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SSI2-139: The Third Wave: Rock After The Beatles: Articles & More

This library guide is intended as a starting point for the course research paper assignment

Scholarship as Conversation

Database Search Tips

When search databases, keep these techniques in mind.

As you search databases, you will likely find popular sources mixed with scholarly ones. Use the limiter option typically located in the left column to limit your search to journals. Below is an example from Academic Search Premier.

Quotation marks search for an exact phrase. Try it!

 country rock music (without quotation marks) 

"country rock rock" (with quotation marks).

Add more words when terms may be ambiguous or you want to narrow your search. Try it!

   "heavy metal" may find the musical genre but also finds metallic chemical elements.

   A better search is "heavy metal" and music or "heavy metal music"

Use OR to find synonyms or related terms. Try it!

   "hip hop" or "rap music"

Use an asterisk * to find variant word endings. Be careful not to shorten your word too much, because this can bring back results that are not relevant.

   politic* finds politics, politcal, politically, etc.  Try it!  "punk rock music" and politic*

Too Few Results?

What if you can't find enough articles? Try these strategies.

  • Is everything spelled correctly?
  • Is there an alternative term that would work?
  • Use broader search terms.
  • If you had multiple search terms, try reducing the number of terms. If you had been connecting terms with AND, try using OR instead.
  • Try using  truncation symbol to give the search flexibility
  • Remove search limiters.
  • Try a different database.Make sure the subject and coverage are appropriate for your search.
    • Use a multidisciplinary database like Research Library.
  • Ask a librarian! 

Too Many Results?

Feeling overwhelmed? Try these strategies.

  • Be more specific with your search terms.
  • Add terms and connect with AND
  • Use quotation marks around phrases.
  • Use subject terms instead of keywords.
  • Use the search limiters.
    • Change the search field to abstract or title.
    • Limit to a specific date range, ex. 2000-2017
  • Change the database. Use a subject specific one.
    • Instead of Academic Search Premier, try Music Periodicals Database.


Practice Finding the Full Text in Primo

Use Primo Advanced Search to find out if the full text for the following article is available:

BECKNELL, M. E., FIRMIN, M. W., HWANG, C.-E., FLEETWOOD, D. M., TATE, K. L., & SCHWAB, G. D. (2008). Effects of Listening to Heavy Metal Music on College Women: A Pilot Study. College Student Journal. 42, 24-35.

Where's The Fulltext?

There are three methods for obtaining the actual articles you wish to read:

Method 1: In some databases, you will be able to link directly to the fulltext article. Look around, as different databases have different interfaces. Look for a link or buttons that says "Check for Full Text" or Download PDF or similar. If given the choice between a PDF or HTML version of the article, always choose the PDF format. This will give you an exact image, including page numbers, of the article as it appears in the paper journal.

Method 2: If a direct link to full text is not available, then look for a link that checks for fulltext in Primo Search to see if the library subscribes to the journal.

Method 3: Use Interlibrary Loan. See box below.

Tipasa: Interlibrary Loan

If your article is not available at Collins Library, you've got another option to getting it. Use Tipasa, our interlibrary loan service.

You'll need to set up an account the first time you use it and log in subsequently.

Once you have an account, either go directly to Tipasa and manually enter the information, or, if you're using a database, look for a shortcut link to automatically fill out the form, like this:

Interlibrary Loan Link

Allow at least a week for the article to come. If your  article is delivered in electronic format, you'll receive an email with a link to follow as soon as it's arrived. If it's delivered in paper, you'll receive it right in your campus mailbox.

Search Primo

Use Primo to find resources on your topic at Collins Library and beyond. Request books held by Summit libraries for delivery to Collins Library within 3-5 business days.

Tip: You can limit your results by format, date, and language.

Suggested Search Terms:

Punk rock music

Progressive Rock

Grunge Music

Alternative rock music

Heavy metal (Music)

Rock music

Folk music -- United States -- History and criticism.

Art and music

Glitter Rock

Country Rock Music

Jazz-Rock Music

New Wave Music

Where Do I Search?

A good starting point for academic work is one or more of the many database available through the library's website. Databases provide access and content to sources that are generally not available on the open web through a general search engine like Google.

Every database contains only certain types and amounts of information. Which ones you choose depends on your purpose.

Multidisciplinary databases cover a wide variety of subject areas and may include a mix of popular and scholarly sources. They are good resources when you begin your research.  Academic Search Premier is an example of a multidisciplinary database.

Subject databases cover a specific discipline and provide the widest range of access to scholarly sources. They are used for in-depth research. International Index to Music Periodicals Full Text, a music database, is an example of a subject database. Which subject databases you search will be determined by who may be writing about your topic. Looking for articles about punk and feminism? In addition to International Index to Music Periodicals Full Text, search the Gender Studies database.

Multidisciplinary Databases

The databases listed below are examples of multidisciplinary finding aids.

Through these databases you will find scholarly articles, popular magazine articles, newspaper articles, and many other types of materials that have been published in periodicals that come from a wide variety of disciplines and perspectives.

Searching these databases is an excellent way to discover which disciplines have studied your topic, and get a sense of the different perspectives they bring to the topic.

Subject Databases

These subject databases may be especially useful for your research projects for this class. 

Related Subject Databases

When exploring your research question, consider which disciplines (humanities, social sciences, science) or subjects will provide information from different perspectives.

Other ways to look at it is to ask "Who might be interested in my research question" or "Which departments might teach this research question"?.

To find more databases, go to the A-Z list.

Google Scholar

Google Scholar searches open access materials as well as items from many publishers, including some of the resources to which Collins Library subscribes. However, Google Scholar only searches a fraction of the published scholarly literature. Use the databases listed on the page as well as others found on the database A-Z list.


  • Use advanced searching to search phrases, authors, publications, and dates.
  • Google Scholar includes many citations that link directly to publishers' web sites of which most will charge a fee for access. However, Collins Library may subscribe to these publications. Search the journal title in Primo.
  • Google Scholar provides forward citation searching, automatically extracting and displaying works cited as separate results.
Google Scholar Search

Forming a Research Question

Research is not passive reporting, it is a search for answers. A research question is what drives your research project; it is something that you want to know about your topic and it is something you want to explore and try to answer in your research project. 

Research typically begins with a topic that has piqued your curiosity.  When you're researching a topic, you typically are interested in questions of who, what, where and when.

As you learn more about your chosen topic, however, you'll discover that scholars may have different approaches and arguments about the topic, and you'll start to ask your own research questions.  Research questions typically begin with why or how.

When you've selected a research question to explore and are ready to make an argument as to how to answer it, you'll come up with a thesis.

Practice: Exploring Databases for Topics and Research Questions

  1. Start with a broad topic related to the course that interests you. Choose two or three key words or phrased that reflect your topic.
  2. Search the broad topic in one multidisciplinary database and one subject database.
  3. Review the titles, abstracts, keywords, and subjects of your search results. What are scholars writing about? Are there tensions, controversies, or underdeveloped topics to explore?
  4. Identify an idea that interests you.
  5. Transform the idea into a research question. Keep in mind that research questions typically begin with why or how.