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GSWS 215: Gender & Popular Culture

This course examines how women are represented in a variety of genres in popular culture (for example, television, advertising, music, fiction, film and the Internet). Students will engage in an analysis of the historical, social and cultural contexts.

Some Thoughts Before You Begin

Women and gender studies is an interdisciplinary topic that touches on many different subject areas.

Choose a topic that interests you. Your assignments and research or for your own benefit, as well as for marks. You should be interested in what you are researching.

Have you developed your topic? A topic for a paper or assignment needs to be specific in order to provide focus. Can you form your thesis as a question and provide answers to your question through research?

Develop your keywords. Start broad and then narrow them down. 

Know how to evaluate sources for accuracy, credibility, and scholarly content. 

Keep a list of references/resources you have consulted. Also called a research log. 

Search Strategies

Subject Searching

Subject headings are words used to describe what books or articles are about. They are consistent terms used throughout the catalogue or database.

For example:

feminism (SU) AND "popular culture" (SU)

Keyword Searching

A great starting point to give you a general overview of the results and resources available. You may need to add more keywords to narrow results. 

Search Efficiency

You are a busy person, don't waste your time scrolling through pages of irrelevant search results. Developing good search terms and using filters and limiters in databases will provide more efficient searching. If you can narrow your search results to <200 you should find some highly relevant content. 

Ideas for narrowing results: Add a geographical area (such as Canada), use the publication date limiter and limit to the last 5 or 10 years, use the subject search function to search subject headings, and use the advanced search feature. 

Subject Heading Searches

Subject headings are words used to describe what books are about. They are consistent terms used throughout the catalogue.

Feminist theory
Popular culture
Sex discrimination
Women--Political activity
Women--Social conditions

Call number browsing

Books on the shelf are organized by subject area. Find a few good call numbers and then start browsing for related titles. Most books specifically on feminism, gender or women's studies are in the HQ range, however, due to the cross-disciplinary nature of gender studies, many other parts of the library's collection cover relevant topics. 

BF 692 - 692.5  Psychology, sex and gender
E 185
GV 706
HB 72  Economics and social justice
HD 6053 - 6223 Women and work
HQ 12 - 449  Sexual life
HQ 75 - 76.9 Bisexual, gay and lesbian studies
HQ 77 - 77.95 Transgender studies
HQ 503 - 1064 Marriage and the family
HQ 1075 - 1075.5 Sex role
HQ 1101 - 2030.7 Women and feminism
HQ 1121 - 1150 Women's history
HV 6626 Domestic abuse
KF 4758 Legislation and women's rights
P 94  Women in the media
PN 56
PN 471 - 494   Women writers and women in literature
PN 1995
RA 564.83 - 564.9 Health and gender, health and sexuality
RC 451.4 - 451.5 Mental health and gender, mental health and ethnicity
HM 1096

In the academic sense, articles are from academic journals, newspapers, magazines, and other publications. The best place to find academic articles is through indexes and databases. Searching through your Library provides access to thousands of articles that are not freely available on the Internet.

Find articles using OCtopus, the Library's search engine, or search individual databases by reviewing the A-Z list. 

Using Google Scholar? Authenticate as an OC student prior to your search so you have full access to content licensed through Okanagan College. 

Library Jargon

Abstract: A summary of an article, generally a sentence to a paragraph in length. Find abstracts in databases to get an overview of an article or study.
Anthology: A collection of pieces by more than one author brought together as one work.
APA: American Psychological Association. APA citation style is used to reference sources in a variety of subjects, including psychology, human kinetics, health, and others.
Article: A document within a journal, magazine, or newspaper issue. Usually written by one or more named authors.
Bibliography: A list of books and/or documents used to write an assignment.
Boolean Operators/Logic: A word—such as AND, OR, or NOT—that commands a computer to combine search terms. Helps to narrow (AND, NOT) or broaden (OR) searches.
Call Number: A system of arranging books so that they are shelved together by topic. Each book has a call number (a combination of letters and numbers).
For example, most books about Africa will have call numbers which begin with the letters DT. OC Library uses the Library of Congress call number system..
Circulation Desk: The counter in the library where books are borrowed for use outside the library.
Citation: A brief description of a publication such as a journal article or book. It contains sufficient details to enable you to locate the publication. For example, author name, title of article, journal title, year, volume number, pages.
Databases Database: A collection of information stored in an electronic format that can be searched by a computer. A library database contains articles from journals, magazines, and in some cases, books. The database records for articles may include abstracts or full text access.
Edited Book:A book which has an editor or editors rather than author(s), usually because each chapter has been contributed by a different person. Textbooks are often considered edited books.
Embargo: A full text delay to access an article from a database or journal. The length of time varies by publisher.
E-Journal: Full text or abstracts of journal articles from a specific journal title, available electronically.
Full-text: The entire content of an item, such as an article or book, available in electronic format. Some databases contain the full text of journal articles or book chapters.
Hold: A request by a user to a library that a book checked out to another person be saved for that user when it is returned. Holds can generally be placed on any regularly circulating library materials.
Index: Printed or electronic publication that provides references to periodical articles or books by their subject, author, or other search terms, OR a list of names or topics usually found at the end of a publication, that directs you to the pages where those names or topics are discussed within the publication.
Inter-Library Loan (ILL): A free library service allowing you to request books and journal articles not owned by OC Library. Look for the "Where Can I Get This?" link that appears in databases, OCtopus, and Google Scholar.
Journal: A print or electronic information source that is published at regular intervals under the same title. Each individual issue (or part) of a journal will consist of a collection of articles written by different authors on very specific topics. May also be known as serials/ periodicals/ magazines. Journals in the Library often contain scholarly information and research. Some journals are peer reviewed, but not all. Example: Journal of Applied Psychology
Keyword: A single term or short phrase that best define the main points of your research topic. Keywords are used for searching catalogues and databases for material on your topic.
Library Catalogue: A web-based searchable catalogue of OC Library's books, audio-visual materials, and journals. The Library Catalogue may be searched anywhere on or off-campus.
Magazine: A collection of articles generally written by staff or freelance writers and aimed at the general public. Articles tend to be brief with no references listed or credentials of the author given. Example: Fortune
Peer-Reviewed:This refers to the process by which a journal or article has been checked by an editorial board of experts to ensure that it contains genuine scholarly research. Sometimes peer reviewed articles are referred to as 'academic' or 'scholarly' articles.
Periodical or Serial: A publication which is issued periodically, such as a magazine, journal or newspaper.
Primary Source: Original manuscripts. contemporary records or documents used by a researcher in writing a book or article which would then form the secondary literature. Letters, photographs, interviews, government documents, historical records, and personal papers are some examples.
Record: A description of each individual item contained in a database or Library Catalogue. In a database, a record may often be referred to as a result or hit.
Reference: A brief description of a publication such as a journal article or book. It contains sufficient details to enable you to locate the publication. For example, author name, title of article, journal title, year, volume number, pages.
Reference Source: Used frequently for general information regarding a process or a definition of a term, or background information on a subject. Types of reference materials may include encyclopedias, dictionaries, indexes, almanacs, handbooks, statistical directories, biographical handbooks and other related materials.
Reserve: A collection of books and articles needed for specific class assignments kept at the Circulation/Reserve Desk. These materials have short check-out periods and some must be used in the library.
Scholarly or Authoritative: The more authoritative a resource is, the more trustworthy the information is. Things that make a source more authoritative include: listing of the author's name; author's credentials; listing of the sources the author used; and peer review.
Secondary Source: Materials such as books and journal articles that analyze primary sources. Secondary sources usually provide evaluation or interpretation of data or evidence found in original research or documents such as historical manuscripts or memoirs.
Volume: Issues of a periodical are combined to form a single volume over a period of time, usually a year.

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