Useful Resources

Listed below are some potentially useful resources for you as you do research this semester.  This list is NOT exhaustive–you shouldn’t begin & end your research here–but it’s a good place to start. Be sure to take advantage of them, and to also use the links to blogs on the main page.  Because things are changing so rapidly in the media, and because I often assign you to consider very contemporary media texts, often the best place to find research materials is on the internet.  Make sure that the materials you find and use are from a reputable and reliable source, as you would with any internet search.  For your project, you’ll need to find scholarly AND popular sources.  If you’re not sure what constitutes a scholarly source, please reference this Scholarly Source Guide.

As you’re conducting your research, you should look to the bibliographies of our course readings as well; if you find a chapter/article that you think relates to your project, there are likely to be additional useful resources listed in the bibliography.  Finally, you may want to browse the library’s holdings–many materials relating to the course material can be found in and around the PN section of the library, using the Dewey Decimal system.

Books

(Titles are linked to their Amazon listing so you can get full information for the book.  You should check Abell Library’s catalog to find books on campus, or to request books not available on campus through Interlibrary Loan.)

Please note: books with editors are generally anthologies, or collections of chapters/articles.  It is very unlikely that an entire anthology would be useful for your research, but an individual chapter (or a handful of chapters) might be extremely useful.  You should find, use, and cite only the chapters that are relevant for your research, not the full anthology.  When citing, use the listing for formatting for a chapter/article from an edited collection as your guide.

Journals

(You may be prompted to enter your AC login information before gaining access to journal holdings)

Online Resources

The Media History Project online has some really incredible archives, featuring fan and movie magazines from early Hollywood.  If you’re interested in stars from a bygone era, be sure to check them out! (They have materials up to 1995, too!)

Lexis-Nexis Online Database

One of the best places to begin research for popular (newspapers, magazines) or trade press is the Lexis-Nexis database.

Once at the database, “Search the news”!  Enter your search terms (try variations, etc. to find something useful—see the note in “Pro Tip” below) and refine your search by date, if you want.  If you are looking specifically for media industry news, when you get your results, you can limit them to “Industry Trade Press” on the left hand margin.  Browse the results to find a few articles that seem useful.

Wikipedia

Wikipedia is a great source and very useful!  You are welcome to use Wikipedia for preliminary research, but you should not include long passages or cite it as a resource because you should always double-check any factual information you find there.  Do not use websites like Wikipedia or AskMen.com as fully reliable sources the way you would use a book or journal article, or content from a reputable newspaper or magazine.  I agree that Wikipedia is typically a very reliable source of information, but it is more a repository of useful knowledge than reputable reference material.  And it never hurts to double-check your information!  (Think I’m being unfair?  Check out what Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales said in fall 2010.  0:34 begins the relevant portion, though it’s all interesting)

  • If Wikipedia is a stop in your research journey, you may want to check the References/Footnotes and External Links provided at the bottom of each page.  Those sources may be useful and cite-able for your project.
  • The same goes for resources like AskMen.com, IMDb, and the online Encyclopedia of Television—these are useful preliminary research sources, but should not be cited as reliable in your work.
  • Seriously: if you are confused about why this is, watch the video linked to above.  It’s short and well-explained.

Pro Tip: Search Terms

  • You may have to try multiple search terms to find what you’re looking for, particularly if a word or two of your text is a very common word.
    • For example: if you are doing research into the television show House and type “house” into Google, you are likely to turn up a lot of random materials on houses.
    • One strategy is to include “TV” or “film” (or whatever) as part of your search terms.  To use the example above, searching “House TV” will turn up more useful materials.
    • Another strategy is to include more information related to your area of interest.  To use the example above, you might search “House FOX” (FOX being the network which aired House) or “House medicine” or “House TV masculinity.”
  • Keep in mind that you may not be able to find materials (particularly scholarly materials) about a specific star, especially if s/he is particularly recent.  If you don’t have any luck searching your star’s name, try searching topics/themes related to your projectFor instance: if you want to discuss Tina Fey’s representation of femininity, try searching “star femininity” or “feminism.”

If you’re having trouble developing search terms, check out this video!  It’s a little corny, but has a lot of great strategies and suggestions.

Writing Resources

I strongly encourage you to avail yourself of the resources at Purdue’s Online Writing Lab as you begin work on your papers.  The OWL is an immense repository of excellent information and guidance on how to write academic papers.

Here is the front page of their research-related resources, including APA, MLA, & Chicago style guides and advice on quoting, summarizing, and paraphrasing your sources.

And here is the front page of their resources on academic writing.  I particularly encourage you to check out their information on constructing thesis statements here.

Citing Films & TV Series

All style guides will include formatting guidelines for citing films & TV series.  Here’s a link to pages featuring these guidelines for MLA, APA, and Chicago.

 

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