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Dance: Interdisciplinary Research

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Interdisciplinary Research


Interdisciplinary research, whether research which seeks to draw connections between between dance and gender studies, or attempts to inform research in dance by using the literature of psychology, is best addressed by using the KSL Summon Search Engine. Summon is a metasearch engine which searches all resources -- print and online -- which KSL makes available to you. These include all catalog records in our online catalog and the OhioLINK catalog, the full text of all our online journals, all the indexing and abstracting in our research databases, and all our full text databases. It uses a relevancy algorithmn to sort search results and this algorithmn is most likely to give you your most relevant results first if it works with small sets of results as well as working within specific facets of your research, be that results which share the same indexed terms or come from the literature of the same discipline. Below is an example of a search strategy which tries to maximimize the retrieval of highly relevant results in Summon searches.

Using Summon to find Online Journal Articles:

Go to and in the upper right hand corner, the search box is the basic search in Summon.

Overall strategy: execute searches which generate a large number of citations and then use various filters to reduce the results to a manageable set.

Step 1: format your search after giving careful thought to the terms which most accurately represent your topic on a broad level. The best searches are small strings of nouns. Terms are connected by logical operators: AND, OR, NOT, but the AND operator is understood and doesn’t need to be explicitedly included. Generally avoid terms such as: relationship, effect, or impact which relate search terms to each other. You may use a single asterisk to stand in for multiple characters: wom*n = woman or women, music* = music or musician or musical. Phrases should be put in quotes: “united states”.

Step 2: apply as many mechanical limits as possible. For online journal articles, apply the following limits from the left hand sidebar: under Refine Your Search click on Full Text Online, Scholarly & Peer-Review; and under Content Type click on Journal Article (this will eliminate some of the journal articles which are book reviews).

Step 3: limit to a discipline. This means you are interested in looking for articles in the journal literature of that specific discipline. Under Discipline click More … and choose a discipline.

Step 4: close the Discipline box. Open Subject Terms (click on Subject Terms and then More…). These are terms which show up in the indexing for an article or the full text of an article. Choose one (or two) which seems relevant to your topic.

Step 5: Close the Subject Terms box. Browse the results to find relevant articles. There are a number of ways to browse quickly and effectively:

a. Note the article title.

b. Note the name of the journal. This may help you understand the author’s perspective on a subject.

c. Mouse over the title of the article and you will generally get a summary of the article.

d. In the article summary, note the Subjects at the bottom of the summary. These are also clues to content.

e. Access the full text and download to your computer. Use the Find command to see if certain terms related to your topic are present and where they appear in the article.

Step 6: If an article look promising, click on the small folder icon to the right of the article’s title. This will place the article in a save folder for as long as you stay in Summon. If you leave Summon you will lose your saved articles.

Step 7: The key to this search strategy is step 7, which is a reiteration of steps 3-6: Once you have browsed articles under one subject heading, go back, unclick your choice under Subject Terms (and sometimes even Discipline) and choose another to work with. Repeat the process of browsing and saving. Do this as long as you like, choosing different subject terms, different disciplines, even modifying your original search. Browse and save from these sets of articles.

Step 8: When you feel you have enough articles, click on your saved articles folder in the upper right-hand corner. Note that you can reformat the list in various citation formats such as MLA or Chicago/Turabian. Be sure to email the list (in its original or Summon format) to yourself. By doing so you will receive a list which retains links to the full text.

Note that you do not have to use both limits by Discipline and by Subject Terms. Sometimes you will find that the Subject Terms work better by themselves, even implying literatures which are not represented under Discipline.

Using EBSCO databases for Interdisciplinary Research:

Many of the database for which we provide access are provided by the vendor EBSCO and a common interface to those databases allows one to search across multiple disciplines at once. This can provide very focused searching across the literature of several disciplines, such as music and literature, or music education and psychology. The procedure below describes how to do so:

Using EBSCO databases to search across disciplines:

Go to and in the upper right hand corner, click on Databases. Select the database International Bibliography of Theatre & Dance.

Step 1. Click on "Choose Databases" which is immediately above the search box.

Step 2. From the popup list check "PsycINFO" which indexes the literature of psychology.

Step 3. Click OK and you will be returned to the search boxes. To check which databases you are searching at anytime, click on "Show All" above the databases.

Step 4. Your searching will now look in both databases. Once you get a results list, the bottom of the left-hand sidebar will list the number of results from each of the databases.