AMER STD 191: American Studies Thesis

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About this Guide

Guide to Research for American Studies thesis course, Instructor: Gomer Fall 2013

Quick Links

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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!

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Printing and Scanning in the Libraries

All libraries on campus are equipped with "bookscan stations," which allow you to:

Scanning to a USB drive is free.  Moffitt Copy Center sells flash drives.

Scanning documents to print is 8 cents a page (color printing: 60 cents a page).picture of open book

In order to send documents to the printer from any of the public computers in the libraries, you must have the following:

Have more questions? There's more info here.

This guide has been archived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

Catalogs

To find books, DVDs, maps, sound recordings, manuscripts, and much more - everything except articles - use a library catalog.

OskiCat = most UC Berkeley libraries

MELVYL = all UC campus libraries, including all UC Berkeley libraries

What's the difference?  more details here

For each item make sure you know the name of the physical library, call number, and whether or not it's checked out, library use only, etc.

Call numbers are on the spine of the book; learn how to read them so you can find what you need on the shelves.

Sample Searches - OskiCat

1.  (keywords)  welfare reform clinton

2.  "welfare reform"

modify

years:  1993 - 2001

3.  health dispar* minorit*

* = truncation symbol/wildcard for variant word endings
ex:  immigra* = immigrant immigrants immigration etc.

look at the titles and official subject terms and find other terms:

(subject):  equality health aspects
                 discrimination in medical care united states
                 minorities medical care united states

etc. 

Try out these OskiCat features:

  • limit your search to a type of material (DVDs) or a library location (Doe Reference)
  • save items to a list you can e-mail/download/print
  • place a recall request online
  • request items from storage (NRLF)
  • view a list of items you have checked out
  • send call numbers to your cell phone (see below)
  • receive alerts of new items that match your search terms ("preferred search")

Use MELVYL for some topics, especially: Law, Medicine, Sports
   - other libraries are stronger in these areas and the UC Berkeley Law Library is not in Oskicat!

SMS and QR Codes in OskiCat

You can now text yourself a call number or use a QR code reader to find the location of an item in the UCB Library. Just click on a title in your OskiCat search results, and both options will be displayed on the right.

SMS and QR image

Getting Material from NRLF

A large part of the library's collection is stored off campus in an environmentally secure building called the Northern Regional Library Facility [NRLF].

Submit online requests via the REQUEST button in OskiCat to borrow material shelved at NRLF. To receive electronic or paper copies of book chapters or journal articles, submit an online request via the "Request an article from NRLF (photocopy or web delivery)" link that appears in eligible titles in OskiCat. Staff at public service desks of any campus library can assist you with further questions. 

EXCEPTION:  Materials belonging to Bancroft Library MUST be requested via their online form

nrlf request button in oskicat

Log in to Request with your Calnet ID and fill out the screens.  Choose the volume you want, for periodicals:

nrlf request item selection

ebrary = ebooks

ebrary is our largest collection of full text ebooks, with 40,000 titles on a wide range of subjects. Find them in the UCB catalog, OskiCat (keyword: ebrary or limit to "Available Online"), or search the ebrary site directly:

Search ebrary

 

Getting started with ebrary

Google Books

Google Books contains millions of scanned books, from libraries and publishers worldwide. You can search the entire text of the books, view previews or "snippets" from books that are still in copyright, and read the full text of out-of-copyright (pre-1923) books.  Want to read the entire text of an in-copyright book?  Use Google Books' Find in a Library link to locate the book in a UC Berkeley library, or search OskiCat to see if UC Berkeley owns the book.

Why use Google Books?

Library catalogs (like OskiCat) don't search inside books; using a library catalog, you can search only information about the book (title, author, Library of Congress subject headings, etc.).  Google Books will let you search inside books, which can be very useful for hard-to-find information.  Try it now:

Google Book Search

Requesting Materials from Other Libraries

If UCB does not own the item you need, we will borrow it for you from another library, if possible.  We need a specific citation (example, for books - title, author, date of publication, publisher; for articles, title, author, journal/publication title, date, page numbers).

If you are in MELVYL and find the record for an item UCB doesn't own, click on the "Request" button to initiate the request.

If the item isn't owned by another UC, pull down the "Libraries to search" menu in MELVYL to "Libraries Worldwide" and re-try the search.  If you find the item, click on the "Request" button to initiate the request.

If you are not using MELVYL, use the online Interlibrary Loan forms to request an item.  Track the progress of your request via "My ILL Requests."

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 - Article Databases

Sample searches in Proquest Social Science databases:

Library home > Articles > Article Databases by Subject > American Studies > ProQuest Social Sciences  to search multiple social science databases

1.  Example of a search using multiple terms and truncation,etc

health dispar* minorit*  (anywhere)

keywords = searches most important parts of the record

narrow your results by limilting your search to anywhere EXCEPT full text:

health dispar* minorit* (anywhere except full text)

look for official subject terms:

"health disparities" (subject)
rac* or ethnic* or minorit* (anywhere)

limit to scholarly journals

2.  look through your search results for additional useful terms

greenwashing

corporate social responsibility

social responsibility of business

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

sb 1070 (keywords)

broaden your terms:

arizona (keywords)
immigra*   (keywords)

Sample Searches in Academic Search Complete + other databases as appropriate

Library home> Articles > General Article Databases > Academic Search Complete

1.  add other EbscoHost databases as appropriate:

choose databases

check off:  America:  History and Life

2.  use multiple search terms

jackie robinson  (select a field - optional)
civil rights  (select a field - optional)

3.  limit by date (of events, NOT of publication):

advanced search

"welfare reform"

historical period:  1993 - 2001

4.  Media Studies topics:  click on choose databases; deselect America:  History and Life; instead, select Communication Abstracts and Flim and Television Literature Index: (and LGBT Life and Women's Studies International, if appropriate)

glee*  (select a field - optional)
queer* or masculin* (select a field - optional)

limit to peer reviewed journals

5.  search keywords, use truncation; use alternative terms

food truck* or street food* (select a field - optional)

check off:  scholarly (peer reviewed) journals

6.  "grand theft auto" or "video game*"

stereotyp* or representation* or portray* or depict*

 

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.

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.

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.

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,

 

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:

Google Research Tools

Google Scholar is an easy way to do interdisciplinary research, and with some settings changes can become even more useful.  You may need a Google account to use some of these features.

Open Scholar.  Click on scholar preferences [upper right corner]. Under Library Links, enter the word Berkeley.  Choose  UC Berkeley eLinks and Open WorldCat - Library Search and Save your preferences.  UC e-links will now appear in Google Scholar search results.

Do your search in Google Scholar. Look in the green toolbar for the envelope icon, and click it.  New items will be sent to your email account as they are found by Google.

Do a Google Scholar search. Click on the "Cited by" link under a citation and select the "Search within articles citing..." checkbox.

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, contacting librarian specialists...

And of course:  e-mail Corliss!

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