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Music & Theatre Research Guide

NEW Fall 2019: Recommended search tools, resources, and databases for research in Music and Theatre.

What type of information do I need?

Do you need to provide data-rich, factual information? The most up-to-date scholarship written by experts in the field? First-hand narratives of personal experiences? Make sure that the type of information you are using matches your need. 

Will my audience think that this author is credible?

If your argument or research is only as credible as your sources, think about how your audience will perceive the authors who you are citing. If it's a health topic, are you citing medical professionals or researchers from a health-related organization? And remember, it doesn't always have to be about academic degrees. Subject experts can also be professionals working in related fields or people with first-hand knowledge of a topic.

Is this source current enough for my topic?

For current events and topics related to science, medicine, or other quickly developing fields, make sure you're finding sources that are up-to-date. Use database filters to limit your search results to an appropriate date range: this could mean the past three years or even the past three months depending on your topic.

Does this source speak directly to my topic?

It can be tempting to pick the first five sources and "make it work." Instead, make sure that your sources are doing the work for you. Think carefully about the purpose of your research and what you are trying to argue or explain, and ask yourself if your sources are supporting that goal. 

Does this source tell me something new about my topic?

If one of your sources restates everything you found in another, select the one that does more work for you or comes from a more credible source. For example, is one research published in a medical journal and the other just a news article describing that research? Or, does one source provide additional information not found in the other? Focus on finding sources that tell you something new or unique about your topic.

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