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Finding library resources for Anthropology

Where can I find book reviews?

The Library Search Box is an excellent tool for quickly locating book reviews - search for book title in quotes and limit results to Item type "reviews"

Anthropology Sources:

Other sources include

  • America: History and Life - covers the world's scholarly literature on the history and culture of the United States and Canada from prehistoric times to the present. Hint: In Publication type field select "review" to limit results to book reviews
  • ATLA Religion Database - major index to books and articles on religious studies. Hint: Limit publication type to "review" 
  • Canadian Periodical Index - good source if book was published Canada. Hint:  enter title and them limit results to "book reviews" 
  • CBCA (Canadian Business and Current Affairs) - good source if book was published in Canada Hint: limit your search to Document Type "review"
  • JSTOR  -use advanced feature; then limit to "review" 
  • Project Muse - limit content to "reviews only"
  • Periodicals Archive Online - international index to thousands of periodicals in the humanities and social sciences. Coverage is from the first issues(back to the 1700's) to 2005. Hint:  limit "Document Type" to review. 
  • Web of Science - indexes more than 1,300 of the world's leading arts and humanities journals. Hint : Go to Advanced Search and  select document type "Book Review"

Assignment type

Read your assignment!

Before you start, make sure you understand what the assignment is asking for.

Highlight key parts (e.g. due date, requirements). 

How to write a critical review of an article

Check out the steps listed in the Assignment Tracker template.


Keywords are the main ideas or concepts of your research question. Find your keywords in the main ideas presented in the book.

Brainstorm synonyms for these main ideas. 

You'll use these keywords for your searches.

1. Read the book.

You can't review something you haven't read. 

This is not a book report where you simply summarize the ideas. A critical review asks you to examine the ideas of another person from your perspective

Keep in mind that you will need to summarize and evaluate the main ideas as well as fulfill the criteria on your assignment sheet.

Take a look at the University of Wisconsin - Madison's Reading a Book to Review it.

2. Evaluate the book's main points.

As you read, keep track of the book's main points and your reactions to the ideas. It might be helpful to make a table like this:

Book's main points My responses
An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

What scientific evidence is there to support this claim?

How does the author support this claim in the book?

What are the origins of this theory? Is this the original source of this theory or has is the author building upon pre-existing ideas?

and so on...   

These responses should be valid academic points - it's not enough to say that it's a "good" or "bad" idea. You need to explain why. 

3. Library research

You'll need to give your review some context. Your professor may ask you to consult other works.

Use keywords in the library search to find other resources on the same topic. If you search using the title of the article, you'll only find the article and others' reviews of the article.   Use Google Scholar to locate works which have cited this article.

Take a look at the Books and Articles tabs in this guide for tips on how to search.

As you read these sources, take notes in your own words to avoid unintentional plagiarism.

4. Write and edit

Time to bring it all together.

Use the strategies outlined in the Student Success Centre's Writing Support.

If you're unsure about the writing process, book an appointment with  the Student Success Centre.


Not citing your sources = plagiarism

American Anthropological Association style guide (AAA) has been discontinued as  of September 2015.  AAA now follows the Chicago Manual of Style (Author-Date format).   See also:  Chicago Manual of Style - quick guide

Primatology uses APA Author-Date. 

If your professor has chosen neither of these styles, check out the Student Success Centre's guides to citing.

Note for online sources you need to add the DOI or stable URL to end of the citation in the Reference Cited list.  

Guides to writing book reviews

This guide was created with information from these sources:


 Writing  a Critical Book Review University of Toronto

How to Write a Book Report and a Book ReviewConcordia University

Writer's Handbook: Writing Book Reviews, University of Wisconsin - Madison