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Stories & Soundscapes: Literature, Music, & Life Experience

Assignment ** Statistics ** Immigration Issues ** Authors & Musicians


You'll need to find several different types of information to thoroughly complete your final project, including:

1. statistical/demographic information about your chosen community
2. immigration trends in that community, i.e., which nationalities/ethnicities are moving there?
3. issues surrounding immigration in the community, including reasons why that population may be moving there, as well as the issues they face upon arrival and their effect(s) on the community
4. an author or musician who either identifies with that nationality/ethnicity or whose work addresses similar issues

Finding Statistical Information

1. Social Explorer
This database uses census data to generate visual representations (maps, graphs, etc.) of statistical information.
**Note: This database asks you create an individual account; this is only so that you may quickly access later any graphs, maps, or tables you may have been analyzing.**


-after you've created an account, type in a geographic region (zip code or city or state) to begin exploring the data in the community you chose
-click on the "change data" box in the upper-left, then choose categories such as "race," "native/foreign born," and "ancestry" to begin to piece together the demographic data for your community

2. Migration Policy Institute - choose the "Research & Initiatives" option from the top menu bar, then click "Data Hub" on the right.  "State Immigration Data Profiles" might be the most helpful place to start; you can choose the state in which your chosen population lives, then scroll down to find the population that originated in a certain country.

3.'s "State and County QuickFacts" - choose your state, then county or city to explore data from that region

4. Google Advanced Search - use the "site or domain" option near the bottom to type ".gov", then use your community and/or the nationality/ethnicity you're studying as keywords - this will enable you to quickly discover information that might be buried in state and local government websites.

5. Historical Statistics of the United States - REF HA202. H57
If you think your project might benefit from exploring the history of immigration and related issues in your community, try this set of books in the reference section.


Researching Immigration Issues

News Sources
You will want to consult news sources (magazines & newspapers) to determine what immigration-related topics have made the news in the community of your choice.  You may be able to use a general database such as Academic Search Premier, but LexisNexis is a database that specifically focuses on news sources.

Access LexisNexis by clicking the yellow "Databases" tab, "Databases A-Z," then "L."

To use LexisNexis to find local news sources:

1. Click the arrow in the "Search by Content Type" box; then choose "All News," then "Advanced Options"
2. First, narrow to the state in which your population resides.
3. Type your keyword(s) in the search box at the top.  These may be as general as just the word "immigration," or as specific as the ethnicity/nationality you've already identified.
4. Try your search.  If you get too many results, return to the search screen and add additional search terms.

Scholarly Sources
You may also be interested to know if there have been any scholarly analyses of the immigration issues related to the community or the nationality/ethnicity you chose.

There is a lot of research on immigration issues in many social science disciplines, including political science and sociology.

Try the databases Sociological Abstracts and Political Science Complete to find scholarly research.

Identifying Authors & Musicians, and Finding Their Work

It may be most effective to use Google to identify a musician or artist whose work focuses on the same immigration issues you've chosen to examine, and/or who self-identifies with the ethnicity/nationality you're studying. When using internet sources, be sure you can identify the following:

1. Authorship: Who wrote the website? What makes them knowledgable/credible?
2. Currency: How old is this information? If it's not recent, are you using the information appropriately (e.g., to provide historical context)?
3. Bias: Might the site intentionally present information in a biased way?  Why? Be sure to acknowledge this bias as you incorporate the information.

If you've chosen an author, check ALiCat and I-Share to see if they have published any books.  While the library does have some sound recordings, you might also try searching iTunes, YouTube, Spotify, Soundcloud, etc.

You will also want biographical information, and possibly reviews and/or scholarly criticism of the work you find.

Databases with information about artists and their work:

Credo Reference - a compilation of hundreds of specialized encyclopedias; see if you can find an entry for your musician/author
Literature Resource Center
- includes scholarly articles, authors' works, and biographical material
JSTOR - information about both art and music; use the "Advanced Search" link then scroll to the bottom of the page to narrow your sources to either "art" or "music"
Art & Architecture Complete - includes reviews and scholarly articles about artists and their work

**Help! There's no link to the full text!**

1. If there's a full-text link in the database you're in, just click on it!
2. If you don't see a full-text link, go to the library homepage and click the "Journals & Magazines" tab. Enter the title of the journal to see if the full text is available somewhere else.
3. If Augustana doesn't own the article you're looking for, click on "Interlibrary Loan" under "Research Tools" on the left side of the homepage. It's free, and you'll usually get the article within 3-5 days.


Need help? Ask a librarian! Visit our help page.

Created by Anne Earel, Reference Librarian. Updated October 2014.