The following search strategy, search tips, search keys, reference and population sources, tools, and critique guide are designed to assist cross-cultural workers, Great Commission Christians, churches, etc. find People Groups.

In other words, the purpose of EXAMINE is to find People Groups no matter where they reside.  Whether they reside near or far from cross-cultural workers, Great Commission Christians, churches, etc.

The following does not claim to be definitive or exhaustive of all that is involved in finding peoples dispersed throughout the world.  Instead, the following is only a first step in finding People Groups.  (A step further than EXAMINE is EXPLORE which provides tips on how to dig deeper and to make objective observations and conduct cultural sensitive interviews when encountering when People Groups).

Search Strategy

It is always good to have a search strategy in place before beginning one’s search of People Groups.  A few personal statements to help formulate your search strategy may include:

  • I want to know about people from a specific country.
  • I want to find people who adhere to a specific religious beliefs (Islam, Buddhism, Animism) and have their origin in a specific country.
  • I have already encountered a specific people group and want to know more about who they are and how many of them there are.
  • I am going on vacation to another country and want to know more about the country and the people who reside there.
  • There seems to be a lot of people from other countries moving to my city and I want to know who they are.
  • Some people from another country have moved next door to me and I want to know some of their cultural distinctives in order to know what to say to them.

There are other statements or questions that you might have to begin your search.  Nevertheless, it is important to have a search strategy in order to narrow down your search. Therefore, the following tips, keys, reference and population sources will further help in narrowing down your search in finding Peoples both near and far.

Search Tips

When using internet database search sites (e.g. Google, Google Advanced, Google Advanced Scholar, Alta Vista, Dogpile, etc.), there are a few tips that one should keep in mind.

The use of the asterisk (*) is a “wildcard” that most databases use to search a root word and variable endings in order to be more efficient.

  • For example, a Google Advanced search of “Vietnamese*” will retrieve “Vietnamese language,” “Vietnamese people,” “Vietnamese culture and history,” “all Vietnamese recipes and cuisine,” etc.

The use of the word “or” in between synonyms or related words broadens search results by including either term in the search results.

  • For example, a Google Advanced search of “Vietnamese food or clothing” retrieves a variety of results concerning the food, clothing, culture of Vietnamese in general.
  • For example, a Google Advanced search of “Vietnamese food or Dallas” retrieves a listing of all of the Vietnamese restaurants within the Dallas, Texas (USA) area.
  • For example, a Google Advanced search of “Thai religious sites or Dallas” results in sites to various Buddhist related sites, which might or might not necessarily mean that those places are of Thai ethnic background.

The use of the word “and” between keywords narrows search results by requiring that both terms must appear in the search results.

  • For example, an Alta Vista search of “Pacific Islanders and Nashville, TN” retrieves sites that speak of the statistical information, articles, and etc of Pacific Islanders in or near Nashville, TN (USA).
  • For example, a Google Advanced search of “Laotian and Los Angeles” provides location, sites, cultural elements, etc of Laotian people near Los Angeles, California (USA).

Use parentheses when you combine “or” and “and” searches. For example:

  • For example, a Google Advanced Scholar search of “(Los Angeles or San Fernando Valley) and Vietnamese*” retrieves classes, restaurants, etc that concern the Vietnamese people near Los Angeles or the San Fernando Valley area.

Search Keys

Beginning any search with the broad terms “Asian,” “Southeast Asian,” or “Pacific Islander” can have a variety of results and in essence these terms have a variety of meanings.  For example, the terms “Asian” and “Pacific Islander” are used by the U.S. Federal government for statistical purposes to refer to people who have their heritage from any of several regions: Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia, Oceania, and the Pacific Islands.  To complicate things further, each one of these regions is sub-divided into different countries and each country is further sub-divided into different people groups.

Therefore, beginning any search with only the broad terms “Asian,” “Southeast Asian,” or “Pacific Islander” is not necessarily the best place to begin.  However, it is one place to begin.

But remember that you should narrow down your search. Therefore, look back at one of our web pages (e.g. Top UUPGs, Research Needs, Cluster Maps) and begin your internet search using the exact “People Group Name” listed and then add one or more parameters of “Southeast Asian,” “Country Name,” “ State Name,” or “City Name”.

So, begin using the above listed search tips and center the search around five parameters concerning who people are: 1) ethnicity (their historical ethnic background such being Chin or Karen of Myanmar or Burma), 2) linguistic (the language they consider their mother tongue or how they presently communicate with others), 3) socio-cultural (festivals they celebrate, food they eat, clothing they wear, etc.), 4) religion (what they believe such as Buddhism, Islam, Animism, religious sites, sacred people, sacred places, sacred objects, relics), 5) geo-political norms (where they reside such as country, city, regional, continent).

The main purpose of using any one or more of the five parameters is to help narrow down the distinctiveness of the people group under consideration, the location they reside, etc.

The following are a few examples using different combinations of the five parameters.

  • Burmese American*
  • Thai and (American* or United States)
  • Filipino* and (England)
  • Vietnamese*
  • Thai* (Davidson County TN and Thai Restaurants)
  • Laotian* and (American* or United States)
  • Polynesian* or Samoan*
  • Micronesian* or Charmorro*
  • Melanesian* or Fijian*
  • Laotian* and (festivals* and Los Angeles)
  • Indonesia* and (Batak and Christian*)
  • Buddhist* and (Central Thai* and language*)
  • Burmese* (Nashville and Religious Site)

Reference and Population Sources

Several reference and population sites exist that would help in discovering people groups residing within the United States. A few include:

For links concerning a specific Southeast Asian country, click here. The links consist of general country information, information concerning the country’s capital, and country specific census and statistical data.

Other reference and population sites help one in understanding general information about a people groups country of origin, their demographic size, other pertinent demographic characteristics of the area in which they reside, their culture, language, etc. The following external sources offer assistance:

Adherents Geo Hive CIA World Factbook
Country Studies UN Data Every Culture

Other good sources for this first step include the four related people group databases (those being: the IMB Global Database, Joshua Project, Ethnologue, and Ethnopedia).


EXAMINE involves getting a lay of the land and the people and seeks to answer serveral pertinent questions. A few include:

  • What kind of Southeast Asian Peoples reside in a specific location)?
  • How many people are there?
  • What do they do for living?
  • What is the climate and environment in which they live?
  • Are any of them evangelical Christians?
  • Etc.

There are many other question that we can list. CLICK HERE . . . to download a template to help in this first step, EXAMINE.

Critique Guide

In addition to databases and web sites listed above, the Internet can be valuable sources of information. In fact, the information is so abundant that one could become overwhelmed with the sites that could result in the search process. Therefore, continue to drill down your searches until you are beginning to retrieve search research that cover your desired outcome.
However, remember to think critically about the authority, accuracy, objectivity, and coverage of the information you find.

CAUTION: Please note that sources will vary concerning specifics of data. (READ MORE . . . about how data sources vary concerning specifics of data.)


So, in this first step, EXAMINE, let’s recall the above steps of finding Southeast Asian Peoples whether they reside near or far from you.

  1. Formulate a Search Strategy using the above Search Tips and Search Keys.
    1. Pick a geographical location you want to conduct the Internet search (country, state, province, city, etc).
    2. Pick a people group from the lists.
    3. Add parameters to the search strategy (See the Search Keys for some ideas concerning parameters).
  2. Browse the retrieved sites recording the various data that is unearthed.
  3. Compare and contrast the data for close consistencies and patterns (e.g. saying the same thing).
  4. Critique and evaluate the retrieved data.

Contact Me and tell me about your findings. I would love to hear what you discovered.  Maybe, you have already found a people group residing near you.

After completing this step of finding a specific People Group, then it is time to begin encountering them in order to verify, modify, and correct the data.

In conclusion, as a result of how internet sources differ, it is critical to go beyond this first step of EXAMINE to the second step of EXPLORE.