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ANTH 4451 - Winter 2023


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 4451 course guide:

  1. Go to the library home page (
  2. Click on "Research Support" (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 4451: Advanced Topics in Biological Anthropology"


  1. Short survey on strategies
  2. Review strategies
  3. Mendeley example / Zotero examples
  4. Work on assignment (Samanti and Chris available for questions)
    1. Decide on broad topic
    2. Begin literature survey (identifying four key sources)

Let's Get Started:

  1. Brief Survey about search/ research skills (use code 2507 2608)
  2. Two Questions in Google Jamboard (respond to one or both questions)
    • What would you like to learn or discuss in today's class? 
    • What would you like to know about the library, its tools or its services?

Topic Strategies

Start with your geographical area, migratory path, skeletal sample, or cemetery study. You want to consider the terminology attached to those wide, general topics. Consider:

  • Time period (within the Holocene)
    • How else can this be written? What are the restrictions? Early?  Late?
  • People associated with the discovery
    • Connecting to an anthropologist's larger body of work can be helpful for finding more information and understanding how this fits into a program of research
  • Place - country, region, site.
    • How else do we refer to this place?
    • Current versus historical/ancient or cultural vs westernized
      • For example, Ceylon and Sri Lanka


  1. Broader
    • Topic: Cree.  Broader: (Great) Plains
  2. Narrower
    • Topic: Eastern Woodland.  Narrower: Ojibwe
  3. Laterally
    • similar cultures, similar regions, same methods but different culture/ location


  1. Keep notes on your searches. 
    • Record what search tool you used (ie. LibrarySearch, Google Scholarly) AND what keywords and limits that you used.  This is useful when doing searching over multiple weeks.  It helps you be more efficient and effective.
  2. Use multiple search tools:
    • General subject databases that search many different disciplines and subject areas
      • eg.  LibrarySearch, Google Scholar, Academic Search Complete, etc.
    • Subject-specific search tools that focus on a narrower range of topics (Use the MRU subject guides to identify subject-specific databases
      • eg.  AnthropologyPlus, America: History & Life, etc.
  3. Make use of the references from your sources
    • Where did your sources find their information?
    • Who has cited the source you are using?  (For example, your article is from 2002 - has anyone cited that information since then?).  Use the "Cited By" feature in Google Scholar.  Copy and paste the article title into Google Scholar.
  4. Found a great reference but can't find full-text? 
  5. Be more precise in your searching.
    • Search within our ebook collection - you'll be able to search the full-text of books, rather than the descriptions and tags.  MRU has access to 28 ebook collections
    • Search within a specific journal - you'll be able to search the full-text of the articles rather than the descriptions and tags
  6. ASK FOR HELP!!  Use Samanti, myself (or other librarians), as well as LibraryChat 

General Searching Tips:

Less is More: Start with one or two words and then add one additional term at a time

  • human migration
  • migration theories
  • migration theories North America

Phrase searching: Use "quotation marks" around key ideas made up of multiple words

  • "Venus figurines""
  • very useful when you have a specific phrase containing common words

Use limits: These refine (narrow) your search using different restrictions

  • Date (classic resources are great, but we want to see active scholarship)
  • Peer-reviewed (for articles)

Boolean:  OR / AND / NOT

  • use OR for spelling (archaeology OR archeology) and words with similar meanings to reduce your # of searches
  • use AND to combine words and phrases (this is usually the default when searching)
  • use NOT to exclude a word or phrase (be careful when eliminating something from a search - it's easy to exclude too much)

Truncation: Use an asterisk * to find different endings to your keywords

  • ceremon* = ceremony, ceremonies, ceremonial
  • environ* = environment, environmental, environmentalists
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Joel Blechinger
Phone: 403.440.8624
Office: EL4423E