Getting started

Welcome to a guide to research customized for ANTH 3015W/5015W: Biology, Evolution, and Cultural Development of Language & Music! This guide includes suggestions of strategies and resources to help you get started with research, and it's broken up by the types of research tasks that you might be interested in (e.g., accessing general anthropology databases, locating more specialized research tools, finding streaming recordings, etc.). Use the tabs (located on the left side of the screen in a desktop browser, or at the very top or bottom of the page on a mobile device) to explore these different research tasks.

New for Fall 2020: For general information about University Libraries services and resources like hours, information on returning books and scores, and more, please visit our Using the Libraries during COVID-19 page.
 

Questions? Need help? 

This guide is made up of lists of suggestions and general resources. Need help finding something more specific? Contact Kat Nelsen, Librarian for Anthropology, Sociology, American Studies, American Indian Studies and Asian American Studies, at kgerwig@umn.edu and Jessica Abbazio, Music Librarian at jabbazio@umn.edu.

First thing's first: Why are library research skills important?

Because finding relevant and trustworthy sources will help you to understand your topic – and it will make it easier to talk/write about it.
 

Finding relevant and trustworthy sources on whatever you're researching – as opposed to just using the first few results for a Google search – will make it easier to get started with exploring and writing about your topic. Wikipedia is one place to start, but it may not give you all the information you need. Diving into scholarly and peer-reviewed sources like the ones you’ll find through the Libraries is a great way to locate detailed information you can trust.

Gathering sources that are on-target for your topic will help you gain a thorough understanding of what you’d like to write about. This will make it easier to get started!
 

 

Want some general info on getting started with research and choosing a topic? Check out the short videos below!

Tutorial: Choosing a research paper topic

After completing this tutorial, you will be able to:
  • Find ideas and language on a topic using online tools and techniques
  • Use techniques like mind mapping, the 5W’s, and freeform writing to narrow a large topic

Tutorial: Creating an effective search strategy

After completing this tutorial, you will be able to:
  • Use meaningful keywords to find the best sources
  • Apply search strategies like AND and OR to connect keywords

Tutorial: What is a library database and why should I use one?

After completing this tutorial, you will be able to:
  • Identify what a library database is
  • Recognize the two main types of library databases
  • Know why you should use them
  • Understand why searching a library database is different than searching the general internet

Tutorial: Database search tips

Improve your searches! This guide will help you be able to:
  • Apply search modifiers AND, OR, and NOT to your database searches
  • Recognize phrase searching and other advanced search techniques
Last Updated: Nov 20, 2020 4:59 PM