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FYS: Understanding Race and Racism: Start Here

Research help for Dr. Mel Johnson's First Year Seminar class.

Selected Books from Smith Library Center

Return to FYS / AES Research Hub


TIP: Clicking Cullen the Parrot when you're on any of the course guides listed below will return you here to the Research Hub.

Subject Headings

A few examples of subject headings relevant to this class (used in Worldcat  and many other databases as well) are below.

Background Information & Electronic Reference Books

Credo Reference

To find articles, go to Credo Reference and search for topics your professor has suggested.  You will get a long list of entries in reference books; notice the title of the encyclopedia each article is published in,  as well as the bibliography (references) provided at the end of each article.  You can also continue your research to another library resource, like WorldCat or Academic Search Complete.

Think of this source as an academic substitute for Wikipedia. 

Search on :  Hate crimes |  Skin bleaching  or colorism |  housing segregation | racial profiling | racism

Begin Your Research with Worldcat

The Frank Smith Library is offering a discovery layer called WorldCat Local.  WorldCat Local pulls together a large number of subscription databases (including SU's Library Catalog) into the search engine, increasing one's chances of finding results by keyword or phrase.  Whenever possible, links are provided directly to the online source identified.

Databases usually allow you to limit or filter your search results in various ways. These may include:

  • language
  • type of publication( articles, books, online resources)
  • date published
  • peer-reviewed
  • years
  • Southwestern owned materials

To the right side of the record you can focus by subject headings.

Having trouble finding the book you need in WorldCat Local?  Try these helpful links:

  • Click here to review the short Worldcat Local Module
  • Try an Advanced Search in WorldCat Local
  • Ask a Librarian
  • Visit the InfoDesk in the library

Where to Find Scholarly Sources

  • What is in a database?    What subjects are being covered (subject specific | multidisciplinary |)? What type of materials (journals, books, book chapters, dissertations,) are included?  Check "Help."
  • What does it search?  Can you search by keyword, subject, author, title.  What does default search mean?  How do you switch to other types of searching?  Is there a drop-down box for subject searching?
  • How does it search?  Connected by OR (any of the words), or AND (all of the words).  OR will broaden a search; AND will narrow a search.
  • Should I search by keyword or subject?  Start with a keyword search. Keyword allows you to search any word or phrase you can think of, and will look in all fields of the record, yet  many of these items may not be relevant to your search.  Then scroll down, and click on the Subject terms listed for that item to find more sources, which are yielding fewer but more relevant results.
  • Does it search controlled vocabulary?  Most databases offer the option of searching by controlled  subject terms .  These terms are collected in an online drop-down thesaurus.
  • What if I can too many results?  Narrow your search by selecting specific dates, language, publication types, and more.  Another quick way is to type more terms in your search box.  Add more concepts.  Also look at the controlled vocabulary (subject headings) assigned to each record page.

Academic Search Complete is a database that covers popular and scholarly journal articles with many full-text articles from a wide range of academic areas. It is one of many databases the library  subscribes to.

 Tip: When you view a full record for an article, read the abstract, or summary, to quickly ascertain if it is relevant to your research. 

Explores a current news issue in-depth each week. Articles typically include features such as an overview and background of the issue, pro-con essays on a question related to the issue, a chronology, and a lengthy bibliography.  Reports are written by “seasoned” journalists and include a link to the author’s brief biography.

Note: CQ Researcher is not a peer reviewed journal.

Full-text database of newspapers and journal articles from ethnic, minority, and native press.  Ethnic NewsWatch includes both English and Spanish languages titles from across the U.S., and the you can narrow your search by ethnic group, and search by keyword, date, title of publication, etc., and has a translation feature.


 JSTOR is a digital library of more than 2,000 academic journals and 2 million primary sources.

The Advanced Search form is especially useful when you want to target a search to a type of content or to a specific discipline.


The Chicano Movement  -- examples of San Antonio School Walkout  or Crystal City , Texas Walkout.

WorldCat Local has the ability to search for books, audiovisual materials, and journals as well as our most popular databases (including Academic Search Complete, JSTOR, and Project Muse). Learn more by viewing the Searching page in this guide.

The library has subscriptions to databases containing scholarly articles in many subject areas. Databases featured in this box are particularly useful for this class.

Reading the abstract will help you decide if the article was what you were looking for, or not.

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Current News (Media and the News)

Finding Newspaper Articles

The library subscribes to multiple databases that index news articles. Sometimes the articles may only be available on microforms. If this is the case, please ask for help at the InfoDesk.

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