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AMST 345: Theory and Practice of American Studies

Professor Meredith McCoy -- Winter 2022

Recognizing a Monograph when you see one

A monograph is a scholarly book where one or more authors wrote the whole book as a detailed treatment of a particular topic.

It's separate from an "edited volume," which is a book where different authors are responsible for different chapters, and a "reference work," which is a compilation of facts and information (like an encyclopedia or dictionary).

By Americanists, For Americanists

info_outline Search Catalyst for CDs, DVDs, LPs, and streaming audio and video held by St. Olaf and Carleton.
info_outline Search or browse research and how-to guides curated by your librarians.

These are not all of your options! Try exploring the "subjects" dropdown on the Databases List, or exploring all the databases listed under the American Studies subject.

Finding Journals

Scholarly journals (usually peer reviewed) each tend to have a scope and a reputation all their own.

Two methods for locating journals:
  1. Search through research databases and Catalyst and make note of the journals where interesting and relevant articles are published.
  2. Look through the bibliographies of articles and books you've found and see if there are journals that crop up frequently in the citations for articles.
Evaluating the journals:
  1. Is it peer reviewed?
    There are lots of ways to find this information, and many of the databases will include this in the information about articles and journals that shows up when you open the record (usually you have to scroll down past the abstract). Alternatively, you can look up your journal in Ulrich's Periodicals Directory and that will tell you a whole lot about the publication, including its status as peer reviewed or not.
  2. Who edits, publishes, or distributes the journal?
    The journal's own website or Ulrich's Periodicals Directory will both tell you about the publisher and editors. University presses and large scholarly publishers (Wiley, Elsevier, Sage, etc) are all good signs for your journal. Look for editors who are themselves scholars of American Studies.
  3. What's the journal's impact factor?
    The impact factor (IF) is a measure of the frequency with which the average article in a journal has been cited in a particular year. It is used to measure the importance or rank of a journal by calculating the times it's articles are cited. We do not have access to impact factors for all journals. Here's where to look for impact factors:
    1. Go to Google Scholar Metrics to see top journals in various fields and sub-fields. Use the "category" menu above the journal list to select "Humanities, Literature & Arts" and then "American Literature & Studies." Also try exploring other relevant categories, probably from Social Sciences.
    2. In Web of Science, click "InCites" at the very very top of the page. Use the Journal Profile Search to see if your journal has a profile.