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AAS 400 African American Popular Culture (FALL 2017): Research Strategies

Basic Research Skills - Develop a Topic

1. Develop a topic, based on your knowledge or skills, or research:

  • A hypothetical research statement;
  • A question;
  • A phrase

1. a. Write what you know about your topic, no matter how brief or scattered - brainstorm ideas!

ex. Feminism and identity of black women writers

Basic Research Skills - Ask Questions!

2. Ask yourself basic questions about your topic.  The questions may start with;

  • How
  • Why
  • Where
  • When
  • What
  • Who

ex.  How are sex and gender roles portrayed by many of hip hop's performers and in their lyrics and media?

Basic Research Skills - Keywords

From those questions, as well as from your readings or knowledge about the topic, develop key words or terms:

Consider: synonymous terms, geographic areas, ethnicities, specific populations, industries, social concepts, etc.

Think broadly and globally

ex. "hip hop", "sex roles", gender, "african american musicians", media, videos, lyrics

Basic Research Skills - What type of Sources do you think you will need?

Use your key words when searching tools such as Library catalogs, databases, or Google or Google Scholar.

5. You may want to get general, background information on your topic if you know very little about it.

        ex. Encyclopedias, books, reviews of the literature, etc.

6. Finding sources in various formats on your topic

      ex. Electronic sources, printed materials, microforms

7. Current scholarship, including peer-reviewed research on your topic.

8. Statistical sources.

Finally, do not hesitate to contact Bonnie Ryan or ASK US.

Google Scholar

If You Must Search Google:

A nice Cheat Sheet for searching Google: