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HONR 211: Music and Power: Home


This guide will walk you through some of the resources that you can use to find books, scholarly articles, and score about music works, articles, and other topics using library resources. If you have any questions not answered in this guide, feel free to contact me!

You can also go though this step-by-step walkthrough of the research process designed specifically for this course.


Short Paper #2

Select one of the following songs, research its genesis, and make an argument for why the song is or should be considered “American” music. When researching your paper, consider some of the following questions: When was the song composed and performed? Who created the song, and was it characteristic of that person’s output? What event(s) and/or circumstance(s) was the songwriter responding to? What message or story is being conveyed? How does the music (i.e., the melody, harmonies, instrumentation, tempo, etc.) contribute to the semantic meaning of the lyrics? You should include an APA-style References page that includes citations (and weblinks) for recordings of your chosen musical works, as well as any other sources you cite.

Choose one of the following songs: (1) Billie Holiday, “Strange Fruit”; (2) Woody Guthrie, “Deportee”; (3) Woody Guthrie, “Pretty Boy Floyd”; (4) Bob Dylan, “Masters of War”; (5) Bob Dylan, “Only a Pawn in Their Game”; (6) Bob Dylan, “The Times They Are a Changin’”; (7) Nina Simone, “Mississippi Goddam”; (8) Sam Cooke, “A Change is Gonna Come”

Short Paper #2 Due: March 8, in class

Research Question & Annotated Bibliography (25 points): Before writing your research proposal, submit your research question – phrased as precisely as possible and stated as a question. In the same document, create an annotated bibliography of at least five sources that provides a sense of existing scholarship on your topic. At least four of the five sources should be peer-reviewed. Write a full citation for each source, followed by a brief description of the source’s argument and what it means for your nascent argument. This assignment should be approximately one page, single-spaced. Each annotation should be three to four sentences long.

Research Question & Annotated Bibliography Due: March 16, noon

Research Proposal (50 points): Before drafting your research paper, prepare a formal research proposal with the following sections. The same citation rules apply to proposals as to full-length papers, so include APA- or Chicago-style citations for any material drawn from sources. Your proposal should be 3–4 pages, double-spaced, not including the source list.

  • Introduction: Present your research topic, question, and working/provisional thesis.
  • Literature Review: Review relevant scholarship and explain how your project contributes to the existing scholarly conversation (e.g., by filling a gap, connecting ideas in a new way, or injecting new information into an old debate).
  • Methods: Explain which fields of study you will draw upon (e.g., musicology, philosophy, sociology, psychology) and describe the kinds of sources you will use (e.g., books and articles, music recordings, videos, social media, etc.).
  • Significance: Why is your research question worth asking and answering? Who cares? So what?
  • Source List: Create a list of six or more sources in either APA or Chicago Style. It should not be annotated.

Research Proposal Due: April 6, noon

Research Paper

Select a specific musical work, artist, or debate that demonstrates a power struggle of some kind and is situated in a specific historical moment, either past or present. In a 2500- to 3000-word essay (roughly 8 to 10 pages), make a researched argument about how your selected topic fits into a larger debate or conflict. You should use at least eight sources in your paper; five of which should be scholarly and peer-reviewed. You should use a combination of primary and secondary sources, respond to scholars who have published on your topic, and clearly explain how your argument contributes to existing scholarly literature. You may write using either MLA or Chicago Style.

Research Paper Draft Due:  April 19, in class

Research Paper Due: May 11, noon

Manage & Organize

ProQuest RefWorks - Source citation tool

Please sign into your RefWorks account. Keep RefWorks open in a tab at the top of your web browser.