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Music 493: Spirituals

An Example of a Research Process

This is an example of the process by which I decided to research Run Little Chillun. As you'll notice, it wasn't a direct point A to point B journey. At the very bottom of the page is a concept map that more accurately reflects the process.

Concept maps or mind maps are a useful way to visualize your thinking. You can account for things you know and things you want to know; and represent in a graphical way connections between ideas.


  1. Background reading on the topic:  Consulted some of the subject encyclopedias and then did a broad internet search, coming upon the Library of Congress' article on Spirituals.
  2. The article mentioned spirituals being sung in other countries like Russia and China.
  3. Consulted article databases and searched for articles on spirituals and Japan, found an article on Elmer Keeton that mentioned musical theatre and spirituals. Since my background is theatre, I was immediately interested in that topic.
  4. One of the musicals listed was Hall Johnson's Run Little Chillun.
  5. Searched Primo for a copy of the musical and found an e-copy of the play in the collection, Lost Plays of the Harlem Renaissance.


  1. Library of Congress article on African American Spirituals
  2. Music Periodicals Database
  3. Miller, Leta E. "ELMER KEETON AND HIS BAY AREA NEGRO CHORUS: CREATING AN ARTISTIC IDENTITY IN DEPRESSION-ERA SAN FRANCISCO." Black Music Research Journal 30, no. 2 (Fall, 2010): 303-336. 
  4. Primo
  5. Hamalian, Leo, and Hatch, James V., eds. Lost Plays of the Harlem Renaissance, 1920-1940. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1996. Accessed October 4, 2019. ProQuest Ebook Central.

Mind Map of Project