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MUS 115 – World Music

A guide to help students of MUS 115 with their projects.

Choosing a Topic

In order to do research, you have choose a topic. In this case, you need to pick a:

  • musician;
  • musical group;
  • musical instrument or instrument family; or
  • musical genre or tradition

from:

  • a Native American community;
  • a diasporic or displaced community;
  • South America;
  • Southern Europe;
  • Eastern Europe and Eurasia;
  • Western and Northern Africa;
  • Middle, Southern, and Eastern Africa;
  • Western and Central Asia;
  • Eastern and Southeastern Asia;
  • Australia and New Zealand; or
  • Micronesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia

And not only that, but you also have to narrow it down enough for a 5 minute presentation! You might have a brilliant idea right off the bat, but what if you're overwhelmed, or just don't know enough to choose??

This is where special music reference sources come in! They can quickly give you a good sense of what's out there so you can hone in on something you find interesting. Below are some suggestions.

 

Asking a Question

Always try to formulate a question about your topic that your research will try to answer. (It's easier to sort through resources if you're looking for stuff that will help you answer a question.)

Keywords and Synonyms

Pick out keywords from your question and find synonyms for those keywords. (Use the Search Strategy Builder below to help you! If you've taken INQ 101, it probably looks familiar...)

Then you'll combine your keywords and synonyms into a search string that databases and search engines can understand. (This means using Boolean operators [AND, OR, NOT], putting phrases in quotes, grouping ORs into parentheses... again, the Search Strategy Builder can help you!)

Search Strategy Builder

 Search Strategy Builder


The Search Strategy Builder is a tool designed to teach you how to create a search string using Boolean logic. While it is not a database and is not designed to input a search, you should be able to cut and paste the results into most databases’ search boxes.

  Concept 1 AND Concept 2 AND Concept 3
Name your concepts here (Keywords)    
Search terms Search terms Search terms
List alternate terms for each concept.

These can be synonyms, or they can be specific examples of the concept.

Use single words or short phrases. Surrounding the phrases with quotation marks will give better results in some databases and search engines, like Google Scholar. Example: "global warming"

or

or

or

or

or

or

or

or

or

or

or

or

Now copy and paste the above Search String into a search box; try SouthernSearch or choose another Database.

The Search Strategy Builder was developed by the University of Arizona Libraries and is used under a Creative Commons License, via Mandy Swygart-Hobaugh at Georgia State.