Search strategy
Here is a good, basic formula for getting started with your research in Africana 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!
What do YOU want to know?
Historical context and background

Who was present?

What types of documents about people & movements do you already know about?  Who is creating these documents? Why?

What are the people themselves writing? Why?

What is being written *about* these people and movements? Why?

Start with some keyword brainstorming!
Using OBIS to identify primary sources
OBIS: Catalog of the Oberlin College Library Unrestricted Resource
OhioLINK Library Catalog Unrestricted Resource
WorldCat Restricted Resource

Library of Congress Subject Heading possibilities:
Maroons -- Jamaica -- History Government, Resistance to -- Jamaica -- History
Jamaica -- History -- Maroon War, 1795-1796 Maroons -- Caribbean Area -- History

Other LCSH subdivisions to look out for in OBIS:

-- History 

-- History and criticism
-- Bibliography -- Sources
-- Criticism and interpretation -- Influence
--  Archival resources  


Summon -- searches across a wide range of library content, and not just books! It includes journal and newspaper articles, data, digital audio, video and images, and so much more. Try it and see what you can discover. 

Searching for primary sources
... in research databases:

Charles Evans's magnum opus is one of the sources you should definitely explore. For many years, he was busy compiling a chronological, annotated bibliography of everything published in the United States through the year 1820.  This monumental achievement laid the groundwork for future generations of scholars and librarians to reproduce rare and unique texts and make them available to researchers all over the world, first on microfiche and now in digital formas Early American Imprints.

Early American Imprints, Series I: Evans (1639-1800) Restricted Resource Some full text available
Full-text, searchable scans of source material of all types from the 17th and 18th centuries; an important resource for primary information about every aspect of life in 17th- and 18th-century America.

Early American Imprints, Series II: Shaw-Shoemaker (1801-1819) Restricted Resource Some full text available
Primary source matierial of all types documenting American  history from 1801-1819.


... on the Internet:

American Memory Unrestricted Resource Resource contains images Resource contains audio
American Memory provides free and open access through the Internet to written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that document the American experience. It is a digital record of American history and creativity. These materials, from the collections of the Library of Congress and other institutions, chronicle historical events, people, places, and ideas that continue to shape America, serving the public as a resource for education and lifelong learning.

Internet Archive
Free access to digital collections including music, video, web sites and millions of public-domain books.

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
Recognized as one of the leading institutions focusing exclusively on African-American, African Diaspora, and African experiences, the Schomburg has collected, preserved, and provided access to materials documenting black life — in America and worldwide — for over 85 years.

Research help
Secondary sources
Note that some of these secondary sources may help you identify primary sources!

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
Full-text coverage of newspapers, magazines and journals of the ethnic, minority and native press in America. Dates of Coverage:  1959 to date

Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) Daily Reports (1941-1996) Restricted Resource Some full text available
Transcripts of foreign broadcasts and news translated into English; features stories selected by U.S. intelligence agencies for the use of policymakers.

Historical Abstracts Restricted Resource
Index to thousands of academic journals covering world history (excluding the US and Canada) from 1450 to present, in over 40 languages, with full-text available. Dates of Coverage: 1955 to date

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.

ProQuest Dissertations & Theses A&I Restricted Resource
Citations and abstracts for dissertations and theses on all subjects from around the world. Previews and full text available for some titles.
Other resources
Introduction to Academic Citations  -- learn more about what citations are, why they are important, and how to properly format them in your paper
Writing & citation help


ProQuest RefWorks is a citation management tool that helps researchers gather, manage, store and share information, as well as generate citations and bibliographies in a wide variety of styles.
  • Search - OBIS, OhioLink, PubMed & Scopus
  • Share - Folders via URL
  • Store - PDFs online and take notes
  • Read - Search your references fulltext and save searches
  • Write - Create a simple reference list and use Write-N-Cite to format paper in Microsoft Word
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