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Music: Music Databases & Research Strategies

Research Steps


How to Search Through a Database:


  • Select one from the "Home - Get Help" Tab

BEGIN SEARCH WITH 4-5 KEYWORDS related to your topic.

  • Start off your search by using 1-2 of your keywords.            
  • Use more keywords when you need to narrow or broaden search.


  • There are filters on the search bar that allow you to search by title, author, or text.
  • Filters on the left-hand side can adjust: Date of publication, peer-reviewed, language, etc.

NARROW or BROADEN SEARCH with these tricks:

  • AND will narrow your results.
  • OR will broaden your results (think: or means more!).
  • NOT will narrow your results by avoiding unwanted terms.
  • “ “ (QUOTATION MARKS) will search for the EXACT phrase in quotation marks.
  • * (ASTERICK) will broaden your search by finding all potential forms of that word. (Ex: prevent* will give you prevention, prevents, preventative, etc.)

CITE SOURCES using Chicago 

Music Databases


Popular Music Databases:

Find the complete list of music databases here.

What is a Scholarly Text?

Scholarly Texts:


A scholarly text is a piece of writing that was written by a researcher for the purposes of expanding knowledge in a particular field. Generally these are published in academic journals or books. Scholarly texts are NOT for the purposes of entertainment, to sell a product, or the spreading news. For this reason you are not going to find scholarly texts in popular magazines or newspapers.

Here are tips for researching:

  • When in doubt, search for "peer-reviewed" articles. All "peer-reviewed" articles are scholarly texts. 
  • Do your research in a database that contains ONLY scholarly texts. JSTOR is an example of this.