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ENGL 234: American Literature & Culture: Hamilton!: Secondary Sources

This guide supports further research into Lin-Manuel Miranda's musical masterpiece, 'Hamilton'.

Best Practices for Identifying Scholarly Secondary Sources

1. Start with the information provided in tertiary sources!

  • Look up specific titles of books in Primo, or journal titles (not article titles) in Primo Journal Search.
  • Use the entries in subject encyclopedias to identify the academic fields interested in the topic; then identify the appropriate subject database(s) to search.
  • Use the vocabulary in the subject encyclopedia entries as search terms in databases.

2. Mine the bibliographies and footnotes in other secondary sources. You may find one secondary source that is not quite right for your project; however, it may cite another scholarly source that would be just right!

3. When searching Primo or a database, pay attention to the subject headings in your results. You can use the vocabulary or click to do a new search for that heading. You'll be surprised at what you discover this way! 

4. Select the best sources, not just the most convenient sources. This may mean requesting a book from SUMMIT and/or an article from interlibrary loan, both of which take about two to five days to arrive.

Database Search Tips

Don't forget to prepare a list of related terms and concepts but BEFORE you begin searching! This will save you time a give you a sense of direction as you search.

When you construct your search, you'll want to connect synonyms with the Boolean operator "OR" and different concepts with the Boolean operator "AND."  You also can use truncation (the asterisk*) to find all forms and spellings of a word.

Always use the advanced search interface and some combination of the following techniques to increase the effectiveness of your searches:

Search Technique   What It Does
quotation marks Searches for exact phrase
Truncation (usually an *) Searches for all forms of a word
Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) Lets you broaden or narrow your search
Database thesaurus or index             Allows you to pinpoint the exact indexing terms the database uses

 

Here are some examples in action:
Search Example #1

Search Example #2

Reading a Citation

When reading a citation, break it down into parts. Check out the color-coded example below:

Hamilton, Caroline V. "The Erotic Charisma Of Alexander Hamilton." Journal Of American Studies, vol. 45, no.1, 2011, pp. 1-19. 

Author. Article TitleJournal TitleVolume, Issue, Year of Publication, page numbers

Tip: The most common pitfall of reading citations is mixing up the article and journal titles. Remember when searching Primo to find out if we have access to an article: it will be most efficient to search for the journal title.

Tipasa: Interlibrary Loan

Tipasa logo

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

Tipasa is linked to your library account so you'll need to log in to use it.

Once you are logged in, 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.

Recommended Subject Databases

There are several databases from which to choose when you are seeking scholarly work. For this course, most of you will want to start your search with MLAIB (literature and linguistics) or America: History & Life (U.S. and Canadian history).  Always make sure that you've selected the most appropriate database to search!

Additional Subject Databases

Multidisciplinary Databases

The databases listed below are examples of multidisciplinary finding aids.

Note: If you need discipline-specific resources, it is better to use the recommended subject databases under the "articles" tab in the library subject guides

Need Help?

This subject guide highlights only a small portion of the many resources available to you. If you're not finding what you need, don't hesitate to contact Katy!

Katy Curtis, Humanities Librarian
email: kcurtis@pugetsound.edu
Schedule an appointment
tel: (253) 879-3672
office: Collins Library 140

If you can't find Katy, remember there are several ways to get help with your research

For immediate assistance, connect to our 24/7 Ask a Librarian chat service.