Research Methods in Community Music

Course Number: MU626

Subject: Music: Community Music

Research help

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Video Tutorials

The Library has created a large number of video tutorials that may be of help to you. Some examples include:

Examples of research

Consider the format of research

  • books, book chapters, journal articles, magazine articles, newspaper articles, data and statistics, grey literature, theses, blog/web postings, audio visual.
Database searching tips

Regardless of what you are searching for, or which tools you use, keep in mind the following tips (although be aware that not all databases support each of these options)

  1. Developing a research question: for graduate students
  2. Consider word variations and synonyms
    • think about how others might refer to your ideas
    • e.g, decolonial --> decolonial* OR colonial* OR postcolonial* OR racis* OR anti-raci* --> which might lead to white, black, [NAME] ethnic group
    • Using search words effectively
  3. Better searching using AND, OR, NOT
    • AND (all terms) OR (one of the terms) NOT (exclude terms)
    • Parentheses and Boolean operators can be used to set apart search groups
    • NEAR/# = search terms within a specified number of words apart, e.g., nursing NEAR/3 education
  4. Limit or expand terms
  5. Employ search limiters (available limiters depend on the database)
    • peer reviewed, article type, date
  6. Identify key publications and authors
    • note citations, and cited references, repeated author names
  7. Document and track everything you do in the steps above
Journal articles
  • Search Omni to identify books at Laurier
    • limit to "Articles"
  • Why can't I just use Google or Google Scholar?
  • Choosing a Library Database
    • your topic might be interdisciplinary, so consider databases relevant to your topic. Some important ones for this course could include:
      • RILM Abstracts of Music Literature
        • contains bibliographic records of material centred on international music topics
      • CINAHL
        • contains bibliographic records of material centred on allied health topics
      • ERIC
        • contains bibliographic records of material centred on education
      • Sociology Collection
        • contains bibliographic records of material centred on sociology, social work, and social issues
      • Sometimes it is possible to search many of these databases at one time
Magazine articles
  • While the Library does not collect a lot of magazine content, some of the titles relevant to community music include


Other formats

Use the Research Materials dropdown to see how to locate:

Grey Literature

Grey Literature is any literature that has not been published through traditional means, and is often excluded from large databases and other mainstream sources. Grey literature can also mean literature that is hard to find or has inconsistent or missing bibliographic information. A larger list of Grey literature sources can be found here, and below are some of the sites that might be most helpful to you for this class:

  • Canadian Institutional Repositories (IR)
    • Just like Laurier's own Scholars Commons IR, most Canadian universities have their own IR, where in addition to theses they will place faculty and institutional publications. There is no tool that easily searches all IR at once, so you need to search individually.
  • Google tweaks

The best index of podcast content is

Predatory Journals
Citing your sources