Guide to Asian Studies: Home

Association of Asian Studies

Midwest Conference on Asian Affairs


News from Japan

News from China

Asian Studies at St. Olaf

Follow these links for information about opportunities for studies about Asia:

  • Meet the Faculty and Staff who have special interest in studies regarding Asian history and culture
  • Check out the Courses that relate to Asian studies

Researching Asian Studies at St. Olaf

There are a wealth of materials available on topics of interest to Asian Studies students at St. Olaf.  Follow the tabs above to gather background materials from general reference resources, books, journal articles, statistics, governement documents and websites as appropriate. 

Each class has its own tailored guide under the Research Guides for Individual Classes.

As always, don't hesitate to brainstorm with a reference librarian about your topics or research needs.  Use the IM widget in the lower right-hand corner or the links to phone and email information in the upper right-hand corner of this page.

Rolvaag Reference desk hours are as follows:

Monday - Thursday
10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
7 p.m. - 10 p.m.
10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
1:30 p.m. - 5 p.m.
7p.m. - 10 p.m.

Searching on Region-based Topics


* Because Asian Studies is an interdisciplinary approach to subject matter, one should always search for materials from a geographical perspective and a topical/disciplinary perspective. This means you might look for material on Asian music both in an index to music journals as well as an index to Asian Studies journals.

* Because this is a senior seminar, your topics will be more narrowly focused than when you did introductory research in the area. However, tertiary sources (encyclopedias and handbooks) and bibliographies may still prove to be very useful. You may want to skip them initially to jump right into primary or secondary literature; then come back to fill in gaps in statistics, chronologies, citations for specific topic areas, etc.

* As always, you must take care to evaluate your material. Who wrote/posted it? What are their credentials? Is the material from an academic (scholarly publisher or .edu site on the web) or proprietary source (commercial publisher or .com site)? Is the material current for the topic? If a website, when was it last updated? Is that important? Etc.


Creating A Search Strategy


Select a topic and state it in the form of a question or hypothesis.
Identify the main ideas in your question or hypothesis
Select key words or terms in your hypothesis.
Think of possible synonyms for these terms.
Now, formulate a search strategy using Boolean logic. Remember to use:

OR to allow the search to retrieve any one, but not necessarily all, of your terms
This will BROADEN your search.

AND to specify all the terms/ideas which must appear in the retrieved record.
This will NARROW your search.

Think about which disciplines might be interested in your topic.  It is useful to search for materials from geographical, topical/disciplinary (i.e. political science, economics, sociology) perspectives. This means if you are asking how the treatment of women in Vietnam encourages or discourages development, you might look for resources focused on Vietnam, women and/or families, political science, public affairs, economics, and sociology. Widen the lens to sources on Asia, if necessary.  Use these areas of interest to choose the journal databases  to find articles.

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