Research Methods in American Culture

Spring 2011

Listed in: American Studies, as AMST-68  |  English, as ENGL-95; Robert T. Hayashi (Section 01)

Questions about research in this course? Contact Missy Roser.

  • Databases
  • Reference
  • Full Text
  • Data

Databases: Find articles, book chapters, e-books

Academic OneFile (1980 to present)
Full-text articles from all disciplines.

Academic Search Premier (date coverage varies)
Full-text articles from over 3,600 journals in the social sciences, arts and humanities, and sciences.

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.

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

MLA International Bibliography (1926 to present)
Covers critical scholarship on literature, language, linguistics, and folklore.


Biography in Context
Nearly a million biographical entries spanning history and geography.

Encyclopedia Britannica
Standard general encyclopedia.

Oxford Reference
Digitized entries from Oxford's Dictionaries, Companions and Encyclopedias, spanning multiple subject areas.

Chicago Manual of Style
Provides answers to style and editing questions.

Information on citing government publications, like the census - remember, some databases like American Factfinder and Social Explorer provide information on how to cite tables and maps you make from them (do a search on the sites for how to cite!) 

Garner, D. L., & American, L. A. (1993). The Complete Guide to Citing Government Information Resources: A Manual for Writers & Librarians (Rev. ed.). Bethesda, MD: Congressional Information Service.

AC Frost reference desk / Z7164.G7 G37 1993

Citing government documents in Chicago style


DocsCite is a step-by-step guide to putting government publication citations into proper style format (APA or MLA) using a template; from Arizona State University.

MIT Library's guide to citing data sources


Select Census reference sources in print

Thorndale, William. 1987. Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790-1920. Baltimore: Genealogical Pub. Co. AC Frost Reference / xx / G1201.F7 T5 1987
County and City Data Book. Washington, D.C. U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census. AC Frost reference desk HA202 .A36
 Decennial Census: Overview of Historical Census Issues. AC Frost Stacks / HA201.12 .U55 1998a
Measuring America: The Decennial Censuses from 1790 to 2000. Rev. Washington, D.C: U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Economics and statstics Administration, U.S. Census Bureau. AC Frost Reference / HA37.U62 M42 2002b
State and Metropolitan Area Data Book. Washington, D.C: U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census. AC Frost Stacks / HA202 .S84 / Latest at Ref-Desk; Lib also has online access
Statistical Abstract of the United States. Washington, DC: U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, Bureau of the Census, Data User Services Division. AC Frost Stacks / HA202 .U58 / Copies of latest edition are available both at Ref-Desk & in Sci-Ref; Lib also has online access

Full Text Collections

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

Ancestry Library Edition
Access to more than 1.2 billion names, primary source documents, census records, and images and a variety of genealogical and historical research features.


Historical Statistics of the United States
Standard source for quantitative information about the U.S., updated and includes 37,000 data series.

Online Databases for making tables and maps

U.S. Census Bureau's American Fact finder

Source for population, housing, economic, and geographic data for places in the United States.

Here's how to cite tables and maps drawn from American Factfinder.


Social Explorer

Social Explorer provides easy access to demographic information about the United States from 1790 to the present. To get started, select "Maps" or "Reports."

Here's the FAQ page with an entry on "how do I cite information from social explorer"


Online versions of reference sources for counties, cities and metropolitan areas

State and Metropolitan Area Data Book: 2006

County and City Data Book 2007

Online Versions of Census Questionnaires
Census Questionnaire historical "crosswalk" courtesy of government documents librarian, Grace York
The Census Question Spreadsheet provides the questions and possible answers to the United States Decennial Census of Inhabitants/Population/Housing from 1790 to 2000.
Reference Page about Census Geography, including American Indian territories!
Don't know what something is/what a term means?
Librarian presentation to the class on 2/16/2011