Best Research Tools for Anthropology Students

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Best Research Tools for Anthropology Students

Get SigmaOS Free

It's free and super easy to set up

Best Research Tools for Anthropology Students

Get SigmaOS Free

It's free and super easy to set up

Best Research Tools for Anthropology Students

Anthropology, as a discipline, holds an essential role in understanding human culture, behavior, and evolution. It requires extensive research, data collection, analysis, and interpretation to comprehend the diverse and complex nature of societies worldwide. To maximize the research experience for anthropology students, it is crucial to use the right research tools that enhance learning, streamline data collection, and facilitate collaboration and communication. This article explores the best research tools for anthropology students, including online databases and journals, books, texts, and digital tools for fieldwork and data collection.

Understanding the Importance of Research Tools in Anthropology

Anthropology research relies heavily on the right collection, organization, and analysis of data. As such, having a vast array of research tools at your disposal can go a long way in improving your research outcomes. Employing the best research tools can also improve your learning experience, since such tools provide a different perspective on human culture and behavior while widening your knowledge base. Additionally, these tools help speed up data collection, analysis, and interpretation, allowing you to save time while simultaneously improving the accuracy of your research.

Enhancing the Learning Experience

One of the best ways to enhance your anthropology learning experience is by using online databases and journals. These tools offer access to a wealth of information, including peer-reviewed articles, dissertations, and books. Some of the top online databases and journals for anthropology research include:

  • JSTOR: A vast online library that offers access to academic journals, books, and primary sources.

  • AnthroSource: A digital database containing neuroscience and anthropology literature forums and discipline tactics.

  • Wiley Online Library: A massive online database offering access to academic journals, books, and online reference works.

  • Project Muse: A digital online library consisting of several high-quality academic journals and e-books.

By using these online databases and journals, anthropology students get access to a wealth of information that complements their in-class learning. They can also learn about a broad range of topics, including indigenous cultures, cultural sustainability, political anthropology, and others.

Moreover, anthropology students can use these resources to stay up-to-date with the latest research and developments in their field. As they explore different topics and perspectives, they can gain a deeper understanding of human culture and behavior, which can ultimately lead to more insightful research.

Streamlining Data Collection and Analysis

Data collection and analysis are integral components of anthropology research. The following research tools can help anthropologists streamline these processes:

  • ATLAS.ti: A tool designed to assist in qualitative data analysis, coded networks as well as visual representation.

  • Nvivo: A computer-assisted qualitative data analysis software that helps to categorize and analyze diverse data.

  • Rapid Ethnography: A tool that employs mobile phone technology to facilitate video, audio, and image data collection and analysis.

Using these tools, anthropology students can collect and analyze data more efficiently and accurately. For instance, ATLAS.ti and Nvivo enable students to organize and categorize large amounts of qualitative data, making it easier to identify patterns and themes. Rapid Ethnography, on the other hand, allows students to collect data in real-time, making it ideal for fieldwork and ethnographic research.

Furthermore, these tools can help anthropology students present their findings more effectively. By using visual aids and other multimedia elements, students can communicate their research more comprehensively, making it easier for others to understand and appreciate their work.

Facilitating Collaboration and Communication

Collaboration and communication are core aspects of anthropology. One of the best ways to facilitate these processes is by leveraging digital research tools such as:

  • Slack: A communication platform that allows groups to share messages, files, and collaborate on projects.

  • Google Drive: A digital storage platform that allows teams to create, store, and share documents and files.

  • Mendeley: A social networking platform that facilitates team collaboration, document sharing, and cite annotation.

Using these tools, anthropology students can work together more seamlessly, allowing them to leverage the power of teamwork to obtain better research outcomes. For instance, Slack can be used to share research findings and discuss ideas, while Google Drive can be used to collaborate on documents and presentations. Mendeley, on the other hand, can be used to share and annotate research articles, making it easier for students to keep track of their sources and references.

Overall, digital research tools play a critical role in anthropology research. By using these tools, anthropology students can enhance their learning experience, streamline data collection and analysis, and facilitate collaboration and communication. As such, it is essential for anthropology students to familiarize themselves with these tools and use them to their full potential.

Top Online Databases and Journals for Anthropology Research

Online databases and journals are essential to anthropology students, providing access to a wealth of information on culture, social behavior, and linguistics. Below are some of the top options in this category:


JSTOR is an online library that features articles from various fields, including anthropology. Students can use this tool to access over 2,300 anthropology publications, which include books, essays, and diverse essays. JSTOR provides a searchable interface that makes it easy to find the information you need.


AnthroSource is a research tool featuring works of the American Anthropological Association. Students can access articles from publications like the American Anthropologist, Current Anthropology, and other journals. The indexed peer-review literature forums provide an approachable database for students interested in the cultural and linguistic anthropology fields.

Wiley Online Library

The Wiley Online Library is an excellent choice for students seeking research materials in anthropology. The library provides access to over 160 anthropology journals, 70 books, and over 1,000 reference resources like the Encyclopedia of Social and Cultural Anthropology. Additionally, the library provides access to author-friendly and general written local policies for subscribing institutions.

Project MUSE

Project MUSE is an extensive online database featuring journals, books, and articles within the anthropology fields. This resource is comprised of independent scholarly publishers, including the Johns Hopkins University Press and the University of Pennsylvania Press. MUSE offers access to over 100 anthropology publications, including cultural and linguistic anthropology fields.

Essential Books and Texts for Anthropology Students

Many of the foundational texts in anthropology remains crucial to students' learning. Below are some essential books and texts for anthropology students:

Classic Anthropology Texts

The classic anthropology books continue to provide a valuable resource for students today. These texts provide information about core anthropological themes, indicate significant areas of research, and show the evolution of anthropological theories. Classic anthropology books include:

  • Argonauts of the Western Pacific by Bronislaw Malinowski

  • The Social Organisation of Australian Tribes by A. R. Radcliffe-Brown

  • The Nuer: A Description of the Modes of Livelihood and Political Institutions of a Nilotic People by E. E. Evans-Pritchard

  • The Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies by Marcel Mauss

Contemporary Anthropology Books

Contemporary anthropology books provide current information on contemporary issues, allowing students to contextualize current socio-cultural conditions. These texts include:

  • Globalization and Its Discontents by Joseph Stiglitz

  • Pure Sociology by Donald Black

  • Culture in Practice: Selected Essays by Marshall Sahlins

  • Gold, Greed and Giants: Results from Calm among the Yanomami by Raymond Kelly

Encyclopedias and Reference Works

Encyclopedias and reference works provide a broad range of information across various anthropology fields. They are suitable for students seeking quick and reliable information on various anthropology topics. Some of the best encyclopedias and reference works for anthropology students include:

  • The International Encyclopedia of Anthropology edited by Hilary Callan

  • The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Hunters and Gatherers edited by Richard B. Lee and Richard Daly

  • The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics edited by Carol A. Chapelle

Digital Tools for Fieldwork and Data Collection

Anthropologists spend a lot of time in the field, communicating with locals, observing their cultures, and collecting data through various methods. Below are some of the digital tools that anthropology students can use for fieldwork and data collection:

Mobile Apps for Ethnographic Research

Mobile Apps are an excellent tool for ethnographers in the field, as they can leverage the power of mobile devices to gather audio, video, and geolocation data. Some useful mobile apps for fieldwork and data collection include:

  • Cam Scanner: A mobile application that converts images to PDF files to organize and share digital copies of documents.

  • Handwriting notes: A digital pen system that lets you capture notes on your phone or tablet.

  • GeoLocation: A mobile application that captures the location data of the user.

Audio and Video Recording Tools

Audio and video recording tools help anthropology students record interviews, songs, and other sounds, making data collection easier. Some useful audio and video recording tools include:

  • Zoom H4N PRO Digital Multitrack Recorder: An audio recorder designed to capture interviews and sounds on the field easily.

  • GoPro HERO7 Black: A durable and waterproof camera that captures high-quality videos of cultures and traditions.

  • Rode NTG2 Condenser Shotgun Microphone: A directional microphone that records audio at a distance, making it ideal for interviews.

GIS and Mapping Software

GIS and mapping software assist anthropologists to visualize data on maps and analyze geographic information. Some useful GIS and mapping tools include:

  • QGIS: This allows the students to integrate multiple layers of information into one map.

  • ArcGIS Pro: This tool allows the students to display data in 2D and 3D formats while facilitating virtual globe data representation on maps.

  • Google Earth: Google earth is a fantastic mapping and networking tool that presents geological information on a virtual globe format.


No one best research tool exists for anthropology students, but by combining the power of online databases and journals, books and texts, and digital fieldwork tools such as mobile apps, audio and video recording devices, and GIS and mapping software, anthropology students can enhance their research processes exponentially. Employing the best research tools can streamline data collection, analysis, and interpretation, allowing you to save time while providing accurate research outcomes.