MUSL 3160 "Women and Rock Music" - Gunderman

Need research help? Ask me!

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Kate S. Linton
Wilson Music Library Office #2134B
(615) 343-1852
Research process adapted from: 

Choose a Topic

What am I interested in?

Was there a topic that was of interest mentioned in the course?

What am I interested in learning more about?

What are my preliminary questions (why, who, what, where, when)?

Create a Research Journal

A research journal will help you log your searches, sources, and freewriting or brainstorming for your research paper. Some ideas: 

  • Grab a new notebook and log by hand. 
  • Make a research binder: include notes, articles, sources, etc. 
  • Create a new Google Doc or Word Doc and title it Research Journal_MUSL3160

Headings to include: 

  • Research question
  • Keywords, search terms, or phrases
  • Search strategy or Plan
  • Research log in a table: research date; name of where you searched; search details (search terms); citations or sources found; notes (evaluation or use); organization in the paper
  • Freewriting or Brainstorming space
  • Outline for paper

Gather Background Information

Where to look?

  • Is there a print or electronic encyclopedia, bibliography, biography that I can reference?
  • What online reference databases would be helpful to my topic?
  • Web searching: wikipedia, Google, Google Scholar, etc.

Browse Print Encyclopedias & Dictionaries (Wilson Music Library):

  • ML102: Subject Dictionaries
  • ML105-107: Biographical Dictionaries

Reference Databases or Electronic Resources Available via the Library


Freewrite or bullet point or concept map your topic. Review what you want to research and discuss in your paper to help refine your research question and develop keywords for searching. 

Define keywords

Develop keywords ahead of searching the web, library catalog, or databases for sources. This is to be strategic and to guide and find the best sources for your argument. 

  • What keywords/concepts standout from my research question or outline? 
  • What synonyms should I consider? 
  • What words may be missing and useful? 

Write a Search Strategy

In your research journal state a search strategy that you can refer back to in the research process. This does not have to be rigid. You can revise your search strategy, but it's to help guide during divided time of class and daily life. 

  • Where am I going to search? 
    • library catalog, WorldCat, specific databases, journals or magazines, newspapers, etc. 
  • How am I going to search? 
    • Do I want to use subject headings, boolean operators, phrase searching, truncation, etc.
  • How will I keep track of my searches?
    • Where I searched; what keywords or phrases I used; what I found?
  • Who can I ask for help?