Research Methods in American Culture

Spring 2014

Listed in: American Studies, as AMST-468; Kiara M. Vigil (Section 01)

Questions about research in this course? Contact Michael Kelly, Missy Roser.

  • Databases
  • Reference
  • Data
  • Primary Sources

Databases: Find articles, book chapters, e-books

America, History & Life (1964 to present)
Covers the world's scholarly literature on the history and culture of the United States and Canada.

AnthroSource (1988 to present)
Developed by the American Anthropological Association (AAA), AnthroSource indexes 100 years of anthropological material.

Arts & Humanities Database
Full-text publications that focus on art, architecture, design, history, philosophy, music, literature, theatre and cultural studies.

ATLA Religion Database (1949 to present)
Index to journal articles, essays, and book reviews in the field of religion.

Black Studies Center (25,000 BC to present)
Black Studies Center is a tool that supports research, teaching, and learning in Black Studies covering aspects of the black experience such as history, literature, political science, sociology, philosophy, and religion.

CIAO: Columbia International Affairs Online (1991 to present)
A comprehensive source for theory and research in international affairs.

Education Database (ProQuest) (1988 to present)
Coverage spans the literature on primary, secondary and higher education as well as special education, home schooling and adult education.

ERIC (1966 to present)
Covers research documents, journal articles, technical reports, program descriptions and evaluations, and curricular materials in the field of education.

Film and Television Literature Index with Full Text
Bibliographic and full-text database of film and television articles from scholarly and popular publications. Includes images from the MPTV Image Archive of entertainment photography.

PsycInfo (1887 to present)
Covers the academic literature in psychology and related disciplines including psychiatry, sociology, education, and other areas.

Social Science Database (ProQuest)
Covers academic literature for disciplines ranging from anthropology, sociology, and political science to communication, education, criminology, demography, economics and more.


American National Biography
Information on over 17,400 men and women.

Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History
Articles surveying all aspects of the black diaspora; strongest on U.S.

Encyclopedia of American Studies
Leading reference work for American Studies, with searchable articles and accompanying bibliographies, related websites, illustrations, and supplemental material.

Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture
Provides a comprehensive, multidisciplinary view of Latin American history and culture from prehistoric times to the present.

Amherst College Biographical Record (Frost Reference and Stacks LD152.3 .A52 1993)

American Decades (Frost Reference E169.12 .A419 1994) can give you a sense of major events in twentieth-century American history and culture.

Zotero (our library page that walks you through configuring)
1. Go to and download Zotero Standalone, the right-hand option on the page. This requires two steps:
  a. the Zotero application, which will automatically recognize what OS you’re running
  b. the browser extension, which should also automatically highlight the browser you’re using

2. Register for a Zotero account at


American Factfinder is the U.S. Census Bureau's tool for exploring contemporary data (our census research guide can help explain how the census is structured).

Ancestry Library provides full images of U.S. Census records up to the 1940 Census (information about individuals is available 70 years after the census is taken) and other resources such as selected newspaper obituaries, immigration records, and military records.

Social Explorer (1790 to present)
User-friendly access to data from the U.S. Census, American Community Survey, religious congregations, and other sources, with options to create thematic and interactive maps and reports.

Historical Statistics of the United States and Statistical Abstract of the United States can provide aggregated tables and charts covering various aspects of social, political and economic conditions of the United States.

Primary Sources

Primary-source collection descriptions from WorldCat records and archival finding aids.

U.S. Congressional Serial Set (1817-1976)
Reports, documents and journals of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Preceded by American State Papers.


Access World News (Newsbank) (date coverage varies)
Electronic editions of over 2,600 local, regional, and national U.S. newspapers as well as 1,500 international sources. Fully searchable and browsable by map.

LEXIS-NEXIS Academic Universe (date coverage varies)
Full-text federal and state laws, international legal materials, and law reviews. Also newspapers and business information.

Newsstand (ProQuest)
Full text for over 1,300 local, regional and national newspapers, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, Hartford Courant, Los Angeles Times, and more.

Alternative Press Index (1969 to present)
Covers alternative, radical and left periodicals, newspapers and magazines.

Alt-PressWatch (1970 to present)
Full-text newspapers, magazines, and journals of the alternative and independent press.

Ethnic NewsWatch (1959 to present)
News and analysis from ethnic popular and scholarly publications.


America's Historical Newspapers (1690-1980)
Searchable archive of American newspapers including Early American Newspapers, Series I and II (1690-1922) and Hispanic American Newspapers (1808-1980).

Historical Newspapers (ProQuest)  [coverage goes back to first issues]
Combined search of the historic Boston Globe, Chicago Defender, Chinese Newspaper Collection, Los Angeles Times, New York Amsterdam News, New York Times, Times of India, and Washington Post.

Chronicling America (1860-1922)
Search or browse hundreds of newspapers through the Library of Congress National Digital Newspaper Program. Includes descriptions of papers, and images are downloadable.