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ANTH 336: War and Society: Academic Sources

This guide will help you locate sources for your research project in Anthropology 336: War and Society.

Understanding Academic Sources in Anthropology

Academic sources (such as peer-reviewed articles, books, and book chapters) can serve multiple purposes. They can help you:

  • Understand the important background issues associated with your research question;
  • Develop an appropriate theoretical framework to guide your analysis;
  • Find relevant evidence or data to support (or refute) your argument;
  • Determine the areas of your topic that have not yet been explored in detail by researchers.

How do you know if a source is peer-reviewed? In most library databases, articles that have been peer-reviewed will be labeled as "peer-reviewed," "scholarly," or "academic." You can also try looking up a journal's website to find details about its peer-review process. Here are some other things you can look for to help you determine if an article is peer-reviewed:

  • The author is affiliated with a college or university and holds relevant advanced degrees in the subject area;
  • The article presents original research of some kind (such as a study, a theoretical or historical analysis, etc.);
  • The article includes sophisticated, expert terminology and discussion;
  • The article includes a formal and perhaps very lengthy bibliography of sources.

It can sometimes be more challenging to determine if a book (or book chapter) is peer-reviewed. In most cases, you'll want to look for books written by professors or professional researchers and published by university presses or academic publishers (ask a librarian if you're not sure!). The content of the book also provides clues: is the treatment of the subject matter sophisticated? does the book seem to have been written primarily for experts? is there a lengthy bibliography?

For more information about peer-review, see this video from North Carolina State University.

Most anthropological articles and book chapters emphasize theoretical discussion and/or empirical research. See the pdf link below for more information about the differences between theoretical and empirical approaches.

Recommended Anthropology Databases

The following databases include academic articles and other sources in anthropology, ethnography, and related disciplines.

Additional Databases

The following databases, which focus primarily on fields outside of anthropology, may be relevant to your research on war and society. For example, PsycINFO will include articles on the psychological effects of violence and trauma, while Communication Abstracts will include articles on media representations of war.

Subject Guide

Rob Detmering

University of Louisville
Louisville, KY 40292


tel 502.852.6757

fax 502.852.8736

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