Use the Encyclopaedia Britannica online search engine again to search for "Native American." (Be sure to click "Encyclopaedia Britannica," but not "Britannica Internet Guide" or one of the other choices.) Scroll and page-turn your way through the entries until you find one titled "Spotlight: Native American Cultural Ferment." This article discusses current attempts by Native Americans to "repatriate" (reclaim, and usually re-bury) ancestral remains. Scroll to the end and note that this article is signed and even lists the author's credentials. Notice, too, that this time the citation at the very end of the article is incorrect by researchers' standards, since it omits the author's name. To be sure that you are recording all the necessary information in your list of sources, see "Items to Record When Copying Citations" in chapter four of The Research Process.
Even though we're still in the early stages of finding source material, this article already brings up some possible ways of narrowing our subject area to more manageable dimensions. Here are some possible research questions: "Do archaeologists have the right to excavate artifacts and human remains that living Native Americans regard as sacred?" "Should the religious beliefs of living Native Americans stand in the way of archaeological research?" "If the ethnic origins of early Americans are as diverse as current research suggests, can these early remains even be considered 'ancestral'?" "Will DNA testing ultimately resolve the question of whether these remains are truly ancestral or not?"
We're in the early brainstorming stages of the research process, so we're considering quite a range of concerns, from technical (DNA testing) to ethical (religious beliefs versus science). The key thing is to be thinking constantly about narrowing our range of inquiry to a manageable, well focused research question. (See The Research Process, chapter four: "Defining the Necessary Degree of Doubt.")
If you've been frustrated up to this point because Encyclopaedia Britannica online is not available to you, don't despair. If you are among the millions who subscribe to America Online, you can click "Research & Learn" on AOL's main screen to navigate to some online encyclopedias. American Online offers Compton's Encyclopedia Online, for example, which tells a shortened version of pretty much the same story as the article in Encyclopaedia Britannica online. Under AOL's "Other Encyclopedias" you will find the Encyclopedia Smithsonian with its helpful list of resources under "Native American History and Culture."
If you are not an AOL subscriber, you may still visit the Encyclopedia Smithsonian for free. Encarta Concise Encyclopedia and The Concise Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia are also available for free.
The Smithsonian site is a good launching point for searching the Web, in fact, but if you visit it, come right back! We'll be starting our Web search shortly.
To return to the Britannica for a moment, keep in mind that the print version of the encyclopedia is available in virtually every major library. Thus, if you are at a terminal in a library that does not offer the online version, you may use the printed volumes to carry out these early steps. (If you're planning on doing all your research on-line, incidentally, you should change your plans. Confining yourself to on-line resources will virtually guarantee that you'll miss some of the best source material.)
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