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Biological Anthropologists closely follow the scientific method through the application of an evolutionary perspective on the human condition. Publications that report the results of a scientific inquiry building from observations, hypotheses, data collection, analyses and interpretations culminate in the production of scientific publications such as peer-reviewed journal articles.

In this assessment you will be guided to build several skills associated with locating, retrieving, referencing, citing and paraphrasing information from scientific publications in biological anthropology. In particular you will learn to locate original research and data on human skeletal remains.

As well, you will learn to create a citation management database with an easily accessible citation manager (Mendeley). This setup will be useful for your research in anthropology and other disciplines, aiding the development of bibliographies and citations.

Citation Management


Try these terms:

  • bioarchaeology
  • cemetery
  • "cemetery studies"
  • human burial
  • skeleton/skeletal
  • human remains/human bones/human teeth/dentition
  • a specific bone name (for example, "human mandible"

Consider ways to narrow the topic:

  • include a region/continent/country
  • include a time frame (for example, Bronze Age/Mesolithic/Neolithic/Holocene

Starting with JSTOR

Considering if an article is "scholarly"

Crtieria to consider in assessing a resource:

  • Age: newer is not always better in Bio Anth. Consider the age of the report in its historical context. Is this a foundational report? Is the information in it still relevant, or has new evidence superceded it?
  • Context: who created the report? when? where? The context of the report tells us about what might be missing
  • Relevance: it might be an excellent article, but if it's about lithics, pottery, faunal or botanical remains, it's not relevant for this assignment

Search for Journal Articles

Search tips:

 * to say "I don't care how this word ends" 

skelet* will bring us skeletal, skeleton, etc.

OR to combine alternate terms for the same concept group

burials OR urns

AND to combine different concepts

(skeletal reports) AND (Sri Lanka OR Ceylon)

Tips on reading a scholarly article

APA Guides and Resources

The following APA resources will help you cite in-text, create a reference list, and format your paper.

These guides should answer most of your questions, but additional resources are available. 

Article Searching Tips

Finding too much?

  • Use AND between ideas to search for BOTH terms
  • Put “Quotation Marks Around Your Search" to search for exact phrases

Finding too little?

  • Use OR between your ideas to search for EITHER term
  • Put * after the root of a word to look for multiple endings

For better searching, think of multiple ways to describe your topic

What You Need to Know About Citation

Citation is stating where you got your information.

The reasons you cite:

  • To give credit where credit is due – to avoid plagiarizing
  • To give information about a source so people (i.e. your instructor) can find it

You need to cite:

  • In the paper (in-text citations)
  • At the end (reference list)
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Chris Thomas

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