Winter 2021


This guide is designed to be help with the research paper assignment in Professor Hill's Introduction to Africana Studies class in the Winter 2021 term -- specifically to identify appropriate scholarly/academic information sources.

Encyclopedias and Other Works

If you need some background information, use an encyclopedia before you jump into primary and secondary sources about your topic.  Encyclopedia entries are great places to get more key terms to use in your searches.

Open Data

For this assignment, you are required to use statistics.  You can often find data in your research area by searching in a search engine (Google, Safari, etc.) using terms for your geographic region, your topic, and data or statistics.


Jamaica health data

Dominican Republic education statistics

Be flexible and try several different terms - if you are specifically interested in data about heart disease, start as granular as you can and then broaden your terms, if you can't find what you want.

You can also try the databases and websites below. 

Primary Sources

Primary sources created in the 21st century are abundant and often available online.  You just have to think about where to look and how to find them. 

Think creatively about what types of primary sources you want to (are allowed to) use.  Try looking up TV or newspaper interviews where people talk about your topic. Tweets are primary sources.  Is your topic related to music or film?  Find examples by searching online.  Artwork is as much of a primary source as letters and diaries - and this includes marketing materials.  Just be aware of who is making the source, who its audience is, and the context in which it was created.

Secondary Sources

Use the library catalog to find books and articles on your topic.  You can narrow your search by format (only books, only article) and you can limit to peer reviewed sources using the filters on the left side of the screen. 

You can search openly on the internet but be very mindful of where you are getting your information.  

Be flexible with your search terms and don't stop after your first search.  Use the new information you learn to help you craft better searches.  If you are doing research on soccer and learn about a famous or influential player, start a new search using their name to find out more about them.  Start broad and narrow your focus as you learn more about your topic.