1. Have a question, or a fuzzy idea. What social factors cause young men to kidnap wives in Kyrgyzstan? is great. I've heard something about bride kidnapping is a good place to start, as well.
2. Browse encyclopedias or Wikipedia to get a quick overview, or search a general database like Academic Search Complete and read an article or two to learn what’s out there on your topic.
3. Come up with a list of words to search in our top anthropology databases. Don't be afraid to search for nearby countries or related customs. If searching for "bride abduction" doesn't turn up anything, try "marriage customs." If searching for the Tajik language doesn't give you results, look for articles about the related Dari language.
4. Know how Google Scholar + library catalogs and databases work, and try each one for a major project.
5. Download and read a few related articles. Their mention of other articles will give you ideas for other resources.
6. You probably won't find the perfect article. No one else is going to make your argument for you in a single article. Instead, you'll need to combine ideas from other authors on related topics or cultures to make your own argument for how humans are the way they are. That's anthropology!
7. Get help. Use the 20-minute rule. If you're still struggling after 20 minutes of searching, email a librarian for an appointment.
"Reference sources" are books or websites you refer to when you'd like to get a broad idea of a new topic before you dive into research.
Many academics start with Wikipedia . We encourage you to also read and cite the dictionaries, encyclopedias, handbooks, and companions which the Anthropology Library has bought in print and online: