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Guide to Dance Research at Franklin & Marshall College


Experience Dance for Yourself

Although classes for all dance forms may not be available in the Lancaster area, try larger areas such as Philadelphia to perform your own ethnographic field study:

Access Dance Network (Philadelphia)





Primary vs. Secondary

For your final research project, you should find at least 8 resorces, 4 or which must be primary resources. If you are unsure of the difference between primary vs. secondary, here is a simple breakdown:

Primary Source --  A document or physical object which was written or created during the time under study. These sources were present during an experience or time period and offer an inside view of a particular event. Some types of primary sources for dance include videos, photographs, newspaper reviews, programs, posters, flyers, pamphlets, and first hand accounts from participants in the form of interviews (written or oral).

Secondary Source -- A document that interprets and analyzes primary sources. These sources are one or more steps removed from the event. Secondary sources may have pictures, quotes or graphics of primary sources in them. Some types of secondary sources include textbooks, journal articles, histories, criticisms, commentaries or encyclopedias.

Remember that for this project you MUST have at least 4 primary resources. That said, many bibliographies for excellent secondary sources can help lead you to useful primary sources.

LC Call #'s and Subject Headings

Many books can be found in online catalogs (both F&M online catalog and WorldCat) by using common subject headings. Some of these subject headings will be useful when searching databases, too, but these mostly apply to book searches. Try using some of the ones I suggest below in combination with the dance form you are studying and/or the country of its origin to hone in on specific topics:

[Specific name of dance] (many dance forms have their very own authorized headings)

Dance -- [insert country of origin for dance form...i.e. Africa, Australia, etc.]

Dance -- Biography

Dance -- Origin

Dance -- Religious aspects

Dance -- Reviews

Dance -- Social aspects

Dance -- Study and teaching

Dance and race

Dance costume

Dance etiquette

Feminism and dance

Gesture in dance

Human beings -- Attitude and movement (note: these resources may be found in the the GN231 section of the library)

Music and dance

Sex in dance (formerly "Sexuality in dance")


Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list! 

Remember to "think outside the box" for this class (and for any research project). There are often many different ways to say the same thing, so if one word doesn't work, try various synonyms.

Databases for Primary and Secondary Resources

Popular Databases

(Please check F&M's A to Z Database list for full listing of available databases)


A collection of full-text articles from over 2000 scholarly journals, many dating from the nineteenth-century to the last 4 or 5 years. Select Advanced Search to strategically search amongst 45 disciplines. Choose PDF from within JStor to properly view and print articles.

Anthropology Plus (and other EBSCO databases)

This resource is the combination of Anthropology Index and Anthropological Literature. Provides extensive worldwide indexing of journal articles, reports, commentaries, edited works, and obituaries in the fields of social, cultural, physical, biological, and linguistic anthropology, ethnology, archaeology, folklore, material culture, and interdisciplinary studies. Covers over 2500 journals, 19th century to the present.


Developed by the American Anthropological Association (AAA), AnthroSource brings anthropological material online to scholars and the public.


Find Newspaper Articles and Reviews

News Research (Lexis-Nexis)

News resources, including newspapers, magazines, newswires, broadcast transcripts, blog and web publications, reviews, obituaries, and editorials.

New York Times

National newspaper, provided by Academic Universe. Offers searchable ASCII text (no images) to abstracts and full-text.Jan. 1, 1969 - May 31, 1980, abstracts; June 1, 1980 through the current issue, full-text.

New York Times (ProQuest Historical Newspapers)

The New York Times offers full page and article images with searchable full text back to the first issue. The collection includes digital reproductions providing access to every page from every available issue. Sept. 18, 1851 - 4 Years Ago, full-text.


Full-text access to major U.S. and international newspapers, including the Philadelphia Inquirer, Chicago Tribune, and local Lancaster newspapers. Coverage varies, 5 to 20 years.


Find Videos

Try F&M's online catalogDance in Video or YouTube!


Find Images


The ARTstor Library's initial content includes approximately 500,000 images and its software tools support a wide range of pedagogical and research uses including: viewing and analyzing images through features such as zooming and panning, saving groups of images online for personal or shared uses, and creating and delivering presentations both online and offline. 

Librarian Profile

Jessica Gutacker
Shadek-Fackenthal Library 103

Need Extra Help?

If you are having difficulty finding information for your particular choreographer and composer collaboration, please send me an email or set up a research appointment for additional help!

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