Search strategy
Here is a good, basic formula for getting started with your research in African American Studies.
  1. Begin by using the keyword brainstorming worksheet docx to help you tweak your research question, identify keywords and related terms, and keep track of what you find.  
  2. Search in a library catalog (Summon, OBIS, OhioLINK and/or WorldCat) to find books and reference sources.  They provide BACKGROUND and CONTEXT, review and SUMMARIZE earlier work, help you FOCUS your topic and provide CITATIONS to important books, journal articles, conference papers, interviews, etc.
  3. Next, search research databases to find articles. The Library has hundreds of databases available, but the ones listed below are good places to begin.
  4. You may also wish to use Google or Google Scholar to search the Internet.  Take advantage of Google's advanced search features!
  5. Finally, use the CRAAP test worksheet pdf to evaluate the sources you find!
Search (Almost) Everything
Going a little further
African American Newspapers (1827-1998) Restricted Resource Some full text available
Provides online access to hundreds of historical U.S. newspapers chronicling the African American experience. Dates of Coverage: 1827-1998

America: History and Life Restricted Resource
Index to research on the history and culture of the United States and Canada, from prehistory to the present. Indexes articles and book reviews from more than 1,700 journals published in more than 40 languages. Dates of Coverage: 1964 to date

American History in Video Restricted Resource Resource contains video
Digital streaming videos including documentaries, newsreels, archival footage, and public affairs videos, with searchable video transcripts.

Black Studies Center Restricted Resource Some full text available Resource contains images Resource contains video
Covers the Black experience from ancient Africa to the modern day from perspectives in history, literature, political science, sociology, philosophy, and religion. Also includes the full text backfile (1935 to 1975) of the influential black newspaper The Chicago Defender.

Ethnic NewsWatch Restricted Resource Some full text available
A full-text database of the newspapers, magazines and journals of the ethnic, minority and native press which represent the diversity of the American population in ways that are generally not seen in the mainstream media.  Coverage starts around 1960.  

JSTOR Restricted Resource Some full text available
Scholarly journal archive for the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences;  most journals 2-5 years out-of-date

MLA International Bibliography Restricted Resource
An index to books and articles published on modern languages, literatures, folklore, and linguistics. Coverage includes literature from all over the world.  THE source for scholarship on literatures and languages.  

Oxford African American Studies Center Restricted Resource Some full text available
African American and African history and culture including biographies, topical entries, primary source documents with commentary, images, maps, charts, tables, and more.

Research help
Writing & citation help


RefME is a free mobile-friendly tool that creates citations, footnotes and bibliographies in many different citation styles across disciplines.

  • Search - Books, journals, videos, and more by title, author, ISBN, DOI, or URL
  • Share - Projects with other RefME users, and export projects to MS Word or other citation managers
  • Access - Bibliography across mobile devices, saved and synced in RefME platform
  • Store - Scan book/journal barcodes to create and store references using RefME App or WebClipper and add page #s, quotes, and notes
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