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FYI103: Reason & Relativity (Prof. Tim Bloser)

The assignmentDatabases - Where's the full-text? - Citing Sources - Questions?

The assignment

Select and then research an interesting cultural practice, or set of practices, that seem to express a very different set of moral values or beliefs than your own. Then, consider whether the results of your research provide evidence for descriptive relativism.

Your final paper must include at least three peer-reviewed sources that help you with the following:

  • A detailed description of the practice: what it is and how it works
  • Historical background on the practice
  • The cultural value(s) that underlie the practice


Here are the article databases recommended by you and your classmates during the library visit on Monday, April 10. All of them are good sources of scholarly journal articles. They can be accessed via this path:

Main library page --> Databases --> Databases A-Z

Anthropology Plus
Articles on anthropology and archaeology. Anthropology is the study of human societies and cultures and, thus, will be relevant to almost everyone's topic.

Sociological Abstracts
For articles on sociology and related areas in the social and behavioral sciences.

ATLA Religion
For any cultural practice that intersects with, or happens as part of, religion.

Bibliography of Asian Studies
Covers the continent of Asia; BAS is especially useful for humanities- and social science-related topics.

Gender Studies
For any topic related to gender or sexuality.

Historical Abstracts
Articles on world history except the U.S. and Canada. (For U.S. and Canadian history, search America: History & Life.)

Full-text database covering a wide variety of subject areas. Go to Advanced Search and narrow to Articles; then, scroll down and select the subject areas most relevant to your topic.

And here are a couple more databases that I (the librarian) recommend:

Family & Society Studies
For articles on sociology and family dynamics.

Index Islamicus
Covers Islam and Muslims across the globe.

Academic Search Complete
If all else fails, this broad, general database is worth considering.

Where's the full-text?

Not all of the good articles you identify will be full-text in the database. Here's what to do if that happens. Ask a librarian if you need help with these steps.

If you are looking for a journal article . . .

  1. On the library website, click "Journals and Magazines." Search the title of the journal in which the article you want was published. (Some databases label the journal title as the "Source.") The results will tell you whether Augustana has access to the publication, what date range we have, and what format so you can obtain your article. If you see here that Augustana does not have access to the journal and/or the date of the journal that you need, go to step 2.
  2. On the library website, click "Interlibrary Loan." Login (or create an account if you don't yet have one), choose "Article" from the menu, and fill out the form. In some of the library's databases there is a direct link to ILL along with the description of the article.

If you are looking for a chapter from a book . . .

  1. Search ALiCat to see if we own the book. If we don't, search I-Share and order a copy to read.
  2. If we don't own the book, you may also order a book chapter through interlibrary loan. Click the "Interlibrary Loan" link on the library website, login (or create an account if you don't yet have one), and select "book chapter" from the menu on the left. Then, fill out the form. Only the fields with a * are required.

Citing Sources

Online guides to citation styles, including MLA and Chicago Manual of Style, are here:

Library website --> Citing Sources


Please feel free to email me ( if you have questions about your research.

Or speak to the person on duty at the research help desk: in-person, or by phone (309-794-7206), email (, or the chat box on the main library website.

Page created by Stefanie Bluemle, librarian for history, philosophy, and religion. Updated April 2017.