African American Studies 220

  • Fall Semester Hours Mon-Thu: 8:30am-10:00pm; Fri: 8:30am-6pm; Sat: 1-5pm; Sun 1-10pm
  •   SSHEL North (Room 100) and SSHEL South (Room 101), Main Library
  • (217) 244-1864

Introduction to Research Methods in African American Studies

A Guide to Library Resources for African American Studies 220

Spring 2013

Beth Sheehan (

Ellen Swain (

Background Research | Primary Sources & Special Collections | Articles | Books & Journals | Data & Statistics | Citing Sources | Research Assistance

Welcome! This site has been created to assist you finding and using library resources for your AFRO 220 research assignments. Our library is one of the largest publicly funded university library in the world. It can seem a bit overwhelming at first, but it is truly a treasure trove for scholars. All of the University of Illinois Library's resources are available to you as you do your research--so start exploring, have fun, and don't hesitate to ask questions!



Finding background information about a topic is an important step of the research process. Consulting a handbook or subject-specific encyclopedia can help you put your research in a broader context and help point you to areas for further research.

Guidance on Social Science Methods

For this assignments in this course, it may be helpful to consult handbooks that describe methods for doing research in sociology and related disciplines.

More print resources (available in the Social Sciences, Health and Education Library Reference Circulating Collection):

Hints to find more handbooks on social science research:  Browse the shelves at the Social Sciences, Health and Education Library.  The call number range for social science research methodology is 300-301. The New Book, Reference and Reference Circulating areas have the newest guides and handbooks.

African American Background Information

The lists of resources at the following links were compiled by the African American Research Center at the History, Philosophy and Newspaper Library.

University of Illinois Background Information


Primary Sources about the University of Illinois

Student Life and Culture Archives Resources

The Student Life and Culture (SLC) Archives contains primary sources on University of Illinois student life and historical issues.

Guide to African-American Research Resources (Archives)

The Guide to African-American Research Resources is intended as a starting point for finding source materials regarding the history of African-Americans at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. The items it describes are generally not available on-line. They can be used for research in the University Archives.

African American Newspapers, Film, and Primary Source Collections

Identifies articles in major African-American newspapers published in the United States during the 19th century. Contains information about cultural life and history during the 1800s, including first-hand reports of the major events and issues of the day. Also contains early biographies, vital statistics, essays and editorials, poetry and prose, and advertisements.

Features the 3-volume Encyclopedia of African American History 1619-1895, the 3-volume Black Women in America encyclopedia, the 5-volume  Africana encyclopedia of the African and African American experience, and selected articles from other reference works. Also includes  bibliographies, timelines, maps, image collections, and key primary source documents.

Combines several resources for research and teaching in Black Studies: Schomburg Studies on the Black Experience, International Index to Black Periodicals (IIBP), historical black newspapers, and the Black Literature Index.

Features documentaries, newsreels, interviews and archival footage surveying the evolution of black culture in the United States.  Included are films covering history, politics, art and culture, family structure, social and economic pressures, and gender relations.  This current release includes 145 videos totaling 141 hours.



Search databases to find published scholarly articles about research methods, or examples of research studies on similar topics relevant to your research topic. This will help you situate your research in context, and findings by other researchers can be used to help guide your research study.

Plan out your search statement

Search the database and evaluate the results.

Recommended Article Databases

You may also want to try...

Article Databases in Sociology

Databases by subject (Social Sciences, Health, & Education)

Selected Databases from African American Research Center



Library catalogs are used for two purposes. First, if you know exactly what you are looking for, for example you know the exact title of a book or journal or an author's name. Second, you can use library catalogs to find materials that might be helpful to you by doing subject and keyword searching.




Guidelines for citing electronic and print resources are available from the Undergraduate Library's Citation Styles guide and the Social Sciences, Health, and Education Library's Style and Writing Guides.

Need help collecting and organizing your citations and producing a list of works cited? Citation management tools can help! The guide “Citation Management Software Overview” helps users choose a citation management tool and provides links to other guides on specific options like Zotero, Mendeley, and EndNote.




Ask-A-Librarian for Help with Your Research

Use our Ask-A-Librarian Service to IM, chat, email, phone or find a reference librarian.

Contact a librarian to request an appointment for an in-depth Research Consultation.

Finding Your Way Around

There are over 25 departmental libraries on our campus, and sometimes it may be difficult to determine where to find the resources you need. For your class, the libraries that you will be using most are the Social Sciences, Health, and Education Library (SSHEL- Room 100 and Room 101 of the Main Library Building), and the African American Studies Research Center at the History, Philosophy and Newspaper Library (HPNL- Room 246 of the Main Library building). We're looking forward to helping you!

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