AMER STD 191: American Studies Senior Thesis

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About this Guide

Research guide for American Studies 191, Instructor: Palmer

Quick Links

1.  Read an introduction to the campus libraries for undergraduates.

2.  Set up your computer for off campus access to library databases.

3.  Need a map of the campus libraries?

4.  Each library has its own hours.  Click on the calendar for each library to view a month at a time.

5.  Information about Citing Your Sources and links to guides for frequently used  citation styles here.

 

Library Prize

The UCB Library sponsors the Library Prize for Undergraduate Research.  Win $1000 (upper division students) or $750 (lower division students) for your research paper!

This guide has been archived

Please note: this course guide was created during a previous semester, and is no longer being actively maintained. For a list of current course guides, please see http://lib.berkeley.edu/alacarte/course-guides.

Brainstorming Academic Disciplines

Example:

Topic:  Image of African American women in advertising

potentially relevant disciplines:

African American Studies
Gender and Women's Studies
Ethnic Studies
Media Studies
Psychology
Sociology
Business
etc.

 

Keywords - Brainstorming

Developing appropriate keywords/search terms is an essential part of research.  First, break your topic into components.  Develop a list of synonyms and alternative terminology for each component.  Think about broader and narrower concepts and word variants.  What words can you exclude?

Topic: Image of African American Women in Advertising

image(s) or stereotyp(es)(ing) or depict(ion) or portray(al)...

african american(s) or black(s) or minorit(y)(ies)

women or gender

advertis(e)(ing) or media

Remember to be creative with your terminology!  More examples:

people of color and environmental activism*
environmental justice
environmental justice and hazardous waste*
environmental equity
environmental discrimination
environmental racism
environmental injustice

Article Databases

Search an article database to find citations (title, author, title of journal, date, page numbers) for articles on a particular topic.  The Library gives you access to over 200 article databases covering different disciplines.

1.  Think about which academic disciplines might write about your topic.  Examples:  literature, film, anthropology, history...

2.  Find the appropriate article database by subject (academic discipline or department).  Look for "Recommended" databases.

Library home > Articles > Article Databases by Subject

Sample Searches

Sample searches in CSA Illumina Social Science databases:

Library home > Articles > Article Databases by Subject > Sociology > Sociology Abstracts:  click on the CSA Illumina Social Sciences link to search multiple social science databases

1.  Example of a search using multiple terms, phrase searching, alternative terms, truncation,etc

redempt*  (keywords)
sport* (keywords)

scandal* (keywords)
sport*  (keywords)
elite*  or professional* (keywords)

keywords = searches most important parts of the record

* = truncation symbol or wildcard;  child* = child, childs, children, childish, childhood

2.  use an official subject term ("descriptor")

 women of color or minorit* or ethnic* (keywords)
work* (keywords)

mother*  (keywords)

women of color or minorit* or ethnic* (keywords)
work* (de)

mother*  (de)

3.  broaden your search by taking out a term

prison* or jail* or incarcerat* (keywords)
condom*  (keywords)
sex education (keywords)

prison* or jail* or incarcerat* (descriptor)
condom*  (keywords)
  

4.  look through your search results for additional useful terms

cannabis or marijuana (keywords)
decriminalization (keywords)

note other potential search terms such as:  policy  legalization  marijuana laws   etc.

5.  to find more results, especially when the topic is too new for academic journal articles:  broaden your terms

yankee stadium (keywords)

broaden your terms:

stadium* or arena* (keywords)
impact (keywords)
communit* (keywords)

take out terms that just retrieve too many items

black* or african american*  (keywords)
masculin* or men or male* (keywords)
medical* (keywords)

black* or african american*  (keywords)
masculin* (keywords)
medical* (keywords)

Sample Searches in Academic Search Complete (interdisciplinary)

mexican* or latino* (select a field-optional)
immigra* (select a field - optional)
diet* or nutrition* (select a field - optional)


Search Results

UC-eLinks - Find Article Text/Location

Once you've searched a database to find articles, you may need to use UC-eLinks orange logo to link to a PDF or html file if the full text is not immediately available. Each database is a bit different, but a good rule of thumb is this: when you see the Uc-eLinks icon click on it to view your article access options, which can range from full text to a call number to an Interlibrary Loan request:

UC e-Links image

For more information, here's a tutorial on using UC-eLinks.

Citing Your Sources

The UCB Library Guide to Citing Your Sources discusses why you should cite your sources and links to campus resources about plagiarism.  It also includes links to guides for frequently used citation styles.  Also:

How to Avoid Plagiarism

In order to avoid plagiarism, you must give credit when

Recommendations

 

This content is part of the Understanding Plagiarism tutorial created by the Indiana University School of Education.

Citation Management Tools

Citation management tools help you manage your research, collect and cite sources, organize and store your PDFs, and create bibliographies in a variety of citation styles.  Each one has its strengths and weaknesses, but all are easier than doing it by hand!

  1. Zotero: A free plug-in for the Firefox browser: keeps copies of what you find on the web, permits tagging, notation, full text searching of your library of resources, works with Word, and has a free web backup service. Zotero is also available as a stand-alone application that syncs with Chrome and Safari, or as a bookmarklet for mobile browsers.
  2. RefWorks - web-based and free for UC Berkeley users. It allows you to create your own database by importing references and using them for footnotes and bibliographies, then works with Word to help you format references and a bibliography for your paper. Use the RefWorks New User Form to sign up.
  3. EndNote: Desktop software for managing your references and formatting bibliographies. You can purchase EndNote from the Cal Student Store

Tip: After creating a bibliography with a citation management tool, it's always good to double check the formatting; sometimes the software doesn't get it quite right.

Zotero Tips

If you've never used Zotero before, use the QuickStart Guide to get started.

Change your preferences if you want  Zotero to

To use Zotero to find specific articles in our library's databases, set up the Open URL resolver with this link: http://ucelinks.cdlib.org:8888/sfx_local? 

An in-depth discussion of the relative virtues of Endnote and Zotero,

 

Why Can't I Just Use Google?

If you want to use Google for research, use Google Books or Google Scholar.

Use the Advanced Search for more searching options.

Remember that Google Books search results do not necessarily include the full text of the book; some include no text at all, some include a limited preview (only some pages of the book).

When you use Google Scholar, make sure to update your Scholar Preferences (see below) so you'll be able to use UC e-links to find the UC Berkeley library locations/online availability of the articles.

Step 1: If you haven't already done this, set up your proxy server access by following the directions at http://proxy.lib.berkeley.edu/. When you get to a point where you are accessing resources that the Library pays for, you will be prompted for your CalNet ID and password. For more help see: http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/doemoff/tutorials/proxy.html

Step 2: Change your “Scholar Preferences.” Access these by clicking on the small icon in the upper right of the screen.

Step 3: In search box next to "Library Links," type in University of California Berkeley and click on “Find Library”

Step 4: Check all the boxes next to "University of California Berkeley"

Step 5: Click on "Save Preferences" at bottom of page

And When You Find It...Evaluate It!

You already know that you should evaluate anything you find on the Internet.  Here are some reminders of what to look for.

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Research Advisory Service

Research Advisory Service for Cal Undergraduates

Book a 30-minute appointment with a librarian who will help refine and focus research inquiries, identify useful online and print sources, and develop search strategies for humanities and social sciences topics (examples of research topics).

Schedule, view, edit or cancel your appointment online (CalNetID required)

This service is for Cal undergraduates only. Graduate students and faculty should contact the library liaison to their department or program for specialized reference consultations.

Getting Help

Other ways to get help:  in person, by e-mail, using specialized chat services

And of course:  e-mail Corliss or email Theresa (Bancroft Library)

Corliss Wants Your Feedback!

Please take just a second to give me some feedback on the workshop/course page.  Anonymously, of course.  Future generations of students will thank you!

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