Skip to Main Content

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.

Databases for Scholarly Texts (Academic Journal Articles) 

Databases for Periodicals (newspapers, magazines, etc.) 

Databases for Background Information (encyclopedias and reference books)

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.