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Black Studies: Starting Research

Finding Journal Articles

Black Studies is an interdisciplinary field of scholarship.  Due to it's interdisciplinary nature, you will find scholarship and sources for the field are indexed in a wide range of databases.  The databases listed below are a great starting point when conducting research in African American Studies, but they are not the only databases to find information.  In each of the theme tabs you will find additional databases to try based on your research needs.

If you cannot find what you need by using this guide, do not hesitate ask a librarian! The lower right corner of this page gives a phone number you can call, a link to email, and a box for IM.

Electronic Reference Collections

Finding books

The following techniques can improve your success in searching the catalog for books:

  • Use author and title searches for books cited in readings. For example, your syllabus may list Jane Rhodes, Framing the Black Panthers: The Spectacular Rise of a Black Power Icon.
  • Use Proper Nouns. Proper nouns like Fred Hampton or Jim Crow era usually narrow a search and can lead to primary sources.
  • Subject Headings. The display of subject headings can suggest search terms and perspectives on your topic. Subject headings bring together books on your topics.
  • If one term does not work, try a few others. Experiment with different vocabulary related to your topic. Brainstorm ideas for relevant keywords and use background sources such as encyclopedias for suggestions.
  • If the UIC copy is unavailable or if UIC does not have what you need, search I-Share. The I-Share catalog tells you what 70+ academic libraries in Illinois have and you can request online most of the books.