While you might still want to search Google when you begin your research, you should quickly move into the academic databases described here. Unlike Google, these databases:
The downside is that the strategies you found successful in searching Google will not work so well in these databases. These are much more sophisticated tools! You will need to learn how to use them effectively. But, the little time it will take you to learn will pay off very quickly in time saved searching more efficiently. We have a slideshow as well as a short video you should view that will introduce you to a strategy to use in searching these databases. It demonstrates this strategy using a database called OMNIFILE, which is included here. But, the strategy applies to many library databases. Take a look at it before you dive into these databases. Databases listed here that are organized very differently from OMNIFILE have additional tips and strategies included in their descriptions below, so read them carefully, too.
Click HERE to view the short video.
Click HERE to view that Omnifile slideshow.
Ethnic Studies is such an interdisciplinary field that you need to really think about the specific topic you are researching carefully to decide the best database to use. Read the descriptions here carefully.
For current issues type information and to search the ethnic PRESS (mostly magazines whose audience is people in a specific ethnic group), Ethnic Newswatch is the way to go! Detailed information about searching it is in the column to the right here.
Another database that will have something for almost every research topic in ethnic studies is Proquest Social Sciences Premium Collection, also featured in the column to the right. Like Ethnic Studies itself, it is interdisciplinary.
If you are just beginning to explore your topic, a good database to explore in is Omnifile, described above.
If your research has a historical angle or cultural life of America angle, you should be sure to explore America: History & Life , described below.
Speaking of American, how about the political angle? If your topic is related at all to politics, you should be sure to search Political Science Complete.
Many, many aspects of ethnic studies research are SOCIOLOGICAL ("... the science of society, social institutions, and social relationships..." according to www.merrian-webster.com/dictionary) in nature or perspective. There is a huge sociology database called, suprisingly, Sociological Abstracts.
And, if your topic has to do with women in particular, you need to search Women's Studies International.
If you researching an author or literature, then you will need to tackle the MLA Bibliography.
This is a real treasure trove of historical information. And, remember, history began yesterday. If you've searched an EBSCO database before, like OmniFile, it will look familiar. However, it has a few features that are unique and potentially very useful! Look in the area below the search boxes for your options.
For one, if you are interested in a specific era or time period, you can enter that in the HISTORICAL PERIOD boxes. If I were interested in events from the 1960s, for example, I would do this:
You also want to choose English from the pulldown Language menu. Yes! There are articles in Bulgarian about American history!
The other options are fairly obvious, like date of publication and document type. This is overwhelmingly journal articles, though, so the latter is not that important.
And, like searching any library database, keep your searches simple. Think of each search box as representing a single idea in research topic. If different words could represent one idea, use OR in the box for that idea (mine* or mining; labor or work*). And, don't forget the * to pick up major variations in word endings!
Another issue that arises often is geography. If one of your main ideas is geographical, what words do you pFor example, what are the "western states"?
Ethnic Newswatch is, despite the newsy title, a TRULY excellent source of scholarly articles in Ethnic Studies and definitely where you want to BEGIN your research in the field. The few, brief tips below will help you get the most out of your searching:
TIP ONE: You ARE an ADVANCED searcher. So, if you open in the Basic search mode, click the Advanced Search hotlink straightaway!
TIP TWO: Use those search boxes and the Boolean AND to describe your topic. Stick to really important, unambiguous keywords. Separate synonyms/alternatives by using the OR or actually typing an OR. Put " " around phrases. Use the asterisk* to pick up variations on words ... even for a singular/plural. See the example below:
TIP ONE: Use those search boxes and the Boolean AND to describe your topic. Stick to really important, unambiguous keywords. Separate synonyms/alternatives by using the OR or actually typing an OR. Put " " around phrases. Use the asterisk* to pick up variations on words ... even for a singular/plural. See the example below: