Search strategy
Here is a good, basic formula for getting started with your research on disability and other 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!
Finding books
  • Oberlin College Library online catalog
  • Find materials in the Main Library, Art, Conservatory, Science, and Special Collections
  • Items circulate for the whole semester*
OhioLINK catalog
  • Catalog of books, films, and other materials in academic libraries around Ohio
  • To borrow items, cleck "Request this item." You'll need to enter a barcode -- that's the number on the back of your OCID
  • Loan period is 3 weeks with up to 6 renewals

Summon is a library search engine that helps you discover a wide range of materials regardless of subject area or format.  It's a great starting pointn for many research projects.  Try it and see what you can find!

Interlibrary Loan (ILLiad) helps you get books and articles that aren't available at Oberlin.


Library of Congress Subject Heading possibilities
  • People with disabilities in literature (in art, in motion pictures, in mass media)
  • Abnormalities, Human (in art, in literature)
  • Disabilities
  • Disability studies
  • Sociology of disability
  • Autism in literature
  • Authors with disabilities -- Biography -- History
  • People with disabilities, Writings of, American -- History and criticism
  • People with disabilities, Writings of, English -- History and criticism
  • People with mental disabilities in literature (in motion pictures)
  • People with mental disabilities -- Fiction
  • People with mental disabilities -- Portraits
  • People with visual disabilities (fiction, poetry, portraits)
  • Mental illness in art (in literature, in motion pictures, in mass media, in music)
  • Mental illness -- Personal narratives (Drama, Fiction)
Research help
Librarian contact information:
  • Kathy Abromeit, (Conservatory):
  • Eboni Johnson (Main):
  • Barb Prior (Art):
  • Alison Ricker (Science):
  • Julie Weir (Main):

Other ways to ask questions or get research advice:
  • Drop in at the Research Help Desk or call 440-775-5031 during research desk hours
  • Email us at
  • Chat / IM with a librarian
  • Sign up for a Research Appointment
Reference / Background Information
Encyclopedia of disability [e-book] / Gary L. Albrecht, Ed.; Sage Publications, 2006

Encyclopedia of American disability history / Susan Burch, Ed. New York, NY: Facts On File, 2009
Main Reference       HV1553 .E523 2009  (3 volumes)    
Finding articles -- research databases
Academic Search Complete Restricted Resource Some full text available Resource contains images -- many subject areas / includes popular magazines & newspapers

America: History and Life Restricted Resource -- history and culture of the U.S. and Canada

Art Full Text (1984 to date) Restricted Resource Some full text available -- art history, studio art

Education Research Complete Restricted Resource Some full text available -- early childhood, primary, secondary, and post-secondary

JSTOR Restricted Resource Some full text available -- many subject areas

MLA International Bibliography Restricted Resource -- literary studies

Music Index Online Restricted Resource -- music / music education

PsycINFO Restricted Resource -- psychology

SocINDEX Restricted Resource Some full text available -- sociology and related fields
Writing & citation help

  • MLA handbook  8th ed. 
    Location: Main Reference            LB2369 .G53 2016 c.4
    (also Main Library, Art Reference, Con Reference, and Sci Ref Desk)
  • MLA Style – Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL)

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
  • Check out our video tutorial!
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