Skip to Main Content

Social and Historical Foundations of American Music

MUE 5045

Starting your research, step-by-step

Ah, researching a topic. Sounds like so much fun, yes? But when you look at the many options of resources and searches, it's a dizzying array of choices. Fear not.

  1. Develop an idea. 
    • Carefully read your assignment; look for subject parameters or specific methodologies to include or avoid.
    • The idea can be a question or just an exploration of a topic.
  2. Formulate words to describe that idea or topic.
    • Complete sentences are one way to express an idea or topic exploration; however, pull out descriptive words to construct a search.
      • For example, if you want to explore non-verbal rehearsal techniques of high school music directors, you may want to choose the least common words for your search. 
      • Think of any synonyms for these words/terms.
      • Think of broader and narrower terms.
      • Often, less is more when formulating a search strategy.
  3. Databases such as PsycInfo, Music Index, RILM, and others use specific terminology to describe a concept. 
    • How do you identify this specific terminology? 
    • What subdivisions might exist -- time periods, countries, etc to further refine or narrow that concept?
The Florida State University Libraries

© 2022 Florida State University Libraries | 116 Honors Way | Tallahassee, FL 32306 | (850) 644-2706