Special Topics in
Prof. Dennis Gale
Section I: Getting Started
Faced with a new topic it is best to begin with a reference source such as an encyclopedia, dictionary or handbook. Specialists write the entries in these reference books. The information is introductory in nature, but the accompanying bibliographies provide books and articles that cover the topic more comprehensively.Examples include:
Ember, Melvin and Ember, Carol R., ed. Encyclopedia of Urban Cultures: Cities and Cultures Around the World. Danbury, CT: Grolier, 2002. Dana Ref HT108.5 .E53 2001
Reps, John W., ed. Urban Planning, 1794-1918: an International Anthology of Articles, Conference Papers, and Reports. (accessed 2/23/08) [http://www.library.cornell.edu/Reps/DOCS/homepage.htm]
Shumsky, Neil Larry, ed. Encyclopedia of Urban America: the Cities and Suburbs. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 1998. Dana Ref HT123 .E5 1998
Shumsky, Neil L. and Crimmins, Timothy, eds. Urban America: a Historical Bibliography. Santa Barbara, CA: American Bibliographical Center-Clio Press, 1983. Dana Ref HT123.U725 1983
Smelser, Neil J. and Baltes, Paul B., eds. International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences. Amsterdam; New York: Elsevier, 2001. Dana Ref H41 .I58 2001
Smith, John W. and Klemanski, John S., eds. The Urban Politics Dictionary. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, c1990. Dana Ref JS48 .S65 1990
Stahl, Michael J., ed. Encyclopedia of Health Care Management. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, c2004. Dana Ref RA971 .E52 2004
Section II: Finding Books
The library catalog is a locating tool for books, journal title holdings, maps and media held by Rutgers University Libraries.
If a book is not listed in the library catalog or if it is listed and unavailable to you, consider using E-Z Borrow. This is a consortium of 40 Pennsylvania academic libraries. Most books requested via E-Z Borrow arrive at Dana within a week. You will receive an emailed notice when the book is ready for you to charge out at Dana's Circulation Desk. There is no fee for E-Z Borrow or any other interlibrary loan service.
When a book is not available in the library catalog or E-Z Borrow, request it via interlibrary loan. You can find the request form by going to Delivery and Interlibrary Loan on RUL's home page (http://www.libraries.rutgers.edu).
Section III: Finding Articles
Indexes and Databases
RUL subscribes to many electronic databases and indexes. You can access them from the library building, campus computing lab, or from a remote location by clicking on Find Articles in the sidebar of RUL's home page.
For older material, use the same indexes in print form. Dana Library has some, but not all, of the indexes in print form. The contents page of each electronic index includes the title of the print equivalent.
A citation index allows the searcher to look for related material since the publication of any given article. If you have an important or relevant article and you would like to see who has used this article toward further research, use the Social Science Citation Index that is a part of the database, Web of Science. Some databases incorporate a citation searching functionality. Look for "Find citing articles," for example, in Medline, Healthstar, and PsycInfo, all produced by Ovid.
RUL offers databases that provide worldwide coverage of newspapers. The articles are available in pdf or full-text.
Section IV: Methodology, Instruments and Statistics
All scholarly journal articles, book, reports, etc. are based on research. These articles have two valuable components for graduate students: a) the content, i.e., the subject of the research, and b) the methodology. The methodology will be stated and outlined clearly within the article or book. Methodology becomes increasingly important as one continues in research. Questions to be asked while reading an article are:
Use IRIS to find books on methods and instruments used in research. Sage Press specializes in publications related to social sciences research. Many of them are issued as part of two series, Quantitative Applications in the Social Sciences, and Qualitative Research Methods. If you wish to search IRIS using the series name, enter it into the "TITILE begins with" field. There are encyclopedias and other reference tools on research methods as well.
Blickman, Leonard and Rog, Debra J., eds. Handbook of Applied Social Research Methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, c1998. Dana Ref H62 .H24534 1998
Lewis-Beck, Michael S., Bryman, Alan E., and Liao, Tim Futing. Sage Encyclopedia of Social Science Research Methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, c2004. Dana Ref H62 .L456 2004
Articles, increasingly, are assigned subject headings that describe the methodologies used in research studies. This means one can search for articles by using terms for specific methods.
Section V: Finding Data and Statistical Information
Collecting data and conducting analyses requires extensive funding and staff. Usually government agencies are the only groups with the necessary resources available. Most of the departments in the administrative branch have bureaus for data collection and generation of statistics.
Section VI: Dissertations
Dissertations serve two purposes for graduate students. They provide: a) in-depth and comprehensive coverage on very specific topics with lengthy bibliographies and b) an excellent model or guide to the student embarking on the dissertation process. It is helpful to see how others have organized and presented their material.
Dissertations are treated as books by RUL. They can be checked out but for a limited time period. Any Rutgers dissertation is available at RUL for check out. All recent Rutgers dissertations are available in full-text online using the database, Dissertations and Theses.
Dissertations from other universities are usually available through interlibrary loan. Please be sure to include the degree granting university's name and the date the PhD was awarded in your request. When a print copy of a dissertation is not available for borrowing, patrons may purchase a copy through Dissertations and Theses.
Section VII: Research Centers and Non-profit Organizations
Research centers or "think tanks" have as their purpose the conduct of rigorous research on current issues to improve social policy decision making. All research results are critically reviewed and released as journal articles, reports, and books. In addition to print publications, the research centers make their studies available on the web.
While these institutes have a national or global interest, there are other research centers for regions of the US, the Sonoran Institute, for example which focuses on the West. Others may focus on a particular aspect of urban systems such as land or government type.
Professional associations may also offer research studies or statistical data on their web sites.
University centers and institutes can be sources for research. Urban universities may have a center similar to the Cornwall Center for Metropolitan Studies where the city, state or region serves as the study subject.
Section VIII: Other Web Resources
The Rutgers library guides on specific aspects of urban systems may provide more help with specific resources. You may review the list by following the pathway:
Dana librarians also have a separate listing of guides they have prepared for classes. This list have a category for urban planning with guides on the American city, housing and development, and urban education.