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SSI2-121: American Songs

About Scholarly Articles

A scholarly article (sometimes called "academic" or "peer-reviewed") is written by and for experts. It presents a sophisticated, researched argument using both primary and secondary sources and typically includes a bibliography and citations.

Research Strategy: Searching Databases

A good starting point for academic work is one or more of the many databases available through the library's website. Databases provide access and content to sources that are generally not available on the open web through a general search engine like Google.

Every database contains only certain types and amounts of information. Which one you choose depends almost entirely on the context of your research project. There is no single database or web search interface that will work for every research context; instead, you'll need to match your specific research needs to a variety of options.

Multidisciplinary databases cover a wide variety of subject areas and may include a mix of popular and scholarly sources. They are good resources when you begin your research.  Academic Search Premier is an example of a multidisciplinary database.

Subject databases cover a specific discipline and provide the widest range of access to scholarly sources. They are used for in-depth research. Communication & Mass Media Complete is an example of a subject database. Which subject databases you search will be determined by who may be writing about your topic. 

Journal Archival Collections provide  fulltext articles of core scholarly journals in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences.  Each archival journal has a “moving wall,” defined as a time lag between the most current issue published and the content available. Moving walls typically range from three and five years, but publishers may elect walls anywhere from zero to 10 years.

Multidisciplinary Databases

Journal Archival Collections

Database Search Tips

Always use the advanced search interface and some combination of the following techniques to increase the effectiveness of your searches:

Quotation marks = Searches exact phrase, e.g., "Sly & the Family Stone"

Truncation (usually an asterisk*) = Searches for all forms of a word, e.g., music* retrieves music, musician, musical, etc.

AND = searches all words, e.g., "Purple Haze" AND "Jimi Hendrix"

OR = searches for one of the words, e.g., "Nina Simone" OR "Billie Holiday"

Subject Databases

Reviews & Popular Press

Reviews may be written about a performance or recording. They first appear in the popular press.

Interlibrary Loan

If your article is not available at Collins Library, you've got another option to getting it. Use Tipasa, our interlibrary loan service.

Once you have an account, either go directly to Tipasa and manually enter the information, or, if you're using a database, look for a shortcut link to automatically fill out the form.

Allow at least a week for the article to come. If your article is delivered in electronic format, you'll receive an email with a link to follow as soon as it's arrived. If it's delivered in paper, you'll receive it right in your campus mailbox.