Search strategy
Here is a good, basic formula for getting started with your research in Comparative 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!
All Items by Source Type


American FactFinder (U.S. Census Bureau) Some full text available
Great place to find population, housing, economic and geographic data. Also access data sets, maps, fact sheets, tools and other resources.  
note: American FactFinder works with Mozilla Firefox 3.6 and Microsoft Internet Explorer 7. Other browsers may not perform as expected.
Social Explorer
Provides access to current and historical U.S. census and other demographic data. Users can create maps and reports.
State & County QuickFacts (U.S. Census Bureau) Some full text available
QuickFacts includes statistics for all states and counties, and for cities and towns with more than 5,000 people.


Academic Search Complete Restricted Resource Some full text available Resource contains images
Multidisciplinary - good for nearly all subjects. Scholarly and trade journals, popular magazines, newspapers, conference proceedings, book reviews, and more.
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 Race Relations: Global Perspectives, 1941-1996 Restricted Resource Some full text available Resource contains images
Thousands of commentaries on African American, Hispanic American, Asian American and Native American history covering foreign reactions to America's struggles with racial justice from the Jim Crow era to the Civil Rights movements and beyond.
Bibliography of Native North Americans Restricted Resource
Index of books, essays, journal articles, and government documents from the U.S. and Canada, covering native North American history and culture.

Chicano Database Restricted Resource
Citations to articles and books on all aspects of the Mexican-American, Chicano and broader Latino experience. Broad subject coverage includes art, language, sociology, psychology, public policy, economics, history,literature, politics, and law.

Dates of Coverage: 1960s to date
Early Encounters in North America Restricted Resource Some full text available Resource contains images
Letters, diaries, memoirs and accounts of early encounters between Native Americans and peoples from Europe, as well as Latin America, Asia, and Africa.
Gender Studies Database Restricted Resource
Covers the full spectrum of sexual diversity issues and gender-engaged scholarship inside and outside academia. Source documents include professional journals, conference papers, books, book chapters, government reports, discussion and working papers, theses and dissertations, and more. Dates of Coverage: 1972 to date

Immigrations, Migrations and Refugees: Global Perspectives, 1941-1996 Restricted Resource Some full text available Resource contains images
Translated and English-language radio and television broadcasts, newspapers, periodicals, government documents and books providing global insight on immigration in the mid-to-late 20th century.
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
LexisNexis Restricted Resource Some full text available
A wide range of news, political, legal, and business information from thousands of sources, mostly full text. Includes newspapers, magazines, wire services, federal and state court opinions, federal and state statutes, federal regulations, and SEC filings. News information is updated daily and wire services several times daily.  

LGBT Life Restricted Resource Some full text available
Includes the full text of more than one hundred current or historically significant Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) journals, magazines and regional newspapers, and books.
SocINDEX Restricted Resource Some full text available
Provides full text of some journal articles, and indexing and abstracts for journals, books and conference papers.  Covers all sub-fields of sociology, including criminology, gender, marriage & family studies, social work, social psychology, addictions, violence, and more.   

Women's Studies International Restricted Resource
Nearly 800 essential sources including journals, newspapers, newsletters, bulletins, books, book chapters, proceedings, reports, theses, dissertations, NGO studies, Web sites & Web documents, and grey literature.

Dates of Coverage: 1972-


Encyclopedia of American Studies Restricted Resource Some full text available Resource contains images
Covers the history, philosophy, arts, and cultures of the United States in relation to the world, from pre-colonial days to the present, from various perspectives and the global American Studies movement. 
Encyclopedia of American Studies
Print Location: Main Reference E169.1 .E625 2001 vols 1-4


American quarterly Restricted Resource Some full text available
American Quarterly reflects the evolving landscape of American studies, and not only publishes traditional scholarship, but welcomes innovative approaches to critical writing through forums, event and book reviews, and “Currents” – timely pieces about topics of current importance to the world of American studies.
note: Full text available 1949 - present
Comparative American Studies: An International Journal Restricted Resource Some full text available
Covers literature, film, popular culture, photography and the visual arts. Attention is also given to history, the social sciences and politics, particularly insofar as these fields impact on cultural texts.
note: Full text available 3/1/2007 - . (Due to publisher restrictions, the most recent 12 months are not available.)
Journal of American Studies Restricted Resource Some full text available
Journal of American Studies seeks to critique and interrogate the notion of "America", pursuing this through international perspectives on the history, literature, politics and culture of the United States. 
note: Full text available 1967 - present

Primary Sources

American Memory 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.
Archives Unbound Restricted Resource Some full text available Resource contains images
Topically focused collections of historical documents.  
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


ProQuest Statistical Abstract of the U.S. Restricted Resource Some full text available
A comprehensive summary of statistics on the social, political, and economic organization of the United States. Use the Abstract as a convenient volume for statistical reference, and as a guide to sources of more information both in print and on the Web.

Web Sites

American Studies Association
The American Studies Association is the nation’s oldest and largest association devoted to the interdisciplinary study of American culture and history.
Research Help
Back to TOP