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Research in the humanities differs in a number of important ways from standard social science or natural science research.
Central Focus of Research: The central focus of research is on the analysis of textual, archival, and historical-cultural materials and events, people and organizations, rather than design and implementation of a research study.
Research Article Structure: The format of a social science research article is usually quite clear, including sections on Literature Review, Methods, Data, and Interpretation. In humanities scholarship, the format is much less important. Key factors include in-depth interaction with primary and secondary source materials - often taking place both in the text and footnotes.
Primary and Secondary Sources: In humanities, both books and journal articles are key formats for secondary sources. Primary sources consist of a wide range of historical-cultural materials created by the key subjects of the research study, or which are contemporary evidence related to the key subjects.
Comprehensive Research Databases: Humanities databases usually include these multiple secondary source formats. In more general periodical databases, such as Academic Search Complete, limiting searches to "academic journals" is a good starting point for finding humanities research articles.
Is this a Research Article?: Length of articles (10+ pages is a good indicator) and amount and complexity of footnotes/endnotes are good signs of whether or not a source is a good humanities research source. Article and books should include regular use of both primary and secondary source material throughout.
Value of Older Materials: Studies typically retain their value more, over time, than social science studies. As a rule of thumb, if a book or research article was published in the last 25 years or so, it may well still have value as a research source. Of course, currency is also important, so, whenever possible, earlier studies need to be supplemented by more recent ones.
Academic Search Ultimate is our largest single comprehensive database. It includes records for some 40 million items, with 25+ million immediately available in full-text. It covers all subject areas and includes newspapers and other news sources, general and specialized magazines, and scholarly journals. It is an excellent starting place for most undergraduate research.
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Contents indexed in Ship Library Discovery Search.
JSTOR is our most comprehensive interdisciplinary archive of scholarly journal articles. It includes the full-run of some 4,000 journals, from the journal's first issue up until the most recent 3-5 years (typically). Covers a wide variety of subjects, including the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and mathematics, as well as extensive area studies collections and applied fields, such as business and criminal justice.
Covers literature and criticism, history, the visual and performing arts, cultural studies, education, political science, gender studies, etc. Contains current full text scholarly journals which cover these fields and a significant collection of recent scholarly books.
The world's largest book database, WorldCat serves as a shared library catalog for 25,000+ libraries worldwide. Contains links to books, periodical titles, videos, internet resources, and other cataloged resources in libraries. It also contains selected collections of periodical articles. Access from on campus or off campus, with no ID required.
Oxford Art Online is a comprehensive encyclopedic source for art information. It includes access to the essential Grove Dictionary of Art, Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, and other sources. With its extensive articles, images, and bibliographies, it serves as the most important starting point for art research.
Art & Architecture Source covers a broad range of related subjects, from fine, decorative and commercial art, to various areas of architecture and architectural design. Providing over 600 full-text journals, more than 220 full-text books, and a collection of over 63,000 images, it is designed for use by a diverse audience, including art scholars, artists, designers, students and general researchers.
America: History & Life with Full Text is the definitive database of literature covering the history and culture of the United States and Canada, from prehistory to the present. With selective selective indexing for 1,700 journals from 1955 to present, this database is without question the most important bibliographic reference tool for students and scholars of U.S. and Canadian history. America: History & Life with Full Text also provides full-text coverage of more than 200 journals and nearly 100 books.
Historical Abstracts with Full Text covers the history of the world (excluding the United States and Canada) from 1450 to the present, including world history, military history, women's history, history of education, and much more. This authoritative database provides indexing of historical articles from more than 1,800 journals in over 40 languages back to 1955. Contains over 800,000 records and access to the full text of more than 349 journals and more than 120 books.
A comprehensive resource for communication research. Communication Source was developed from a merger of Communication and Mass Media Complete and Communication Abstracts (formerly published by Sage), and includes many unique sources not previously available in other databases. Communication Source offers abstracts and indexing as well as full-text content from publications worldwide pertaining to Communication, Linguistics, Rhetoric and Discourse, Speech-Language Pathology, Media Studies and other fields relevant to the discipline.
MLA International Bibliography offers a detailed bibliography of journal articles, book chapters, books and dissertations. Produced by the Modern Language Association (MLA), the electronic version of the bibliography dates back to 1963 and contains over 3 million citations from more than 4,400 journals & series, and 1,000 book publishers.
This database includes several music encyclopedias, including the monumental Grove Dictionary of Music. Articles from Grove cover all types of music worldwide, from ancient times to the present, and typically include extensive bibliographies. It is the best starting point for most music-related research.
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Covers all aspects of philosophy, including ethics, aesthetics, social philosophy, political philosophy, epistemology, metaphysics and logic. Contains indexing and abstracts from books and journals of philosophy and related fields.
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Admin note: 49 total hits on PI (EBSCO) link, 24 hits on Proquest link (FY14-15)