Gender Studies

Resources and tips for Gender and Culture in MENA and Gender, Politics, and Consumerism in a Global Context.

BEFORE you dive into your research…

  • Create a personal JSTOR account (instructions in Library folder of Student Information course in itslearning )
  • Familiarize yourself with JSTOR’s My Lists feature
  • Customize the settings in your Google Scholar account (use an active email):
    • Add library link to VCU
    • Activate saving of citations to My Library
    • Explore Metrics feature (and labels if you wish to use those)
    • Set search Alerts if desired (require an active email)
  • Decide on an organizational strategy and a note-taking method. If you need ideas, consult with Ms. DeGroat, Ms. Cross, or Dr. Anderson.
  • Start your CMS-style source list in Noodle Tools (and revalidate your NT account)
  • Submit a MLWGS university borrowing form to Ms. DeGroat in exchange for a VCU Library pass so you’re ready to borrow books from VCU Libraries.

Language Matters

As you do your preliminary research, build a list/map of potential search words by paying attention to the language used to discuss the topic and to named people, events, places, court cases, treaties, legislation, etc. that arise in the conversation.

Note any subject headings/terms assigned to a source too.

Notice how language shifts when bias shifts. Changing your search words can help you locate sources from contrasting perspectives.

As you read, do so actively and with intention, striving to learn not only your topic’s history and key terms, but also aspects about your topic that will superpower your ability to find related resources and develop and refine a thesis, such as noticing…

  • How information about the topic is organized
  • Special vocabulary used by those who discuss the topic
  • Differences of opinion, controversies, or unanswered questions
  • Individuals, groups, organizations, or agencies associated with the topic


Explora (EBSCO) – magazines and journals (trade/professional and scholarly), as well as e-books covering range of topics and perspectives
Gale eBooks – offers a diverse collection of books
Genderwatch (ProQuest) – scholarly journal articles, magazines, newspapers, newsletters, regional publications, books and NGO, government and special reports
Historical Newspapers (ProQuest) – New York Times, 1851-2007; Wall Street Journal, 1889-2000; and the Guardian, 1791-2003
JSTOR – archive of scholarly articles (not including most recent 5 years)
PowerSearch (Gale) – news, magazines, journals, primary sources, and e-books
Science Direct (Elsevier) – scholarly science journals incl. Gender Medicine, Journal of Men’s Health and Gender, and Women’s Studies International Forum
World History in Context (Gale) – history focus (unlike general PowerSearch database)

Relevant journals in Explora include the following:
Feminist Economics (Mar-1997 to present with 18-month delay)
Feminist Issues (Mar-1990 to present)
Feminist Studies (Mar-1990 to present with 35-month delay)
Gender and Education (Mar-1990 to present with 18-month delay)
Gender Issues (Mar-1990 to present with 12-month delay)
International Feminist Journal of Politics (Jun-1999 to present with 18-month delay)
Journal of Gender Studies (Nov-1993 to present with 18-month delay)
Women’s Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal (Jan-1986 to present with 18-month delay)

Relevant journals in JSTOR include the following:
Black Women, Gender + Families (published 2007-2012)
Feminist Studies (newer issues in AP Source)
Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies (newer issues in AP Source)
There’s also a grouping of 35 Feminist and Women’s Studies journals in JSTOR.

Relevant journals in PowerSearch include the following:
Journal of Gender, Race and Justice (Mar-2004 to present)
Journal of Women’s History (Jan-1997 to Sep-2005)
Women, Gender, and Families of Color (Mar-2013 to present with 12-month delay)
PowerSearch also includes several journals focused on law and gender.

Open Access Sources

A to F
American Women Research Guide (Library of Congress)
American Women through Time (MTSU) – directory of online primary sources
Black American Feminisms – multidisciplinary bibliography from UCSB
BRIDGE – global resource database from the Institute of Development Studies in the UK
Chronicling America – historic newspapers, 1789-1924
Digital Transgender Archive (international collaborative project) – includes glossary of global terms related to transgender identity
Discovering Women’s History Online – directory of online archives of primary sources
Encyclopedia Iranica – international collaborative project based at Columbia U
G to R
Gender Inn – U. of Cologne – database associated with Gender Forum
Gifts of Speech – women’s speeches from around the world
Global and Transnational Women’s Activism – guide to orgs from Rutgers U
Google Scholar – reports, older journal articles, and a wide array of sources
Herstory Archives – video, audio, and photographs related to lesbian history
Microsoft Academic Research – similar to Google Scholar
MW Library Catalog – esp. biographies and nonfiction books in the 300’s and 900’s
S to Z
Schlesinger Library – library at Harvard focused on women’s history in America
Statistics by country (resource list from Yale University Libraries)
UNICEF statistics on women and children
ViVa – current bibliography of journals in women’s and gender history
Women Artists Archives National Directory (WAAND) – directory of visual artists active in U.S. since 1945 (maintained by Rutgers U)
Women in Islam (libguide from Cornell librarian Ali Hoissa) – although some resources are only accessible to Cornell students, many others are open source
Women in World History – directory of online primary sources from GMU
Women’s History Sourcebook – from Fordham U
Women’s Knowledge Digital Library – online resources by topic (UW-Madison)
WomenStats Project – a global data collaborative
Women Working: 1800 to 1930 – online archive from Harvard
World Bank: Gender (see also World Bank Gender Data Portal)

Search Tips

Apply JSTOR features beyond basic search, such as the following:

  • Narrow search by discipline (e.g. Feminist & Women’s Studies, Political Science, African Studies, Middle East Studies)
  • Browse for journals by subject
  • Search within a specific journal title
  • Use the NEAR operator in your search

Save the correct link to articles in databases

Read Strategically

Scholarly journal articles demand strategic reading.  Unlike magazine or newspaper articles, scholarly articles often run ten to forty pages in length with dense, technical language.  Before you invest time in reading a journal article in its entirety, quickly assess its relevance to your research question AND your own ability to understand the findings presented.  To get a quick sense of what the article is about – and the level of technical expertise required to understand it, skim the abstract (if available), introduction, figures/table headings, and conclusions.
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