The GSU Library buildings are closed until further notice due to the coronavirus pandemic.
We cannot currently provide access to our print books or other physical collections (i.e., DVDs, microfilm, Special Collections & Archives).
We also cannot provide physical materials (i.e. books) via GIL Express or Interlibrary Loan.
But all of our electronic resources remain open!
And you can still get help!
If you find a journal article OR book chapter that is available at the GSU Library in print only, you have two options:
To fill out an Interlibrary Loan request, start here. You will need your Library ID (on the back of your PantherCard, starts with a letter).
This offer applies only to journal articles and book chapters. You cannot request this service for a full book.
Any database's Advanced Search page will have more sophisticated ways of searching that database.
Look for a way to select or sort by Journal Article or Article (as opposed to "Book" or "Dissertation," etc.).
Look for a way to select or sort by "Peer Reviewed" and/or "Scholarly." Sometimes these options are the same ("Scholarly/Peer Reviewed")
Most databases don't have a way to search by whether or not an article uses empirical research.
These databases cover a broad range of disciplines. Be sure to select the "scholarly/peer reviewed" option where available (usually on the Advanced Search page).
Race Relations Abstracts will also cover a range of disciplines, though you may also want to try more subject-specific databases for more in-depth disciplinary coverage.
These databases focus on specific social-science disciplines. To search more broadly, try the databases in the "General Articles Databases" box.
You can also use the dropdown "Find by Subject" box in the Articles / Databases tab to identify relevant databases by subject.
Unlike most other article databases, PsycINFO's Advanced Search page gives you the option of limiting your search to empirically based articles.
In the dropdown box marked "Methodology," select "EMPIRICAL STUDY."
Brainstorm possible search terms for your topic. You may need to simplify long phrases by breaking them up into separate search terms or smaller phrases.
Consult background information. Specialized encyclopedias, dictionaries and guides are a great time saving tool. Many of these are located in the Reference Collection on Library North 2.
These sources provide topical overviews, summarize basic concepts, and are filled with names and events you can use as keywords in your searching. Many encyclopedia articles also include carefully selected bibliographies that will lead you to additional resources.
ANDs, ORs and NOTs. You will need to combine your search terms with connecting terms (called "Boolean operators"), such as AND and OR. Use AND between terms to narrow a search and OR between terms to broaden a search. See the online video → → → → to learn more about how to use Boolean operators.
Remember that African American studies is interdisciplinary. Check out the research guides for related topics, such as
Be flexible as you settle on a final topic. Do a few preliminary searches in the library catalog or article databases before commiting to a topic. Make sure you can locate primary sources. You may find you need to narrow or broaden your focus.
Cite as you go. Even if you're not sure whether you will use a source, it's much easier to note the citation information up front than to decide you need it later!
Use Boolean operaters (AND, OR, and NOT) to refine searches by combining terms:
In most databases, you can often also use a truncation symbol (often "*" or "!") to make sure you get variations of words:
OR searches and truncation symbols are also great for multiple spellings or punctuations (ie.: hip hop, hiphop, hip-hop)
(Want to learn more about Boolean operators? Click here for a short video!)
Many humanities scholars do not use empirical methods. If you are looking for empirical articles in one of these subject areas, try including keywords like "quantitative," "hypothesis" etc. in these databases.
It can also be helpful to broaden your topic somewhat and try searching using broader terms in the social sciences databases listed to the left. (For example, try searching on a more generalized topic like "African-American art" in, for example, the Sociological Abstracts database, to see if any useful results come up).
Below are the major databases for several arts and humanities fields:
If you’re unsure of which subject database to search in, try Academic Search Complete. This database covers a VERY wide range of topics, so: