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MUL 200: Music Literature Laboratory

The Research Process


Step One: For this assignment, you will need to focus on something specific related to music in the country you are working with. Start with a general source to get an overview of possible topics:


Step Two: Refine your topic idea, developing a research question:

  • What is unique about the gamelan music of Java, Indonesia?


Step Three: Now you need to determine the types of information that will help answer your research question, AND who would create that information.


  • descriptions of the gamelan
  • analysis of music written for gamelan
  • analysis of music production


  • scholars
  • musicologts/ethnologists
  • performers/composers


Step Four: Now you are ready to begin your search for information.  The type of information, and the author, will impact where you look.  Generally, these will be your paths:

  • Library resources - for scholarly information authored or edited by researchers; also recordings
  • Google - for general information, for interviews with current performers

Finding Scholarly Information

We can use these sources to find scholarly information and performance interpretation:

Evaluating Authority

In evaluating information the concept of Authority generally refers to the author's  (or if not an individual author, the organization's) credibility, i.e. why are they qualified to create this particular information. 

To help evaluate this:

  •      Look for information about the author/organization within the information itself
  •      For individuals, search the databases by Author to see examples of other scholarly writing
  •      Also for individuals, see if the author is cited in other information you have found
  •      Google the author's name( or the organization, if an unsigned source) to see if you find out more about them
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