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Research Methods in Community Music

Course Number: MU626

Video Tutorials

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

Scholarly sources

In general, when looking for previous research in music scholarship, you will be consulting and citing three formats:

journal articles

Mitchell, E. (2019). Community music therapy and participatory performance: Case study of a coffee house. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy, 19(1).


Silverman, M. J. (2015). Music therapy in mental health for illness management and recovery. Oxford University Press.

book chapters

Ahonen, Heidi. (2016). Adult Trauma Work in Music Therapy. In: The Oxford Handbook of Music Therapy. Ed. Jane Edwards. Oxford University Press. 268-288.

Example of research

McDonel, J. S. (2013). Exploring the relationship between music learning and mathematics learning in an interdisciplinary pre-K curriculum (see page 23)

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
  1. Tutorial: Developing a research question: for graduate students
  2. Consider word variations and synonyms
    • think about how others might refer to your ideas
    • e.g, child death, perinatal death, neonatal death, stillbirth, sudden infant death, etc.
Search Tactics


What is the tactic?

What does the tactic do?


Boolean AND

Use AND to ensure that all terms appear in every search result.

depression AND home care

Boolean OR

Use OR to ensure that at least one term appears in every search result.

auditory OR acoustic OR sound

Phrase searching

Use quotation marks to find more than one term in a row.

vibroacoustic therapy


Use an asterisk* at the end of a term to include multiple endings. (sometimes $)


trauma, traumatic, traumatically, traumatize, traumatized, traumatizing


Use a question mark ? within a term to search for variations of a single character.


decolonize, decolonise


Use NEAR/n to search for terms within n words of each other (sometimes ADJ/n)

"music therapy" NEAR/5 child* OR adolescent*

Tutorial: Better searching using AND, OR, NOT 

  1. Employ search limiters (available limiters depend on the database)
    • peer reviewed, article type, date
    • e.g, in PsycInfo, can include: age group, population group, methodology
  2. Identify key publications and authors
    • note citations, and cited references, repeated author names
  3. Document and track everything you do in the steps above
Books and ebooks
Journal articles
  • Search Omni to identify books at Laurier
    • limit to "articles" and "peer-reviewed"
  • 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
APA Style Guide

The Laurier Library owns print copies of the APA Style Guide, but not the electronic version. Most information you will need to guide you for this class will be found on the APA Style guide website.

Remember that the APA Style Guide is more than just information on how to cite, it is also prescribes rules about how to write. Since in this class you are reviewing anti-oppressive principals, consider the APA guidelines:


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Last Updated: March 13, 2024 4:27pm