Music Assignment Journal

Many final term papers can be disappointing to read because they are badly written, reflecting inadequate preparation, poor planning, or a paucity of discipline-specific research or writing skills. A lack of engagement with the subject matter often compounds technical or critical thinking problems. Indeed, one of the biggest frustrations for a teacher can be to read final pro­jects that display little or no enthusiasm. This article makes a case for alternative project formats that require the same tools of the trade and discipline specific thinking, but that are more closely aligned with the interests and career goals of music majors or graduate students in performance, music education, theory, conducting, or composition, all of whom are required to take music history courses. By presenting historical research in the format of focused program notes with accompanying recorded performances, classroom lesson plans, educational websites, source readings, or emulation compositions coupled with research essays, for instance, students become more engaged as they discover how music history can have relevance for their careers. This more pragmatic approach allows students to meld praxis and theory, or musicology and musicking while channeling the new technologies of our age to do so.

Citation Chaining

Chaining is a well-established and widely used method of gathering additional sources for a topic: Find one important scholarly work on your topic (sometimes called the “seed document”), and follow up the references that it cites in its footnotes, bibliography or list of references. Those cited works will cite other works in turn, which you can also seek out, and so the chain of citations continues

For the method to work well, it is important to choose the “seed document” carefully. Ideally the “seed” will be a definitive and recent work on the topic, such as a seminal book or a review article. For undergraduate assignments, such a “seed” will often be listed in the Reading List prepared by your lecturer for the course

The method has one obvious disadvantage: it can only take you backwards to older publications on the topic. It cannot help you discover any new literature and latest research. This drawback is overcome using Cited Reference Searching

Cited-Reference Searching

Citation indexes allow you to look forward in time, and find works citing a particular scholarly work (the “seed document”) that were published after the “seed document’s” publication date

The underlying method is similar to that of “Citation Chaining”: if there is a scholarly work that is prominent in your area of research, it may be useful to identify later works that cite that work

The useful citation indexes for Music are Web of Science , Scopus and Google Scholar

See also

Cited Reference Searching


Simple, one-step searching across a range of the Library’s resources, including the Library Catalogue, most library databases, and some digital collections


See also:

MultiSearch (via Summon) – further explanation of this finding tool

Find Books

The Library Catalogue lists books held in the Library's collection

Hints for searching the Library catalogue

See also:

Tutorial: Library catalogue

Finding Music Books

Find Journal Articles

The Library Catalogue lists the print and electronic titles of journals held by the Library. Select the Journal title begins with search option and enter the full journal title

To find articles on your specific topic, you will need to search these recommended databases

See also:

Finding Music Journal Articles


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