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- Make sure the topic meets the requirements of the paper assignment. Note the following:
- Scope of paper focused
- Format - double spaced, font size no larger than 12; may be a multi-media project
- Length - 5-7 pages
- Number and Types of Sources - 5-7 authored sources, general, popular online sources are usually not acceptable
- Citation Style -your choice
- Choose a topic that interests you.
- Composer, performer, musical group, critic, musical entrepreneur
- historical moment
- musical tradition
- controversial topic
Start with Subject Encyclopedias
Subject encyclopedias are good starting points for your paper. They can be used in the following ways:
- Provide a broad overview of a topic that is more in-depth than in general encyclopedias
- Discuss how scholars have approached, explored, and debated the topic over time
- Identify words, phrases, names, dates, and events that can be used as keywords when searching a database
- List bibliographies in articles to find other sources (both primary and secondary)
- Provide cross-references to find related topics
Other starting points:
- Textbooks, music surveys
- Surveys, Textbooks, edited books or anthologies can provide a broad viewpoint.
- Articles, typically found through subject or multidisciplinary databases, can be helpful in understanding the scholarly conversation about the topic.
Oxford Music Online
A great first step in the research process. Includes Grove Music Online, The Oxford Companion to Music, The Oxford Dictionary of Music, and the Encyclopedia of Popular Music. Note: Limit of 3 simultaneous users.
More Subject Encyclopedias
African American Studies Center (Oxford)
A collection of full text materials focusing on the lives and events which have shaped African and African American history and culture. Includes biographies, images, primary source documents with commentaries, maps, tables and charts, and thematic timelines.
Access limited to 3 simultaneous users.
Provides full text online access to Gale electronic books, including encyclopedias and other reference resources.
Garland Encyclopedia of World Music
An online resource devoted to music research of all the world's peoples. Includes essays, images, and hundreds of audio examples.
Liaison Librarian Information
Other Ways of Getting Help
At Collins Library, your questions are always welcome! Here are some ways you can continue to develop your research skills:
Getting Help @ Collins Library
Outlines the numerous ways you can ask for and receive help, whether in person, online, or via email or chat.
Online tutorials in basic research concepts and academic integrity.
Online Library Guides
Index of and links to all library online guides, organized by subject.
Peer Research Advisor
Our peer research advisor helps first year students find resources for research paper in the Seminars in Scholarly Inquiry and other classes.She can also help with evaluating sources and citation styles.