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Welcome! Research Guide for Music and Identity: SEMN 256

This guide is intended to help you research topics in Music.

At the top of the Research Guide, navigate through the tabs to locate the specific type of resources you need including reference encyclopedias and dictionaries, books, journals and research databases, and web resources.

About Music and Identity: SEMN 256:

Music serves multiple roles: a force for social transformation, a flag of resistance, a proclamation of cultural identity, a catalyst for expressing emotion, an avenue to experiencing the sacred. Students will look at identity through the lens of contemporary and traditional American music and will consider how race, ethnicity, age, gender, national identity, and other factors express themselves in and are shaped by music. The ability to read music or understand basic music theory is not required; a love of music and an interest in American culture are essential.

Develop a research plan

Develop your research question


What are the key concepts of your question?  Can you broaden or narrow your focus? Consider focusing on one or more of the following:

  • time period
  • place
  • specific event   
  • specific people

Does your research question overlap other subject areas such as sociology, psychology or political science?

Think of 2- 3 questions that you will need to explore.

  • Think about the history of your question, and its categories.
  • Who are the key people? What did they do? Why did it happen?

Under each question, think about the following aspects:

  • What do you already know about your question or issue?
  • What do you need to learn to better understand your question or issue?
  • What kinds of information resources might provide the answer to these questions?

Consider your audience.

  • Who will read your paper?
  • Why will it be of interest to them?
  • What will be new to them?

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