Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Ethnic Studies Research

Recommendations of sources for this field.

Ethnic Studies Specialized Databases

Key Journals to Consult

While there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of periodicals that have articles relevant to research on African Americans, the ones listed here are of great importance to the field, and every student should get to know them.

Listing here includes at least one database you can use to find articles in that journal. To focus your search to that particular journal, you will need to search in an ADVANCED mode and use one search box to specify you wish to search that journal by entering the journal title in the box and selecting the proper FIELD, using the adjacent pulldown menu. That field could be called: Journal Name, Source, Journal, Publication Title.

Clicking on a specific title will take you to where you can search the largest number of years of that title specifically.

Recommended Think Tank to Consult

Alternatives and Augmentations to Wikipedia

Below are the research encyclopedias that all students doing research on African Americans should know about. You should always begin your research in them. Some are online (notice the notation) and some are in the library, but all are excellent sources.

Which Database Should You Use?

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 and decide which database you wish to search.

African-American studies has a unique database, Black Studies Center. It is really several databases that can be searched simultaneously or individually:

  • Schomburg Studies on the Black Experience includes interdisciplinary essays from prominent scholars in the field.
  • International Index to Black Periodicals indexes hundreds of journals in the field, popular as well as scholarly, including many fulltext articles. This is particularly useful for its HISTORICAL coverage.
  • Chicago Defender newspaper from 1910-1975 and Daily Defender from 1956-1975.
  • Black Literature Index is a unique historical tool for fiction, poetry and literary reviews published in 110 black periodicals and newspapers between 1827-1940. It is NOT fulltext, so you will need to take extra steps to actually get the fulltext -- good time to meet a librarian!

Click the link below to print a short guide to searching this unique database.


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!

If you are just beginning to explore your topic, a good database to explore in is Omnifile.

If your research has a historical angle or cultural life of America angle, you should be sure to explore America: History & Life.

Many, many aspects of ethnic studies research are SOCIOLOGICAL ("... the science of society, social institutions, and social relationships..." according to 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.

Does your research have anything to do with Art? Then you will need Art Index and maybe Artbibliographies Modern.