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Musicology 455: Jazz History   Tags: blues, bop, history, jazz, music, swing  

Last Updated: Sep 22, 2017 URL: Print Guide

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Miles Davis resting backstage at the Los Angeles Shrine Auditorium "Just Jazz" Concert, 1950
(image tagged as being in the public domain)
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Evaluate What You Find

Evaluating the resources you find is an essential part of the research process. See this guide to hints on evaluation of books and articles and this guide to evaluating Internet resources.


Your Assignment

Research Paper


  • learn about a Jazz performer, topic, or issue in depth
  • think about a subject and write an arguable thesis
  • develop bibliographic and analytical skills
  • evaluate electronic sources
  • present you research in a scholarly manner


1. Thesis Consultation (10 points)

  1. Begin with an area, artist, or topic in Jazz that you are interested in—a broad topic: “Bass playing.”
  2. Do some background research on that topic (textbooks, Google). “Oh, I didn’t know that they used gut strings until the 1960s.”
  3. Develop a working thesis. (See the thesis page on Moodle). Make a claim that is interesting and arguable. “The timbre of pizzicato gut strings is preferable to steel.”
  4. Research more (Library, EbscoHost, RILM) and modify your thesis based on the material you find.
  5. Email your thesis ( no later than 11:59pm, Friday, September 29th.

2. Research Consultation (15 points) and Bibliography Draft (50 points)

  1. We will have individual paper consultation appointments via sign-up on Monday, October 9th.
  2. Bring hard copies, pdf files, or stable urls for all of your sources to the meeting.
  3. Bring a draft of your bibliography. Format in Chicago Style. See Turabian, chapter 16, and the quick guide on Moodle. Remember: we’re using the examples marked “B.”
  4. Your Bibliography must contain at least 6 sources. Two of them must be non-electronic, and at least one must be a recording.

3. Paper Draft (75 points) and Updated Bibliography (25 points)

  1. 5-7 pages plus bibliography.
  2. Cite sources and format according to Turabian (Chicago) “Notes and Bibliography” style with footnotes. 12 point font, one-inch margins.
  3. Bring a hard copy to class on Monday, October 30th. 

4. Final Paper (125 points)

   Post your hard copy in the envelope on my door before noon on Saturday, November 18th.


Using Bibliographies to Find Sources

Books, encyclopedias and other scholarly materials contain bibliographies. There are also books that are exclusively bibliographes. For jazz history these two books in the library's reference area may be particularly helpful:

Meadow, Eddie S. Jazz Reference and Research Materials: A Bibliography. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1981. Reference ML128.J3 M33 1981

______________. Jazz Research and Performance Materials: A Selected Annotated Bibliography. 2nd ed. Garland Library of Music Ethnology, vol. 4. Garland Reference Library of the Humanities, vo. 1471. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1995. Reference ML128.J3 M33 1995


    Contact the Music Librarian

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    Antoinette Powell
    Contact Info
    (920) 832-6995
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    Track Your Progress

    RefWorks is a web-based citation manager provided by the library. Our subscription to RefWorks lets you create a database of your research. Entries, including abstracts of articles, can be downloaded directly from a number of online research sources, or you can create records for articles, books, websites, and more. RefWorks has the added benefit of allowing you to include notes on your research. Bibliographies can be drafted from the entries in your RefWorks database in AAA, ACS, APA, Chicago, and MLA style, plus dozens of formats for publication in specific journals.


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