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*Africana Studies: Secondary Sources: Articles

Search Tip for Africana Studies

To limit your searches to topics focusing specifically on African-Americans, African-American culture, etc., use a database's Advanced Search option. Use the search boxes for keywords/search terms based on your topic. In one of the boxes, include a search (called a "search string") like this (in red box):

undefined

Why?

  • The asterisk (*) is a "wild card." It means you're searching for that term and any other terms with that term as a stem. So, "black*" will turn up both "Black" and "Blacks," and "negr" will turn up "negro" or "negroes" or négritude)
  • Depending on their time period and the topics covered, an article, a book, or a database may use "Black" and "African-American" interchangeably. Or not: in the library's online book catalog, "Black" refers to people of African origin but not necessarily identifying as Americans. 
  • If you are working on a historical topic, older articles may use the term "negro" or "negroes" -- problematic terms that should not be used in conversation today but may be useful for searching in older journals or historical periodicals. The Journal of African American History changed its name from Journal of Negro History in 2002. Also, if you are searching in historical newspaper databases like the New York Times or the Atlanta Daily World, for example, you'll need to use the words that would have been used at the time, both for searching headlines and for searching full-text. Again, be mindful of the problematic nature of these terms -- history can be very ugly.

The OR between terms means that you are searching for results including EITHER of the terms in that list. (If you used AND instead of OR in that search string, you would only turn up results that used ALL THREE of those terms, which will be a much smaller results list).

A database's Advanced Search option will also let you limit your search in a number of ways, including:

  • Limit by year of publication (helpful if you need the most current scholarship/literature)
  • Limit to scholarly/peer-reviewed articles (this is often just a box you can check)
  • Limit by language (if you read a particular language or languages, you can select those; you can also limit your search to just items in English)

For example, here are some options that often appear in Advanced Search:

Different subject databases may have additional options for limiting your search as well. Explore the options!

Boolean Searching: AND, OR, NOT

   to search names as a phrase | ex: "walter cronkite"


   as a wild card | ex: wom*n

AND between words to NARROW results | ex: cat AND dog

OR between words to EXPAND results | ex: cat OR kitten

Don't Check This Box!!!

When using Advanced Search in a database, DO NOT CHECK the "Full Text" box!! Sounds backwards, I know, but here's why:

  • Sometimes a database will give you only the citation for a particular article and not the full text.
  • But! We have lots of databases, and the article that you need may be available in a different database.
  • If you find an article that you want, and it looks like we don't have full text, click the blue "Find It @ GSU" button
  • Clicking  will open a window with either:

    • a link (or links) to the article you need, from one or more of our other databases OR

    • if the article is not available, you will see an option to request the article from another library using the Interlibrary Loan service (it's free!). Follow the prompts to place an ILL request for the article. 

  • If you check the "Full Text" box in a database, you're actually saying that you only want articles which that particular database has available in "full text." You're shutting off that "Find It @ GSU" option. Don't do that!

Let help you. Don't check the "Full Text" box. 

What Does "Peer-Reviewed" Mean?

"Peer reviewed" means that an article has been reviewed by other scholars in the field -- the author's "peers" -- before being approved for publication. It is meant to ensure the integrity of the scholarship. 

Not everything that is published in a journal is peer-reviewed. Book reviews and editorials are typically not peer-reviewed. Magazine articles and newspaper articles also are not peer-reviewed. (There may be cases where these kinds of publications are still relevant to your research! Ask your professor if you are unsure).

Most article databases have an Advanced Search option that will let you limit your search to peer-reviewed articles. 

Looking for Empirical Articles?

Looking for articles based on empirical research? Check out this research guide to get started.

Interdisciplinary Article Databases

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.

Subject-Specific Article Databases

3 Ways to Get to Articles Databases

There are three ways that you can get to the library's databases,
from off-campus (as well as from on-campus):

  1. Use the Databases by Subject dropdown to find databases for a particular subject area
  2. Use the Databases by Name links if you know the name of the database you're looking for (i.e., Worldwide Political Science Abstracts is under "W" for "Worldwide")
  3. Use this research guide (or any of our other research guides!)

If you are off campus, when you click the name of a database, you will be asked for your Campus ID and password. After that, you'll have full access to the database*. But in order to get that access, the database has to identify you as GSU faculty/student/staff.

*There are a very few databases that you can't access this way (looking at you, Ancestry Library Edition) and are only usable in the actual library building). These are clearly marked in the database listings as ON CAMPUS USE ONLY.

Searching the GSU Library for Periodical Titles (Journals, Magazines, Newspapers)

To see if the GSU Library provides access to a particular periodical (newspaper, magazine, or journal), follow these steps:

  • From the library's homepage, select "Journals" from the "Discover" dropdown menu
  • Type in the periodical title (see below)

screenshot of Discover dropdown menu with "Journals" selected

This search will give you more information about our holdings of this journal/magazine/newspaper.

This search does NOT take you directly to individual articles in that periodical, but if a "Full Text Online" result appears, you can click there to search in the journal.