SCANDIN R5B: Immigrant Experience

How to use this tab

This course guide is created as a teaching tool and designed to be read as a unit. Doing so will provide the context for selecting the "right" resource and the techniques for manipulating it -- knowledge and skills that will support immediate and future research needs.

The notes in this pulling it together tab contain suggestions about how to proceed with research based on your assignment. These suggestions build upon, and presume familiarity with, the general concepts addressed in the other tabbed sections of this course guide.

A suggested research trajectory

  1. Review information in Choosing a Resource tabMake sure you understand how the identified resources differ in the types of information and materials they provide.

  2. Review tips for finding historical background or literary analysis, if you are seeking those kinds of materials.

  3. Review the list of suggested resources, in this tab

  4. Select a resource whose content matches the kind of materials you are seeking to find and whose disciplinary focus maps to your topic (i.e. publications in that field are likely to be writing about your topic).

    Or... choose a General (interdisciplinary) database

  5. Search it to see what's been written about your topic -- or what issues others are writing about in regards to a topic that might help you refine your focus

  6. Examine promising results (remember to note the information you'll need if you end up citing them)

Suggested resources

Use OskiCat

  • to find books on your topic
  • to find periodicals you've identified as having articles on your topic

Use article databases

  • to identify article and essay content on your topic
  • to identify research focused on an aspect of a topic
  • to identify current research

     ... subject specific ones

  • for publications from a specific discipline
    • history, literature, gender & women's studies, etc.

  • America: History and life (US, Canada) and Historical Abstracts (rest of the world)
    are two recommended databases for historical research
    • can limit to results that focus on a time period
    • can refine search to specific types of publications
    • can limit by language
    • use UC-eLinks to locate result text

  • MLA is a recommended database for literary criticism
    • can limit by type of publication
    • can limit by language
    • use UC-eLinks to locate result text

     ... general (interdisciplinary) ones

  • Academic Search Complete
    • popular and scholarly content (good for popular culture topics, magazine/news content in addition to academic journals)
    • some results available online
    • has UC-eLinks feature

  • Google Scholar
    • strength is scholarly journal literature
    • use UC-eLinks to get full text

      however... you must enable UC-eLinks in Google Scholar
      [via Settings gear > Library links]

  • JSTOR
    • scholarly journals
    • full text resource
    • use advanced search (to narrow to specific discipline, and set limits)

Other resources: subject encyclopedias

  • to get background on a topic and/or biographical information on a person
  • Link path = Library homepage > Electronic Resources > By Subject link > your subject > use left sidebar to link to types of resources for that subject.

    For literature, try the following encyclopedia:
    Literature Resource Center
    • for biographical data, use Author Search
      (in tabbed results see biographies)
    • criticism included for some authors (but content is limited)

Searching a database

  • defining a topic (narrowing & broadening a search)

  • database syntax & use tips for library databases
    • additionally, it may help to limit searches by language

  • tips for catalog searching

    • to find materials about a topic...

      • search 2 or 3 terms representing key concepts of your focus
      • there isn't a search that finds everything: try different combinations of terms, synonyms, related terms
      • look at the records of relevant results -- do their subjects suggest other search terms

        important:  subject terms are defined by the Library of Congress, and not always what you would expect. Examine relevant results to discover how your topic, time period, people, etc., is defined. Use that terminology to search for other materials on that subject.  

      • for literary analysis, try adding the term criticism to your other search terms (to find materials about an author or literary movement -- see example, below)
      • try adding terms for specific types of materials, encyclopedias, biographies, to your search terms (to locate those types of resources -- see example, below)

        sample keyword searches...

        norwegian american
        norwegian and united states
        norwegian* immigra*
        norwegian* america* and wom*
        norwegian american and social conditions
        lutheran and united states and 19th century
        norwegian* america* and literature
        norwegian* america* and criticism
        norwegian* america* and biograph*

    • author search (for a person) - finds books by, interviews with, correspondence...
      [use specified syntax last name, first name]
    • limit by material type - change default search of Entire Collection
      to seach by type -- i.e. Journals/Magazines/Newspapers, Films/Videos...
    • search too broad ? Use Modify button to add limits.
Read more

Finding historical background

  • Not already knowldegeable about the time period, social or cultural background? Consider starting with an encyclopedia entry.

  • Journal articles tend to focus on specific aspects of a specific topic. If you are looking for a broad overview of a historical time or social situation, books might be the ticket:

    • their table of contents and indexes will help you isolate the parts of interest
    • OskiCat will help you locate books at UCB
    • some article databases also contain results for books/book chapters in addition to articles in their subject area

Finding literary analysis

  • Using an appropriate article database is a must for identifying articles or chapters on a topic:

    • Very specific searches (specific focus about a specific character in a specific work) may not net the desired results. It's worth trying for a direct bullseye, but you may need to adjust your aim.

    • Search for analysis about the book, play, etc., being written about.  You'll see what others are focusing on.  You may find they use other terms for your focus, that can be searched to increase your result pool.

    • Search for analysis about the author of the book, play, etc., being written about.  Your focus may be a thematic/technical element that shows up repeatedly in their work.  Materials that focus on authorial concerns may include information about your work, or be relevant to your analysis of it.

  • If the overall goal is to find analysis of an author's ideas and influence, and he/she is a philosopher, theologian, psychologist, visual artist, etc. -- you may also wish to explore recommended databases for associated subject areas.

  • In addition to looking for articles, if books have been written about your author/work, examining the table of contents and indexes of promising titles may help isolate chapters of relevance.

  • When using the library catalog, try adding the term criticism to searches for materials about an author, literary movement, or time period (see OskiCat search tips, in this tab, for examples).
Last Update: December 21, 2012 10:21