Music Therapy - A Step-by-Step Research Guide

Related Subject Pages:

Step 1: Locate background information on your topic

Consult General & Specialized encyclopedias and other broad readings to find:

For Specialized print encyclopedias, use the Social Sciences/Education Reference collection, Level 1:

Online encyclopedia resources are also available. For example:

List the sources you consult, sub-topics, terminology, authorities on this subject, and titles from bibliographies.

Encyclopedia articles and other sources consulted:

Sub-topics - possible ways to narrow to an issue question:

Terminology (subjects, keywords, phrases):

Authorities on this subject:

Titles of interest from bibliographies:

Return to Top??

Step 2: Narrow your topic and form an issue question

From your background reading, select the sub-topic that interests you. Narrow it by using one or more of the following, and then form your issue question.

Sample issue question:

"What are useful applications for music therapy?"

Your issue question:

Using the chart below, organize your issue question into concepts. Truncate keywords to find all possible alternate endings of the word by adding the correct truncation symbol at the end of the root word. For example, the $ is the truncation symbol in the BYU Library Catalog. By adding a $ to the end of root words the search will retrieve words with alternate endings. Many databases use the * symbol for truncation. To find out what truncation symbol to use for a database, use the database Help screens.

Concept 1

and Concept 2 and Concept 3

List synonyms for Concept 1:


List synonyms for Concept 2:


List synonyms for Concept 3:


Return to Top??

Step 3. Find research material to use in your paper

Now that you have gathered background information and formulated a research question, you are ready to find Books, Articles, Bibliographies, and Internet Resources.


Use the Library Catalog - Alphabetic Search to find specific titles from the bibliographies you noted above. Use the Advanced Keyword Search to find additional books on your issue question. Referring back to the concept chart above, enter your keyword search, one concept for each box. Select search all from the left pull-down box, and select AND from the right pull-down box as shown below.

(Concept 1) search all _________ or __________ AND
(Concept 2) search all _________ or __________ AND
(Concept 3) search all _________ or __________ AND

Click on Search to begin the search. Write down the complete information about each relevant title, including the call number, so that you will be able to locate it. To find additional books, click on the "Subject terms" which directly relate to the focus you have selected.

Books you have found:


Connect to the Databases & Indexes linked below, or select them from Databases A-Z.

Depending on how you have narrowed your subject, other databases listed under Music and Psychology may also be appropriate. If you are having difficulty finding relevant articles, ask for help at the Music & Dance Library Reference Desk, Level 4, or the Social Sciences/Education Reference Desk, Level 1.

List several articles you could use to write a research paper on your specific issue question. Include complete information for each article.

Links to the full-text of articles are found in many databases. For databases which do not link to the full text, use the Journal Finder (Print or Electronic) under Find Articles on the Library Home Page. Enter the periodical's title in the search box.

Sometimes, searching the Library Catalog (Find Books > Library Catalog) using an Alphabetic Search by Periodical Title may also be necessary. Enter the Title of the Journal (not the title of the article) in the search box. Click on Search. Scroll to "Library has:" and compare the volume and year of the citation to the library record.

Articles you have found:


If you need more sources, consult bibliographies at the end of articles, chapters, and books you have found on your subject.

Internet Resources

Look for Selected Web Sites for your subject under Find Articles by Subject. You may also find relevant research materials by using Websites (Directories to the Web). Remember to carefully evaluate what you locate.

Internet resources you have found:

Return to Top

Step 4. Evaluate and select research materials

You will need to evaluate and select the materials to use in your research paper. To do so, determine the following about the materials you have found:

For more information about evaluating materials, see the Basic Research Strategy Guide.

Return to Top??

Step 5. Write drafts, cite sources, and write final paper

Use the sources and information you have found through this guide to write the first draft of your paper. Remember to document your research. The Information Commons Desk, Level 3, has copies of most style manuals (i.e., MLA, APA, etc.), or use the online Style Manuals.

Return to Top??

Comments to