This is part 2 of a 7 part series about software and internet resources for research. Part 1, “Inspiration for an Idea” can be found here.
I started off part 1 by saying this series would be better as a wiki and I’ve already proven that to myself, I made several additions to part 1 yesterday and will make a few more today. As I flesh out the notes I’ve written for the stages I keep thinking of new things and finding new links.
Now that you’ve spent some time cruising the internet and thinking about what sort of research project you’d like to do, I’m sure your inspired to pursue your project. What should your next step be and how will the internet and software help you? Well, if you’re following a traditional approach to your research, your next step is to do some review of existing literature.
If you’ve read this blog for any amount of time then you most likely know that I am hyper-organized. It’s very important to be organized with your research from the get-go and if you didn’t start to do this while you were seeking inspiration now would be the time to do it. There is a sea of electronic articles and even if you’re interest lays in an obscure topic, you’ll have many articles to keep track of.
My recommendations for organizing literature are bookmark the articles and to store the downloadable PDFs in a PDF data software program, such as Yep. I’ve also hear of using EndNote to keep track of bibliographies, etc. I have no experience with this software (I tried it and lost interest quickly) but it comes highly recommended.
If you start this early you’ll thank yourself in the long run!
Now is also a good time to consider maintaining a wiki or a mind map to organize your thoughts.
One of my favorite parts of anthropology is the fact that its work is best when complimented by another discipline. Many (American) anthropologists specialize in a more focused topic within one of our four sub-disciplines, i.e. public health, policy, environment, etc. Remember when your searching for literature DO NOT limit yourself to articles, etc. that say “anthropology”- think of what other disciplines might have something to offer.
Where to find literature
Don’t forget about the places where you found your inspiration in the first place, look for their recommendations, bibliographies, etc.
Amazon.com typically gives really good book descriptions and most books have customer reviews.
Look for people that work in the area you’re interested in. Some professors share their syllabi online and if they don’t, you can always email them and ask if you can have a copy.
Search the bibliographies of related articles.
Anthropology Review Database
Open Directory Project
List of anthropology journals here.
Open Access Journals here, here, and here .
This list is by no means exhaustive, so I’ll continue to add to it and I am interested to hear about other resources you all are using.