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World Cultures Research Guide

This guide will help you start your research on world cultures for your research paper or presentation.

 Reference Books - Searching the Library Catalog - Searching Electronic Resources - Print Periodicals - Searching the Internet - Recommended Web Sites - Web Evaluation - Citing Your Sources


Reference Books

Reference books are a good place to start your research. The following list of books will help you narrow down your topic, find additional search terms, and get a general overview of your topic before you begin your research. This is not an exhaustive list, so be sure to look at the books shelved near these titles for additional books.

  • Dictionary of Global Culture – REF CB 9 .D53
  • Encyclopedia of Modern Ethnic Conflicts – REF D 860 .E56
  • Atlas of World Cultures: A Geographical Guide to Ethnographic Literature – REF G 1046 .E1 P7
  • Worldmark Encyclopedia of Cultures and Daily Life – REF GN 333 .W67
  • Encyclopedia of World Cultures – REF GN 550 .E53
  • CultureGrams (World Edition) - REF GT 150 .C85
  • Do’s and Taboos Around the World – REF HF 5387 .D66

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Searching the Library Catalog

Once you have narrowed down your topic, search the library catalog for additional resources on your specific topic. Here are some search tips and strategies.

Try the following subject headings in the subject search screen (you will then want to scroll down the search results for additional related headings).

  • Culture
  • Personality and Culture
  • Intercultural Communication

To conduct a simple keyword search, try some of the following search terms (remember to put phrases in quotation marks and note that doing a keyword search will produce broader results than the subject search).

  • “cultural diversity"
  • "cultural anthropology"
  • “world culture?"

Note: The ? symbol placed at the end of the term is a truncation symbol that tells the computer to search for all words that start with the first part of the letters included. For example, asia? will search for asia, asian, and asians.

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Searching Electronic Resources for Articles

You will find magazine, journal, and newspaper articles on world cultures in many of the databases at OCC Library. This is a list of the most pertinent sources. You can find all of the databases that are available on the library's Periodicals and Electronic Resources page. If you are off campus, you will need to log on with your student ID and last name.

  • Britannica Online - Online encyclopedia with photos and more. Good for providing a general overview of your topic.
  • Academic OneFile - Database of magazine and journal articles, most of which are available in full-text. You may also limit your search to scholarly journals.
  • Academic Search Premier - Similar to Academic Onefile, but with different content. Database of magazine and journal articles, most of which are available in full-text. You may also limit your search to scholarly journals.
  • CountryWatch - CountryWatch has real-time news articles and country report information for each of the 191 countries of the world. Information includes country background information, contemporary issues, cultural information, and much more. Additional resources include: statistical sources, social studies educational sources, and maps.

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Periodicals in Print at OCC Library

The following periodicals are found in the Periodicals section of the library and are filed in alphabetical order by title. You may also want to consult the Readers’ Guide to Periodical Literature to locate articles from the time period you are researching and to view the articles using microfilm. For a complete list of periodicals available, see our periodicals title list.

  • Essence (4 years ago - Current) 
  • Poder Hispanic (4 years ago - Current)

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Searching the Internet for Web Sites

The following Web sites will help you find reliable Internet resources that are of good authority for your research paper or presentation.

  • IPL2 - This site was developed by librarians as a reliable and efficient guide to Internet resources. This site is a searchable, annotated subject directory of more than 14,000 Internet resources that have been selected and evaluated by librarians.
  • DMOZ Open Directory Project – This human-edited directory of the Web breaks the topics into sub-topics and also provides “see also” references.
  • Google Advanced Search - Instead of using Google's default search, try the advanced search. There are a lot of tools that will give you better results, such as a box that lets you limit your results to a domain such as .edu or .gov.

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Recommended Web Sites

  • Culture and Cultural Studies – Social Science Information System based at the University of Amsterdam. This page provides links to sites related to various aspects of culture including Culture and Cultural Studies, Customs & Folklore, and CyberCulture.
  • Countries and Their Culture - Detailed, illustrated articles on more than one hundred world cultures.

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Web Evaluation

Evaluating Web Sites - A quick and useful guide to help you evaluate the Web pages you find for purpose, authority, objectivity, relevance, currency, and responsibility.

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Citing Your Sources

  • Purdue OWL: Research and Citation Resources – A thorough guide to basic research and citing your sources using MLA, APA, and other formats. From Purdue University's online writing lab.
  • Guides to Cite It! – Provides style guides for APA, MLA, Chicago, Turabian, and others. From the University of Georgia Libraries.

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(jk 5/07, updated lc 12/11)