: 31
Scholarly: 1 votes (3.33%)
Not Scholarly: 29 votes (96.67%)
Total Votes: 30
Scholarly: 30 votes (93.75%)
Not Scholarly: 2 votes (6.25%)
Total Votes: 32
Scholarly: 2 votes (6.67%)
Not Scholarly: 28 votes (93.33%)
Total Votes: 30
Scholarly: 0 votes (0%)
Not Scholarly: 29 votes (100%)
Total Votes: 29
Scholarly: 3 votes (10.71%)
Not Scholarly: 25 votes (89.29%)
Total Votes: 28
Scholarly: 28 votes (90.32%)
Not Scholarly: 3 votes (9.68%)
Total Votes: 31
Scholarly: 4 votes (11.76%)
Not Scholarly: 30 votes (88.24%)
Total Votes: 34

Tips for Reading Scholarly Articles

(Adapted from handouts by J. Loyer & M. MacMillan)

Check for relevance – is the article useful for what you’re doing? You will likely never find the perfect article that’s exactly on the topic you have in mind, but you will find ones that are close and useful because:

  • They provide background or context.

  • They provide theories that help you examine/understand a new situation.

  • They look at a similar group of people.

  • They look at similar situations.

  • They use methods that you could use to answer similar questions.

  • They apply techniques that could be useful in your situation.

  • They have useful bibliographies that direct you to even better materials.

Print out the article – research supports that reading comprehension increases when reading in print).

Skim to get the article's general idea – review introduction, headings, conclusion to see if the article will suit your needs.

Get comfortable and carve out a little time – reading for depth takes focus and practice, and you’ll probably have to read the article more than once.

Read with a pen in hand – mark up interesting points, odd words, and circle key concepts.

Read with a questioning spirit – engage in a dialogue with the piece’s author(s) – “really?” “prove it!” “are you sure about that?” – constantly question the author(s).

If possible, practice slow reading – summarize paragraphs as you go and read the article aloud to slow down.

Note unfamiliar words and concepts – look them up on your second read through.

Make connections as you go – note what the article reminds you of, what thoughts it provokes, how it matches or contradicts your experience – these connections are critical to your understanding of texts.

Draw things out – stats, tables, connections or relationships can make more sense if you diagram them.

Consider the article's approaches and limitations – if you started with the same question(s) as the author, how would you approach finding the answers? What’s missing from the article? What questions does it leave you with?

Discuss the article with others – students identified this as a very useful strategy for getting the most out of articles.

Student Evaluation of Instruction

Please click on this link and sign into Blue (the evaluation platform) using your Mount Royal University credentials.

Choose this class (ANTH 1105 Ancient Peoples and Places-ANTH1105003) and fill out the evaluation of my instruction for this class.

This will take around 10 mins.

Thank-you so much! All of your feedback is appreciated and will be used to improve my instruction heading forward.


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Joel Blechinger
Phone: 403.440.8624
Office: EL4423E