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The South: Culture and History: Articles

This library guide is designed for researchers studying any topics related to the South's culture and history.

Tips on Searching

Use Boolean searching in library databases to get the best results!

Boolean searching means connecting keywords with one of these four connectors: AND, OR, NOT, "".  Please avoid using common articles and prepositions such as a, an, the, of, from, in, at, in your searchesInstead, try to search with only the most important words and link them together with one of these connectors: AND, OR, NOT, "". Here are some examples: 

 Alabama and history finds documents containing both Alabama and history.

Integration or desegregation finds documents containing either integration or desegregation. 

Prohibition not Texas finds documents containing the word Prohibition but not the word Texas. 

"Civil War" finds the exact phrase Civil War.  Your search will find only documents where Civil and War are right next to each other in every case.

For more on Boolean searching, please see the Crimson Navigate tutorial.

Finding Articles

When searching for articles, you could flip through magazines and newspapers.  However, you can find articles more easily through databases.

A database is a large electronic collection of articles from many magazines, newspapers, and scholarly journals.  Here are some great databases for articles about Southern topics:

  • Academic Search Premier -Very useful for starting an article search.  Contains articles from thousands of magazines, journals, and newspapers. 
  • America: History and Life-the main database for articles about American history and culture. Finds journals for Southern history and the history of specific states.
  • Black Studies Center-offers primary and secondary sources on African-American history.
  • Google Scholar--University of Alabama's portal for Google Scholar.  Google Scholar is a special part of Google that only finds scholarly articles.  As a UA student, you can access the texts of many of these articles by clicking the links that say "Full-Text @ UAlabama".
  • JSTOR-contains thousands of articles from key journals in history, political science, sociology, women's studies, and African-American studies.
  • Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center--offers articles that you help you argue a point of view, like for or against the death penalty.

Many professors may want you to use scholarly articles (also known as peer-reviewed, academic, refereed, juried articles) for your research. 

You can limit your search to scholarly articles in Academic Search Premier by scrolling down on the search screen and checkmarking the "Scholarly (Peer-Reviewed) Journals" box.

To find out how a scholarly article differs from a popular magazine articles, please see the boxes below.


Scholarly Journals vs. Popular Magazines

Scholarly Journals: Popular Magazines:
  • Are written by scholars in a particular field
  • Have bibliographies and/or cite sources
  • Present articles based on research by authorities in a field (not personal opinions)
  • Use a specialized vocabulary
  • Are often "peer reviewed" or approved by a group of experts
  • Are targeted toward a general audience
  • Often have a great deal of advertising
  • Rarely include references to other works
  • Are written by journalists and staff writers
  • May include opinions on current issues
Scholarly Journals: Article Titles Popular Magazines: Article Titles
  • Tend to be more specific
  • May be longer than magazine article titles
  • Describe the subject being discussed
  • Examples:
    • Sustainable Transport for the Developing World: The Social and Environmental Nexus
    • Homicide and Suicide Rates Associated With Implementation of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act
  • Try to catch the reader's attention
  • Are often short and witty
  • May sound like a newspaper headline
  • Examples:
    • Will Bush Turn Green?
    • Taking Aim at the Brady Law
    • Will Education Be Bushwhacked?

How do I tell the difference?

  • Journals often have titles that include words like: journal, quarterly, studies, review, bulletin, or society.
  • The title isn't always a dead giveaway. Sometimes you need to look through a periodical to see what kind it is. Scholarly journals like Nature, Cell, and The Lancet are hard to figure out by name alone.