Search strategy
Here is a good, basic formula for getting started with your research in Comparative American Studies and related topics.
  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
Book Search
Search OBIS
Data & statistics
From the U.S. Census Bureau
  • American FactFinder (U.S. Census Bureau) Unrestricted Resource 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.  
  • American Community Survey
    The ACS is an ongoing survey that provides data every year -- giving communities the current information they need to plan investments and services. Information from the survey generates data that help determine how more than $400 billion in federal and state funds are distributed each year.
  • State & County QuickFacts (U.S. Census Bureau) Unrestricted Resource Some full text available
    QuickFacts includes statistics for all states and counties, and for cities and towns with more than 5,000 people.

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.

Social Explorer Unrestricted Resource
Provides access to current and historical U.S. census and other demographic data. Users can create maps and reports.

Data Planet -- Large repository of harmonized datasets from a variety of sources, with global and time series coverage.
  • Statistical Ready Reference -- Data-Planet Statistical Ready-reference provides access to individual pre-set graphs of time series data for over 250,000 measures. Graphs draw from the most recent data available, and are easy for non-specialists to use.
  • Statistical Datasets -- Datasets allow complete access to datasets using customizable tables, graphs and maps, with numerous output formats available (Excel, PDF, delimited text, SAS, SPSS, XML, Shapefile GIS).

National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Unrestricted Resource
NCES is the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education.

Ohio Department of Education -- Find the "Data" link (under the "Topics" tab) to search for various reports, report cards, test results and more.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics -- BLS is the principal Federal agency responsible for measuring labor market activity, working conditions, and price changes in the economy. Its mission is to collect, analyze, and disseminate essential economic information to support public and private decision-making.
Research help
Finding newspaper articles

See the NEWS AND NEWSPAPERS section of the library’s web page for finding guides to Cleveland Plain Dealer and Oberlin newspapers, including the Oberlin News Tribune.

** NOTE! We no longer have access to the database that contains the Cleveland Plain Dealer post-1991. However, the newspaper is available on microfilm or via the Plain Dealer website (the past 5 years are available on the PD website). **

NewspaperARCHIVE Restricted Resource Some full text available
Includes Elyria Chronicle Telegram (1919-2012)

America's Historical Newspapers (1690-1876) Restricted Resource Some full text available
The Plain Dealer is available from 1845-1991.

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.  

Factiva Restricted Resource Some full text available Resource contains images Resource contains video Resource contains audio
Full-text global news sources, including newspapers, newswires, television and radio transcripts, numerous regional and industry publications, and images from Reuters. Content comes from ~160 countries in 22 languages. 

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.  

Lorain Morning Journal
Breaking News, Sports, Business, Entertainment & Northern Ohio News
Finding journal articles
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.

Education Full Text Restricted Resource Some full text available
Provides full text of articles from over 350 journals as far back as 1996, in addition to indexing of more than 770 periodicals dating back to 1983.

Education Research Complete Restricted Resource Some full text available
Covers scholarly research and information relating to all areas of education.

ERIC (Education Resources Information Center) Restricted Resource Some full text available
The world's largest source of education information, containing abstracts of documents and journal articles on education research and practice. 

SocINDEX Restricted Resource Some full text available
Provides users with a wealth of information encompassing the broad spectrum of sociological study.

Web of Science Restricted Resource
Includes the Science Citation Index, Social Sciences Citation Index and the Arts & Humanities Citation Index.  Particularly good for cited reference searching.
Other resources
Keyword excercise  -- use this worksheet to help you tweak your research question, identify keywords and related terms, and keep track of what you find.

CRAAP test  -- this rubric is good for helping you to evaluate the sources you find, both in print and online.

Literature review introduction -- this page explains what it is/its purpose, strategies for approaching it, and questions to consider along the way.

Literature review worksheet -- a tool to help you examine each source that you are considering for inclusion in your literature review. Also gives you a chance to practice your critical evaluation skills by writing a brief appraisal of each source.
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