Reference Question of the Week: Where can I find scholarly articles about popular TV shows?

As always, make sure to first log into Esearch. Your Esearch username and password is the same as your Spartan Domain username and password. By logging into Esearch you can access the databases from anywhere in the world.

My first choice for an example topic was American Horror Story. This series has only been on the air for one season, and after searching in four databases and finding nothing, I decided to select another television show. Keep in mind that scholarly publication is slow. So, older television shows, and shows with a lot of critical acclaim and popularity, will be more likely to be covered in scholarly journals.

My next choice was Twin Peaks, an early 1990s series created and directed by David Lynch.

I found a substantial number of results in ProQuest. I’ll scan through several of the front page results to help me think through the topic and/or research question I want to address in my paper.

I searched through several other databases, but only found a handful of items in Academic Search Complete, Project Muse, and JSTOR.

Keep in mind that I was only looking for peer-reviewed articles about that show. Other items you might consider for your research are reviews of the show. (I used LexisNexis to find early reviews of the show. I used the term “twin peaks” in quotation marks, then added the name Lynch. I then used the drop down menu next to the sort tool to sort from oldest to newest. That way I got reviews of the television show from when it was first aired.)

Also, don’t forget to search our online catalog. I searched hoping we might have a book on David Lynch. We didn’t, but it turns out we have the DVD of the television series.

Don’t despair if you don’t find sources immediately. Dead ends are a part of the research process. If you check the databases mentioned above and still don’t find anything, stop by the reference desk and ask one of our librarians for help.


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