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Music 11D: Introduction to World Music

About this guide

This guide was designed to support you with thinking about topics/traditions/performance venues etc. and find resources before you enter the field.

This page provides an overview of searching, especially where students commonly get stuck and strategies for getting unstuck. Additionally there is info about how to reach someone in the library, see box for "Get Research Help".

The next page (library resources for peer-reviewed sources) provides you with links to databases you will need to complete the task of finding an article. We try to describe as best as possible how to move through these searches. Often people still experience problems, sometimes there are password issues, sometimes links to text are broken, sometimes the right word is eluding you. Reach out to us if you are experiencing these or other problems. 

The last page (library resources for music concepts) provides you with links to encyclopedias that help with getting up to speed on music terminology, genres, etc.

About your assignment

Find one peer-reviewed source to inform you on tradition and place (see your course assignment guidelines for more information and examples)

Library resources are designed to:

  • colocate sources by subject, like music, or by type, like academic/peer reviewed sources, etc
  • identify peer-reviewed sources more easily
  • locate online texts quickly (or, if needed, request copies of the ones the library doesn't own)

Library Searches can be frustrating: 

This sometimes makes us want to just search Google and just cite a clever blog post or Medium article. But this assignment is asking for do more than that. Below are some pitfalls and strategies to work through them:

Pitfalls Strategies
Thinking up keywords that return useful results is not easy

Look for clues in your assignment prompt and your interview or observation, for example

  • tradition 
  • place or performance venue
  • world music
  • open mic events
  • Salsa
Do I use everyday language or academic language to search?

Definitely start your brainstorm with whatever ideas or words come to mind, for example: "that sick punk show at the Sub Rosa".

As with any conversation or communication, adjust as needed. The Sub Rosa might become music venue or underground space

"Sick punk show" might become performance or live music

Brainstorm with your professor or reach out to a librarian (we can help with this)

Has something even been published on this topic?

Sometimes you hit the jackpot with the topic you selected.  

  • If you get too many results, you might want to add another word or phrase to decrease the results 

Sometimes the topic you selected is like a dry desert. All is not lost!

  • Zoom out to widen your search. For example, Santa Cruz buskers can become just buskers. 

Get Research Help


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send us your questions directly

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