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AS 200: Intro to American Studies

Page history last edited by msellar@marymountpv.edu 8 years, 9 months ago

Library Guide


Introduction to American Studies (AS 200)

This guide suggests some information tools that you can use in researching your American Studies' research topics.


Research Tips!

  • Allow yourself 2-3 weeks to research the topic; don't underestimate the time it takes to focus your question, and to sift and read through your sources
  • Note alternative search terms for your topic. For example, one could search for "Jazz", but also for the broader topic in which it could be classified, e.g. "African-American music", or even some related topic such as "New Orleans history" -- the point is: there are many ways to get at your topic!
  • Having trouble? Don't give up -- ask a librarian who will show you ways to find better results



(1) Find Facts, Basic Histories


Where? Go to the Library's home page.  Look under Research > Find Articles.


Credo Reference

Search specialized subject encyclopedias to get concise facts, basic histories of your topic.

A search on "Jazz" brings me discussion of its history, music, geographic spread, biographies of key people, etc:



American National Biography

Search for biographies on over 18,000 men and women of significance whose lives have shaped the nation.




(2) Find In-Depth, Comprehensive Sources


Books are thorough, detailed, and in-depth. They are excellent sources to use for learning about your topic.


Find Books in Marymount Library

Search by the name of the country or region. For example, "Jazz", "African-American music, "New Orleans" etc. and then click the subject or keyword button to browse for book titles.




Find Books in Other Libraries


(1) Search the collections of libraries in your community and thousands more around the world.

(2) If the Marymount does not have the book, contact the library and we'll get it for you (at no cost) within 3-10 days.





(3) Find Newspapers, Magazines, Journal Articles, and Videos


Once you have done some basic reading about your country and established some of the facts, you can use newspapers, magazines, and journal articles, as well as books, to enrich your research and find more detailed discussions.


Through the Library

The Library pays for access to specialized search engines where you can find online magazine and journal articles on topics of interest to scholars. Some articles are fully available. Other times you might only find a summary of the article with information about where and when it was published. In this case, we may have access somewhere else in the library (ask a librarian!). If not, we can usually get a copy from another library.


Where? Go to the Library's home page.  Look under Research > Find Articles.


Academic Search Premier

Search for articles from nearly 4,700 journals and magazines in all subject areas.

Be sure to click the "full text" check box on the search home page.


ProQuest Research Library

Search for articles from over 5,000 magazines and journals in all subject areas.

Be sure to click the "full text" check box on the search home page.


 Los Angeles Times Historical

Search historical newspaper (1881-1986) articles from the LA Times. Useful for seeing how people were talking about your topic at different events in time.


Newspaper Source

Search 30 national U.S. newspapers, 200 regional U.S. newspapers, as well as some international sources. Included are also television and radio news transcripts from various media outlets.


American History in Video

Search for videos on American history. More than 5,000 videos and 2,000 hours of film available.

Analyze historical events over time, through commercial and governmental newsreels, archival footage, public affairs footage, and documentaries.


Films on Demand

Search more than 8,000 documentary films across all subject areas.




(4) Find (Good) Websites


Using Advanced Google 

Use the advanced search to focus in on better, more relevant results. For example, zoom in on information published from sites that end in .gov (US government), .edu (American colleges), or .org (associations or other non-commercial organizations.


Example: Search for .edu web sites that discuss the influence of Jazz in the United States. To access advanced Google, click on





(5) Cite Your Sources

Marymount Library Citation Guides: available for MLA and APA citation styles. For help citing sources, ask a librarian.  




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